The Exhibition

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The Sydney International Exhibition was the colony's first, and was responsible for bringing the world to Sydney at a time when the colony was prosperous and full of potential. Thirty four countries and their colonies participated in the Exhibition, displaying the very best examples of technology, industry and art, layed out in densely packed courts.

The Exhibition boosted the economy and encouraged authorities to improve the city’s services and facilities.  A steam-powered tramway was installed to transport exhibition-goers around the city. After the Exhibition, the tramway network was expanded and by 1905–06 the trams were converted to electric traction.

Official records cite that between 19,853 and 24,000  visitors attended the Exhibition on the opening day of 17 September 1879, and over 1.1 million people visited during its seven months of operation. Despite exceeding the predicted cost by almost four times, the Exhibition was deemed a resounding success. 

Initially the cost of admission was set at 5 shillings and later dropped to 1 shilling. Season tickets for the Exhibition were also available for £3 3s which entitled the holder to unlimited entry during all hours of general admission. Throughout the Exhibition, season ticket holders accounted for 76,278 admissions. 

 

Season ticket issued to Eveline Mary Whiting for the International Exhibition, 1879

Emily Whiting season pass
Season ticket issued to Eveline Mary Whiting for the International Exhibition
1879
Digital ID: 
As 51
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Season ticket issued to Eveline Mary Whiting for the International Exhibition
Season ticket issued to Eveline Mary Whiting for the International Exhibition, 1879
1879
Digital ID: 
As 51
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Wallet for season ticket issued to Eveline Mary Whiting for the International Exhibition
Wallet for season ticket issued to Eveline Mary Whiting for the International Exhibition, 1879
1879
Digital ID: 
As 51
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International Exhibitions presented the opportunity for countries to express their national identities and demonstrate their economic and techological achievements. They allowed countries to showcase the very best examples  of contemporary art, handicrafts and the latest technologies particularly in manufacturing. Thirty four countries and their colonies participated in the Sydney International Exhibition. They presented approximately 14,000 exhibits which included displays of glass, tapestries, fine porcelain, ethnographic specimens and heavy machinery.

After the exhibition closed, the imposing Garden Palace building was used as office space and storage for various government departments.

 

Plan showing the space and position, occupied by the various exhibits, ground floor plan
1880
James Barnet
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c020940084
Plan showing the space and position, occupied by the various exhibits, gallery floor plan
1880
James Barnet
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c020940085
Plan showing the space and position, occupied by the various exhibits, basement floor plan
1880
James Barnet
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c020940085
Exhibits, International Exhibition, Sydney, 1879-80
Exhibits, International Exhibition, Sydney, 1879-80
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d1_35135
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International Exhibition, Sydney, 1879-80: hall of exhibits
International Exhibition, Sydney, 1879-80: hall of exhibits
Digital ID: 
d1_35162
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Tasmanian court, Garden Palace
Tasmanian court, Garden Palace
Digital ID: 
d1_05960
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New Zealand court, Garden Palace
New Zealand court, Garden Palace
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d1_05961
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Italian exhibit, International Exhibition, Sydney, 1879-80
Italian exhibit, International Exhibition, Sydney, 1879-80
Digital ID: 
d1_35147
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Hall of exhibits, International Exhibition, 1879-80
Hall of exhibits, International Exhibition, 1879-80
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d1-31937
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Double decker steam tram, two carriages
Motor and double-deck cars, Market Street, 1879
1879-1880
New South Wales. Government Printing Office
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Digital ID: 
a089340
International Exhibition of 1879. Sydney, New South Wales / lithographed at the Surveyor General's Office
1879
Digital ID: 
c020930002
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