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Newspaper Cutting - 'Laying the Foundation Stone', The Illustrated Australian News, Melbourne, 1879 Document Reg. No: SH 960386

Wood cut engraving of the laying of the (Royal) Exhibition Building's foundation stone on 19 February 1879, published in The Illustrated Australian News, 1879. The full page illustration shows a large crowd gathered to watch as a pulley system lowers the foundation stone into place. By the stone, are the Governor (Sir George Bowen) and the President of the Exhibition Commissioners (Sir William Clarke). Bowen is wearing a top hat and coat with a sash. He is holding a small trowel which was presented to him to mark the occasion and to lay the stone.

The laying of the foundation stone of the Exhibition Building was one of the last acts Sir George Bowen performed as governor. He left the colony at the end of February 1879 after almost six years in the role to become the governor of Mauritius (1879-1882) and subsequently Hong Kong (1882-86) before retiring from the civil service. Perhaps because of this, exhibition commissioners had issued almost 2,000 invitations to various representatives guests, boosting the numbers in attendance alongside the general public. The huge crowds that gathered to watch the event are well illustrated by this depiction.

The International Exhibition ran from 1 October 1880 to 30 April 1881. The exhibition building that still stands was constructed for the occasion, designed by Joseph Reed and built by David Mitchell. Over 1.3 million people visited the exhibition at a time when Melbourne's population was only around 282,000.
Black & white engraving from The Illustrated Australian News, undated, p. 41, published by Ebenezer & David Syme, Melbourne.

Depicts the laying of the foundation stone of the Melbourne Exhibition Building on 19 February 1879 in preparation for the Melbourne International Exhibition in 1880. The full page illustration shows a large crowd gathered to watch as a pulley system lowers the foundation stone into place.
Discipline: History
Dimensions: 285 mm (Height), 400 mm (Width)

More information

Tagged with: exhibitions melbourne international 1880-1881, newspapers, illustrations, royal exhibition building, ceremonies, governors
Themes this item is part of: Public Life & Institutions Collection, Royal Exhibition Building Collection
Primary Classification: PUBLIC EVENTS
Secondary Classification: Melbourne International Exhibition 1880
Tertiary Classification: media coverage
Inscriptions: Top margin: THE ILLUSTRATED AUSTRALIAN NEWS. 41
Image signed, lower right corner: J.B. ACHION [?]
Publisher: Ebenezer & David Syme, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, Feb 1879
Place Depicted: Royal Exhibition Building (REB) Museum Collection, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 1879

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