Marius Sestier and Henry Walter Barnett filmed these scenes at the 1896 Melbourne Cup Carnival, producing one of Australia’s oldest surviving films. It made a significant impact when screened around the country throughout 1896 and 1897. Audiences cheered and clapped when the Cup winner Newhaven appeared on the screen but the many famous faces recognised in the crowd also entranced audiences, a forerunner of today’s social pages.
Over a century later these faces are anonymous but using contemporary newspaper and social page reports to identify the famous faces we discover who’s who at the 1896 Melbourne Cup Carnival.
The 1896 Melbourne Cup Carnival was hailed as the best possible Melbourne Cup to have been filmed first. Colour and vibrancy had returned in the fashion stakes after the past several years of economic depression and punters gained generous wins at the expense of the turf agents when Newhaven won both the Derby and the Cup.
George Titheradge and Elizabeth Brough
Immediately recognisable on the Lawn near the bandstand are high profile theatrical stars Brough Company leading man George Titheradge in top hat, with company director and leading lady Elizabeth Brough. Will they be watching themselves on the screen at the Cinématographe Lumière soon?