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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 27

A Proposal for Holding An Australasian Exhibition in London

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A Proposal for Holding

An Australasian Exhibition in London.

Sydney: Gibbs. Shallard, & Co, Printers and Binders. 70 Pitt Street.

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In bringing forward a project involving a large expenditure of public money, I am aware that I must be able to show that great public advantages must result from its adoption. This, I believe, I shall be able to do, if you will be so kind as to read the following explanation of its nature and aims, and think it out carefully. And, first, I would explain that as my present engagements will prevent my taking any but a purely honorary part in carrying it out, should it be adopted, I have no personal object in advancing it. I would ask you, therefore, to forget my personal insignificance, and consider this project purely on its merits, giving only such weight to the expression of my personal opinions as may be due to the fact that for five years I made the principles of Exhibitions my constant study, and was engaged in the practical work of carrying them out.

Objects of the Scheme.

The main objects of this scheme are to attract population and capital to develop the resources of these Australasian colonies by making the European, and more especially the British, public acquainted with the opportunities which exist here both for settlement and for investment. Other objects are to extend the markets for our frozen food and wine, by overcoming the prejudice now entertained by European consumers; to show the mother-country a faithful representation of the work accomplished in Australasia by her sons, and the opportunities which still exist here for Englishmen to improve their condition without losing their nationality; and to draw closer the ties which should bind these sister colonies together by presenting the first model of a Federal Australasian Government, and arousing a national Australasian patriotism, which shall have its foundation in our attachment to the mother country.

The Need for It.

Of the three fundamental sources of wealth Australasia possesses the first—land in abundance. But in the other two—capital and labour to develop the resources of the land—she is yet very deficient. There is no one amongst us who will not admit that the progress of Australasia may be measured by the influx of capital and population to her shores. There are few who will question the advantage to be gained by promoting a larger influx of these essential factors of our development.

The mother country is at once that from which it is most desirable that we should receive capital and population, and that from which we have the best opportunities to get them. For generations yet our population must come chiefly from the United Kingdom, and our capital from London.* And yet the Board of Trade statistics show that during the decade 1870-79, out of every hundred emigrants from Great Britain and Ireland, ninety went to swell the population of the United States, whilst of the 10 per cent, who settled in British territory after leaving the mother country, only four found homes under the Southern Cross. Difference in distance—which means cost of passage—has undoubtedly much to do with the distribution of British emigration, but surely this cause is insufficient to account for so enormous a disproportion! In the distribution of British capital invested abroad it exists equally. Despite repudiation and the continuous failure of bogus companies, British capital pours into America in fertilizing streams, whilst to Australasia it comes in driblets, accompanied occasionally by a very unpleasant intimation that under certain circumstances the supply will be cut off.

Are the natural resources and social condition of the United States so much superior to those of Australasia, as to warrant this preference on the part of our countrymen for a foreign soil, a foreign life, and foreign securities? We who know these colonies well can conscientiously give a negative reply to this question. The reason of the different treatment we receive lies chiefly, as I have already said, page 4 in distance; that we cannot alter. But it also lies very largely in our youth and obscurity. Our resources and our civilization do us little practical service in the way of attracting population and capital, simply because they are unknown to nine-tenths of the British people, and are not properly realized by the majority of the remainder. There can be little doubt that had the advantages which these colonies offer been partially known at home, hundreds of thousands, who turned their steps towards the Great Republic, would have set their faces in this direction, and thousands who are now lamenting the loss of their money there would have invested it here with profit both to themselves and to us.

What is to be done? How is this ignorance, which is so detrimental to our progress, to be removed?

I reply that we must advertise. Australasia is in the position of a tradesman who opens an opposition shop, but finds that, although he can sell as good or even better articles, people continue to patronise the old establishment simply because they know more about it. As far as population and money are concerned, America is the "old establishment," and consequently she secures without effort by far the larger share of public favour. Is it not of the utmost importance to us to break down the existing prejudice, to compel our fellow-countrymen at home to understand that on the whole they will find their interests better served by casting in their lot with us than by establishing themselves in a foreign land?

