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The Queensland International Exhibition of 1897: ‘Dazzling display’ or ‘a frost’?

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  26 February 2016

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On 5 May 1897, just over a century ago, the Queensland International Exhibition opened in Brisbane. This, the seventh international exhibition to be held in Australia, was Queensland's contribution to the great series of world expos that followed London's famous Crystal Palace Exhibition of 1851. The exhibition also marked Queensland's recovery from a disastrous depression of the early 1890s, proclaiming to the world that Queensland was now on a steady path of progress. Contemporaries viewed the exhibition with mixed feelings: to some it was a ‘dazzling display’; to others ‘a frost’ (a nineteenth-century term for ‘a fizzer’). ‘Frost’ or not, the event was soon forgotten after it closed three months later, and hardly rated a mention at the time of its recent successor, World Expo '88.

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