Royal Exhibition Building

Royal Exhibition Building
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During the 19th century, Melbourne’s Royal Exhibition Building was an architectural masterpiece which showcased Australia’s arrival on the world stage as an economic powerhouse.

It was 1888, the golden age of exhibitions, and Victoria, initially fuelled by the gold rush, boasted the largest exhibition building in the world with its annexes combining to cover 14 hectares.

The National and World Heritage-listed Royal Exhibition Building was used for the opening of the first Australian Federal Parliament in 1901, and subsequently served as a hospital, an army training centre and a wrestling venue during the 1956 Olympics.

It is the only exhibition building from that period remaining in the world.

Did you know:

  • The Centenary Exhibition of 1888, held at the Royal Exhibition Building in Melbourne, was so successful that it attracted two million visitors, almost twice the Victorian colony’s population.

Australia's Heritage: National Treasures with Chris Taylor is also available for purchase from the NFSA Online Shop.

Notes by Beth Taylor