Site of Two World Fairs

Entry ticket
Entry ticket for the Melbourne International Exhibition, 1880.
Source: Museum Victoria

In the late 1800s, the citizens of Melbourne wanted to put their city on the world map. Since the Crystal Palace Exhibition in London in 1851, world fairs had promoted new industrial products and showed the latest scientific and industrial achievements. Melbournians planned an international exhibition that would showcase their products and publicise the economic opportunities presented by Victoria’s prosperity.

The Exhibition Building was opened in 1880 for the Melbourne International Exhibition. It attracted more than 1.3 million visitors over eight months. The subsequent Melbourne Centennial International Exhibition of 1888 was even larger; temporary annexes were constructed from the building to the northern boundary of Carlton Gardens.