People, Place and the Past 8948

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The Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens


The paper describes the Royal exhibition building and Carlton Gardens authenticity of the ancient designs that the world heritage history that has ever had. It also explains the significance of the various themes depicted by the Royal exhibition building and Carlton Gardens that range from Historical Context, World Heritage Obligations, Building Conservation, Interpretative signage, Educational activities, Discovery program, Multimedia projections and Commercial Operations.

The Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens in Australia


The exhibition buildings were constructed in 1879 for the Exhibition of Melbourne International. It composed of the two annexes, main exhibition hall, and a set of temporary halls. The permanent building included the Great Hall that incorporated the typology of architectural international exhibitions, namely the great portal entries, a dome, viewing platforms, fanlight windows, towers, cruciform floor plan, with the garden layout that was axially with the building (Rydell, 2012).

Due to great overseas exhibiting interest, two more annexes were put up to the west and east side of the site. They were originally not part of the tender. With the placement of the Great Hall, they designed a court that was U-shaped to the north. The eastern and western annexes were allocated to major exhibiting countries that is France, Britain Germany, United States and Victoria as the host, the annexes were constructed adjacently to the hall. Corrugated iron filled central, temporary halls of timber and northern side of the site, were all dismantled at the exhibitions end and reused for various purposes. One hall is still present as a section of tram museum in central Victoria (Whitehead, 2012).

The west annex was in use as of 1888 to 1889 as an exhibition of Centennial International machinery hall. It was later redesigned to accommodate Victoria Parliament for the period between 1901 and 1927 and during the same period, the Federal Parliament held meetings in the Building of the same venue (Serle, 2014). The west annex was modified many times in the twentieth century until 1960 where it was demolished. The east annex was at the time being utilized as machinery hall as at 1888-1889

In the years 1960s and 1970s, two more structures were annexed north of the Great Hall external elevation. These were with time removed and a repair on the original structure was done. The exterior remainder has survived substantially from its initial construction in 1880, except for insignificant alterations to glazing and services attachments to the dome and works undertaken to restore the rooftop in 1992- 1994, where it was stripped, decayed gutters were replaced, re-laid and replacement of some corrugated roofing was done to match the original.

Missing ornamentation was reinstated around the railing balcony line. The decomposing dome ring beam, in time has been substituted with concrete and rotten timber of the deck for dome viewing has been replaced by steel stairs that are galvanized. The fanlight that was damaged has also been replaced. The rest of the fanlights above at each entrance portal remain intact as originally set up (Robyn, 2014).

Copies of the primary 1880 gasoliers were installed in 1994 as well as1888 electric lights and discreet recessed lights to the ceilings of the balcony. An upgrade service on an insertion a service tunnel that was 3 metre wide was done in 1984 and was accessible from the basement. Power and other needed services could be accessible in the hall through hatches of timber floor.

The Strip of baltic pine flooring was substituted with cypresspine occupying the hall nearly 95%. They also restored northern façade and were painted as well the original doors were put back as portion of works in 2001. An early boardroom chairs and table were utilized by the Exhibition Trustees, which might have been a portion of the 1880 works; survival of the building has been greatly linked with Conservation works that have been pledge to the building of Royal Exhibition to facilitate its continuity as exhibition hall with huge impact to the society (Greenhalgh, 2013).0

Description of the Carlton Gardens site

The Carlton Gardens is made of a layout that takes the form of an axial garden in the part that is south of the site and the northern garden, which reflects that of garden to the south and was landscaped following the exhibitions closure. The entire block, tied by Victoria, Carlton, Rathdowne and Nicholson Streets at city centers edge of Melbourne remains unscathed, as was originally designed
by the Victorian Parliament in 1878.

The perimeter fence with stone plinth was constructed in 1880 has remained to feature the original design of most of the site and a small segment complete with refined iron palisade outlasts in the corner of North West. Wrought iron fences matchmaking the border fences with shrub of 1880 are still present in the northern garden (Dunstan, 2012). The garden enclosing the Royal Exhibition Building has its dates being developed. The broad site planning and its boundaries connect to a land allocation in 1852. Throughout the 1880 — 1888 international exhibitions the portion to the south of the garden gave the site, elements of pleasure garden that attracted exhibits for events. The Gardens of South Carlton, as it is commonly known, continues to be utilized for exhibition and purposes parkland.

