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Category: Pre BIE

Country: Australia

Opening: October 1, 1880

Closing: April 30, 1880

Participating countries: 33

Visits: 1,330,000

Site Area: 25 ha (61.8 acres)


The first World Expo in Australia was not particularly strong in the quality of arts exhibited, but played an important role in connecting Australia with Europe.

The 12,000m2 Royal Exhibition Building, designed by architect Joseph Reed, was later expanded to host the Melbourne Centennial Exhibition in 1888, and briefly served as the home of the Australian Parliament.

Exhibition Hall, the main building of the exposition, was the second tallest building in the world at its time. Architect Joseph Reed designed it to occupy the main space of the World Expo in Carlton Gardens.

The building was blamed as one of the leading causes of the exhibition's deficit. However, after close to a century and a half, Exhibition Hall continues to provide services to the public, and after having housed different institutions, it is currently a museum. In 2004, Exhibition Hall became the first Australian building to be added to UNESCO's World Heritage list.

Source: POWELL, JOHN. Melbourne 1880-1881: Melbourne International Exhibition. En: FINDLING, JOHN E.; PELLE, KIMBERLY D. Historical dictionary of world's fairs and expositions, 1851-1988. (pp. 74-75). Greenwood Press. Westport. 1990.  


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