17/01/2022

1894-5, Hobart AU – Tasmanian International Exhibition

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1894 Hobart

Name:Tasmanian International Exhibition
Dates:15 Nov 1894 – 15 May 1895
Days:157 days
Venue:
– 5.3 ha (13 acres) in covered areas
Theme:
Exhibitors:
Awards:40 prizes were awarded, total value was £51,148.
Visitors:290,000 – a season ticket was one guinea (£1 1s)
– the population of Tasmania was just 154,000 and Hobarts was 36,000
Legacy:

The exhibition began as a desire by a set of friends to run a musical festival. It is for this reason that the exhibition was supported by almost constant concerts, choral performances and bands. A concert hall (96 x 70 ft)within the main buidling could hold 3,000 people, with a choir of 400 and an orchestra of 60. The main building was completed in November1893, and a first concert was held.

The events at Dunedin (1889) and Launceston (1891) encouraged the idea of an exhibition. The first inspection of the site, the ‘Queen’s Domain’, in late April 1892 – attending were the Premier of Tasmania, Sir Philip Oakley Fysh KCMG, Mr T C Just, Secretray of the Chicago Exhibition Commission, and Jules Joubert, the peripatetic exhibition organiser. Subsequentlt a public meeting held on 6 May 1892 received enthusiastic support for the idea.

The Tasmanian International Exhibition Company was formed with 20,000 x £1 shares. The budget was set to break-even at a total cost of £33,000 – £12,000 of this was forecast as the cost of the building. Income was projected to be £8,00 in exhibitor space sales, £7,000 from admissions and season tickets, £3,000 in granting services like catering, £5,000 in government subsidy, leaving £10,000 to be raised by subscription capital.

1894 Hobart Venue

Hobart’s Exhibition Building was the subject of a competition, with thirteen entries received. The winning design in Italian Renaissance style was, from Thomas Searell, local architects. It used one million feet of hardwood to build stretching across 13 acres. Plaster and concrete was used to make it look more substantial. It was impossible to miss the giant building on Hobart’s skyline between 1893 and 1896. As it was not built on foundations, it is unsurprising that today there is no sign of it remaining, its site was replaced by the Cenotaph.

1894 Hobart Medal

There were also Art Galleries that divided the artworks into into oils, water colours and sketching. The French brought and displayed some £65,000 worth artworks and London museums displayed another £25,000 of artworks

Exhibits included Japanese box work, French mechanical toys, Turkish carpets Indian spices,

Visitors arrived by steamer and tram.

Attactions included a novelty railway claimed as the ‘world’s smallest railway’; a crystal maze; a haunted swing; a miniature jam factory (for children); performing fleas; Punch & Judy; palmistry; a display of ‘giants’ including Clara aged 20, weighing in at 35st 3lbs, 5′ 10″ tall with a waist measurement of 6′ 6″, with 26″ broad calves and 22″ arms.

Rats proved to be a problem at the site – one report suggesting that their numbers ‘passed through the stages of oompanies and battalions until the numbers attained the proportions of an army, sleek and well fed‘.

The exhibition building was projected to be too expensive in maintenance terms to keep it, so it was pulled down and its parts sold off; much of it went to the 1897 Brisbane Exhibition and to Launceston, Tasmania.

Forward to 1894, Manchester UK – British and Colonial Exhibition
Back to 1894, Antwerp BE – Exposition International d’Anvers
Back to Getting Noticed – Back to VOLUME II Index – Back to bobdenton.com home

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