Authentic elements of the South Garden comprises of path layout, tree clumps, central avenues, lawn areas and two reduced size lakes originally put up as reservoirs and ornamental features in the emergency situations in cases where building is on fire. The 1880 parterres are not present in site in current age, although they have retained the system between paths (Linge, 2010)

The symmetrical design had unity in its form, with use of central focus and axial views in particular the eastern forecourts, grand-avenue, southern forecourts and Hochgurtel and the French, are essential elements of the original design of the 1880 scheme. The northern part of Melbourne’s exhibition site during 1880 was unearthed by impermanent exhibition annexes during international exhibition in 1880. It was modeled by Hodgkinson to appear as a building complimentary landscape, upon the removal of temporary pavilions (Barrow, 2014).

A portion of the North Garden, basically the main path to the east-west and some trees, are residue of the 1880 and La Trobe Bateman layout of the early 1855. Its integrity is moderately high and has been reestablished to match with Hodgkinson’s 1882 plan. The central part of the Garden Carlton site and Royal Exhibition Building site has the Great Hall, the 1880 main exhibition building. Portion of the land was utilized for a while, as an oval recreation, for a grandstand and more later than for exhibition of buildings and most recently as a parking ground for cars around 1880 building. To this date the site of Melbourne’s new State sits the modern museum (Whitehead, 2009). All trees that appear to be significant, possibly from after 1888 rectification, have outlived here, otherwise the central place has kept changing to suit its diverse uses. Trees with much significance have been reserved in the new Museum construction, which was finished in 2000

Global Cultural Significance

Historical Context

Most great cities have that one building that epitomizes its history and spirit. Undoubtedly the Royal Exhibition Building in Melbourne happens to have one. The building and the gardens associated to it is an uncommon intact reminder of the international exhibitions movement in the 19th century, which displayed the merchandise of the industrial spin, nurture a global exchange of ideas and products and fostered the marvels of the technological era.

World Heritage Obligations

In Australia, the main objectives of the World Heritage properties management are set out by the Department of the Heritage and Environment. Their aims include conserving, protecting and presenting the World with Heritage values of the property, to incorporate the protection of the site into a planning program that is comprehensive, to give the asset a purpose in the life for the community of Australia, to fortify appreciation and respect of the values of World Heritage prominent properties. This can be achieved particularly through information programs and education and to inform the community about the property World heritage, and to take suitable scientific, legal, administrative, technical and financial action for accomplishing the foregoing objectives (Butlin, 2012).

Building Conservation

The Royal Exhibition Building is significant to the durability of the building as an important public venue. Through use of the fundamental laws, the Charter of Australia ICOMOS Burra, conservation of the property includes general maintenance, the processes of reconstruction preservation, restoration and adaptation (Banister, 2010). A strong commitment for this type of works coming from the stakeholders ensures that the ongoing concern for the historic fabric of the buildings remains a significant element of the works strategy for the overall building.

Interpretative signage

Interpretative signs to transmit the importance of the building and the World Heritage status of Royal exhibition are suggested for various key sections inside the building. These symbols are intended majorly for commercial functions of visitors visiting the site. Final site of the symbols are yet to be determined, although they are probably located inside the eastern, southern and northern entrances and first floors of the dome. These fresh signs will be incorporated with the proposed recent signage system.

Educational activities and resources

Options for resources and activities for education audiences are put into consideration with the view of having them launched progressively (Whitehead, 2012). More so, it has supplemented detailed history of the royal structure of the Victorian icon. This has led to development of potential detailed books, drawing work for a huge number of research students and essays by a wide range of scholars.

Discovery program

The Discovery Program in the Museum produces a Royal Exhibition Building with an object based Kit that is hired by the education sector and community groups. The kit
concentrates on building’s architectural and social history, raise concerns of how to
establish historical significance and embraces activities that enables the users to translate historical buildings interest in their towns.

Multimedia projections

The museum has plans for the future to establish multimedia projections as an interpretative experience area within the building. Installations would involve virtual reconstructions of post exhibitions, particularly international exhibitions of the 19th century, using stereographic panoramas, original photos and computer graphics as the foundation for feasible digital reconstructions (Linge, 2010).

Commercial Operations

The historical context in this paper depicts, the REB was constructed for the reasons of show casing large high profile events and scale exhibitions. This plan continues up to date with Museum Victoria managing the building that is hired for commercial gaining’s with approximately 50 events, which are mainly exhibitions that are staged annually and attracts over 440,000 visitors.


The Royal Exhibition Building based in Melbourne is ranked in World Heritage Listing and its heritage secures a successful status of the first built site in Australia. It’s a building that seeks a landmark in Melbourne which is one of the thriving ‘palaces of industry’ of the great 19th epoch International Exhibition Movement. Royal Exhibition Building was constructed to display the cultural, technological and industrial achievements of 25 nations for Melbourne’s maiden International Exhibition in the 1880’s.


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