Royal Exhibition Building

Royal Exhibition Building

Infobox World Heritage Site
WHS = Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens

State Party = AUS
Type = Cultural
Criteria = ii
ID = 1131
Region = Asia-Pacific
Year = 2004
Session = 28th
Link =

The Royal Exhibition Building is located in Melbourne, Australia. It is located in the Carlton Gardens, at the north-eastern edge of the central business district. It was the first building in Australia to be awarded UNESCO World Heritage status. It sits adjacent to the Melbourne Museum; and is the largest item in Museum Victoria's collection.


It was designed by the architect Joseph Reed (who also designed the Melbourne Town Hall and the State Library of Victoria). It was completed in 1880, ready for the Melbourne International Exhibition. The building consisted of a Great Hall of over 12,000 square metres and many temporary annexes. The landmark dome is believed to be inspired by the Florence Cathedral.

The Melbourne Centennial Exhibition was held at the Exhibition Building in 1888 to celebrate a century of European settlement in Australia.

The most significant event to occur in the Exhibition Building was the opening of the first Parliament of Australia on 9 May 1901, following the inauguration of the Commonwealth of Australia on 1 January. After the official opening, the federal government moved to the Victorian State Parliament House, while the Victorian government moved to the Exhibition Building for the next 26 years.

The period after this time saw the building used for many purposes.It was a main venue for the 1956 Summer Olympics, hosting the basketball, weightlifting and wresting competitions. [ [ The Royal Exhibition Building in Melbourne] ] As it decayed, it became known derogatively by locals as the "The White Elephant" in the 1940s [" [ The Royal Exhibition Building] " URL accessed on 6 November 2007.] and by the 1950s, ironically, like many buildings in Melbourne of that time it was earmarked for replacement by office blocks. [" [ Who will save Melbourne from the wrecker's ball?] " 15 March 2004. URL accessed on 5 September 2006.] The wing of the building which once housed Melbourne's aquarium burnt down in 1953. The grand ballroom was demolished in 1979, leaving the main structure in place along with annexes constructed in the 1960s and 1970s. []

Following the demolition of the grand ballroom there was a public outcry which prevented the main building also from being demolished.

In 1984 when Queen Elizabeth II visited Victoria she granted the prefix title 'Royal' to the Exhibition Building. This sparked a restoration of the interiors of the building in late 1985, [" [ Global status for our greatest building] " 21 October 2002. URL accessed on 5 September 2006.] and the construction of a mirror glass annexe (which was later demolished).

In 1996 the then Premier of Victoria, Jeff Kennett, proposed the location and construction of Melbourne's State Museum on the adjacent site. Temporary annexes built in the 1960s were removed and in 1997 and 1998, the exterior of the building was progressively restored.

The location of the State Museum close to the Exhibition Building site was strongly opposed by the Victorian State Labor Party, the Melbourne City Council and the local community. It was as a result of the community campaign opposing the museum development that John Brumby, then State opposition leader, with the support of the Melbourne City Council, proposed the nomination of the Royal Exhibition Buildings for world heritage listing. The world heritage nomination did not progress until the election of the Victorian State Labor Party as the new government in 1999.

In 2004, the Royal Exhibition Building along with the surrounding Carlton Gardens was granted listing as a World Heritage Site, the first building in Australia to be granted this status. The heritage listing says that "The Royal Exhibition Building is the only major extant nineteenth century exhibition building in Australia. It is one of the few major nineteenth century exhibition buildings to survive worldwide."

Current Use

This building is still in use as an exhibition centre on a regular basis, for events such as the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show. It is mostly used for private tours attached to the nearby Melbourne Museum.

However, it is no longer Melbourne's largest or busiest exhibition centre. The modern equivalent of the Exhibition Building is the Melbourne Exhibition and Convention Centre, located in Southbank to the south of the central city area. The Royal Exhibition Building is also used as an exam hall for the University of Melbourne, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Melbourne High School and Mac.Robertson Girls' High School

ee also

* Garden Palace - Sydney's exhibition building.
* Melbourne Museum
* Carlton Gardens


External links

* [ World heritage listing for the Royal Exhibition Building]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Royal Exhibition Building — Royal Exhibition Building* UNESCO Welterbe …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Royal Exhibition Building — Palais royal des expositions Palais royal des expositions et jardins Carlton 1 Patrimoine mondial Royal Exhibition Building Latitude Longitude …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Royal Exhibition Building — noun → Exhibition Building …   Australian English dictionary

  • Exhibition Building — /ɛksəˈbɪʃən ˌbɪldɪŋ/ (say eksuh bishuhn .bilding) noun a building erected in Melbourne in 1880 to house international exhibitions staged in Melbourne in 1880 and 1888; continues to house a variety of exhibitions; with the surrounding Carlton… …   Australian English dictionary

  • Exhibition Street, Melbourne — Exhibition Street is a major street in the central business district of Melbourne, Australia. The street is named after the World Heritage listed Royal Exhibition Building, which is located in the Carlton Gardens. Geography Exhibition Street runs …   Wikipedia

  • Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne — Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne A section of the Fern Gully in the Royal Botanic Gardens Type Public Park …   Wikipedia

  • Royal Air Force Museum Cosford — Established 1 May 1979 Location DCAE Cosford, Shropshire Type …   Wikipedia

  • building construction — Techniques and industry involved in the assembly and erection of structures. Early humans built primarily for shelter, using simple methods. Building materials came from the land, and fabrication was dictated by the limits of the materials and… …   Universalium

  • Royal Holloway, University of London — Infobox University name = Royal Holloway, University of London established = 1849 (Bedford College) 1879 (Royal Holloway College) 1985 (merger) motto = Esse quam videri mottoeng = To be, rather than to seem type = Public students = 8,335cite… …   Wikipedia

  • Royal Adelaide Show — The Royal Adelaide Show is an annual agricultural show/fair held in Adelaide, South Australia that begins on the first Friday in September, or the last friday in August, and runs for 9 days. It is held at the Royal Adelaide Showgrounds, located… …   Wikipedia