17 Sep 1879 - Sydney International Exhibition

#OnThisDay 17 September 1879 the Sydney International Exhibition opened. The Garden Palace, which was situated just south of the present Conservatorium of Music, was built for the Sydney International Exhibition.

It was designed by James Barnet and constructed in just eight months. The design was cruciform with nave and transepts with a central dome. Under the central dome stood a bronze statue of Queen Victoria. Built of iron, glass and wood with brick foundations, it was said to have cost £192,000 at the time of the opening...

... After the exhibition closed on 20 April 1880 it was used as an auditorium and gallery and to house the first mining and technological museum. It also provided office space for a number of government departments, and the basement was used to house official records (such as the 1881 Census). These were lost when fire broke out at about 5:40am on 22 September 1882 totally consuming the building in about 40 minutes.

Extract from The Garden Palace Fire, 1882 »

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