30/11/2022

1881, Adelaide AU – Colonial Exhibition

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1881 Adelaide

Name:Colonial Exhibition
Dates:1 Jul – 30 Sep 1881
Days:91 days
Venue:Centrally located building of the Agricultural Society of South Australia
Theme:Promoting Adelaide – arts, manufactures and industries.
Exhibitors:
Awards:
Visitors:
Legacy:

Jules Joubert had been the Secretary of Agricultural Society of New South Wales from 1867. He had been responsible for proposing that there be a united Australian presence at the 1876 Philadelphia exhibition and 1878 Paris exposition. He visited both on behalf of the 1879 Sydney exhibiton. But he was not appointed to the Sydney show Commissioners and subsequently fired from the Agricultural Society.

He went to Adelaide and with R E N Twopenny as a private speculation, without government financial backing, organised this event, South Australia’s first international exhibition. They failed to get the support of the Agricultural Society and tbe Chamber of Manufactures in Adelaide, but pressed on privately.

They approached the Agricultural Society to grant their use of the Society’s Building for three months, and despite some acrimonious moments the Society agreed by 13 votes to 11 to grant the request at a rental of £20 per week, provided that it was not termed an ‘International exhibition’.

The organisers pointed out that heretofore European and American manufacturers considered that Melbourne and Sydney were the only two centres of Australian commerce, the event would change perceptions. The numbers that applied for space exceeded the expectations of the promoters, and taxed the space available. However, when it opened it was quite small.

It was opened by the Governor of South Australia. Its theme was international and its scope waas arts, manufactures and industries. The venue was in central Adelaide and adjacent to the Botanical Gardens. Entry was via one entrance fitted with turnstiles.

The building itself (38.4 x 29.3m [126 x 96 ft]) was used for South Australia exhibits. Four annexes offered further space. The main annexe (109.7 x 19.8m [360 x 65 ft]) was to the north of the building – this housed

The building itself (38.4 x 29.3m [126 x 96 ft]) was used for South Australia exhibits. Four annexes offered further space. The main annexe (109.7 x 19.8m [360 x 65 ft]) was to the north of the building – this housed ‘courts’ for New South Wales, Tasmania and Victoria for New Zealand; for Austria, Belgium, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland and Turkey; China, India and Japan; America.

Two further annexes to the south and west provided space for machinery (35.4 x 21.3m [116 x 70 ft] and (15.2 x 6.1m [50 x 20 ft]). To the east a further annex was used for carriages and provided a refreshment area. There was a fine arts court (21.3 x 13.7m [70 x 45 ft]).

1881 Adelaide medal

Joubert and Twopenny moved on to run an 1881 Western Australia exhibition at Perth and later an 1882 New Zealand event at Christchurch.

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