Melbourne's Centennial International Exhibition by Night

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Melbourne's Centennial International Exhibition by Night


arch, architecture, Brunelleschi, building, Carlton Gardens, centennial, Centennial International Exhibition, dome, electric light, exhibition, exhibition building, Florence Cathedral, engraving, engravings, Great Hall, illumination, industry, international exhibition, Italian influence, Joseph Reed (c.1823-1890), Melbourne, Melbourne by night, night, night-viewing, Royal Exhibition Building, rounded arches, Rundbogenstil style, semi-circular arches, showcase, Victoria, World Fair, F.A. Sleap


An image of the Royal Exhibition Building lit up at night during the Centennial International Exhibition in 1888, from the Illustrated Australian News. The Royal Exhibition Building was designed by architect Joseph Reed and completed in 1880. The round-arched architectural style of the design combines elements from Byzantine, Romanesque, Lombardic and Italian Renaissance buildings (‘Rundbogenstil’). The dome specifically was modelled on Brunelleschi’s fifteenth-century design for the dome of the Florence Cathedral. Conservation and restoration of the building was completed in 1994, and the Royal Exhibition Building received National and World Heritage listing in 2004.

The Royal Exhibition Building hosted two major world fairs in the late nineteenth century: the Melbourne International Exhibition in 1880 (for which purpose it was constructed), and then the Melbourne Centennial International Exhibition in 1888. Electric light was installed in the Building in 1888, which enabled visitors to attend the Exhibition at night for the first time. The Great Hall was also used for the opening of the first Commonwealth Parliament of Australia in 1901. For more about the Royal Exhibition Building, including a virtual tour inside the building, see the Museum Victoria Royal Exhibition Building website:


Sleap, F.A.


State Library of Victoria


Illustrated Australian News


13 October 1888


State Library of Victoria


Newspaper Illustration

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