I readily acknowledge that we have made several fairly successful attempts at advertising. We have been represented at numerous Exhibitions; we have held International Exhibitions ourselves; we have scattered statistics in thousands, and pamphlets only less numerous than the sands upon the sea shore. But what has been done is nothing to that which remains to be accomplished. Statistics, pamphlets, and lectures are admirable in their way, but it is necessary first to engage the attention of those we wish to impress. We have distributed pamphlets, and they have been more or less read—mostly less. But no one who reads our English papers, or talks with any Englishman who is generally considered to be well-informed, will contend that these pamphlets have been understood. Again, the Exhibitions at which we have been represented have been held in countries whence neither population or capital could be expected to come here, and our courts there have been insignificant atoms in the International molecule, passed over unnoticed by many, and, when visited, giving but a very imperfect idea of our resources. The Exhibitions held here certainly produced a great sensation upon those who visited them, but, unfortunately, we could not bring any large number of European visitors out to see them, and the reports in the European press, though useful as far as they went, were meagre. For all this there can be no question but that these Exhibitions proved profitable to the colonies in which they were held. The stimulus given to commerce since 1879 is undeniable. The proof of the pudding is in the eating. More immigration and investment nave unquestionably resulted from these efforts. But it has been no more than a drop in the bucket. The need for population especially was never greater than at the present moment. Our natural resources and our manufacturing industries alike are crying aloud for labour. Our attempts at advertising then have so far been altogether inadequate to our requirements. Is this not because we have begun at the wrong end?

I believe that the comparative inefficiency of the advertising we have hitherto done is due to our having under-estimated the depths of the prevailing indifference to Australasia, to our having over-estimated the capacity of the British public for receiving information about us. The business man advertises down to the level of those he wishes to reach. The pamphlet and the lecture are excellent in their proper time, but first we have to engage the attention of our customers. How can we arrest that attention?

The Nature and Efficiency of the Exhibition.

When an Australasian Exhibition is spoken of you naturally think of the Australasian Courts at the Sydney and Melbourne Exhibitions, and it does not take much thought to arrive at the conclusion that a fac-simile of those courts would be altogether too insignificant to attract attention in London. But my proposal is for an Exhibition of such an entirely different character from any hitherto held that, in considering it, it becomes necessary to dismiss from the mind all previously conceived ideas of Exhibitions. And herein lies its greatest difficulty. The page 5 objective is always so much more powerful than the subjective that, almost without being aware of it, people are apt to think of what they have seen instead of trying to realise the kind of Exhibition I have in view. Nothing is further from my mind than the idea of holding an Exhibition of the ordinary humdrum kind. I agree with my critics, that such an Exhibition would fail to attract. An Exhibition, such as I propose, would not be a mere dead museum or bazaar, but as nearly as possible a living representation of Australasian life, scenery, manners, industry, and resources. The exhibits would not be presented as subjects for admiration in the abstract, but a personal interest would be excited in them by giving such particulars concerning their production as would appeal to the eye and the imagination.

To begin with, the collection of exhibits from each colony would have to be on the same scale as the Victorian Court at the Melbourne Exhibition—the only really representative collection of the resources and industries of an Australian colony which has yet been shown at any exhibition. Then the exhibits of each industry should be shown together in separate departments, instead of all jumbled up together. An undifferentiated mass of anything is meaningless and uninteresting, but directly you classify the component parts of the mass the meaning becomes clear, and interest is at once aroused. Having thus succeeded in attracting the attention of the visitor, he should be provided with further information. To each class of exhibits there should be one or more attendants to give explanations to visitors, photographs (coloured, if possible) illustrating the life and processes in connection with that industry, and a placard placed in some prominent-position, showing the number of hands employed in it, and the rate of wages paid to them. Thus wool would be accompanied by pictures of station life and appliances, placards showing statistics of growth, rates of wages paid to hands, ration scales, &c. Grain and Hour would have photographs attached, showing farms and farming operations, mills and method of transport, and bills giving the fullest information with respect to agriculture, and the life and pay of those either directly or indirectly connected with it, the conditions on which laud could be purchased, &c. Would not such a method of treatment make the exhibit of flour something more to the English farmer and agricultural labourer than a mere mass of extra-refined meal? Would it not thus become to him a living thing, speaking in distinct and unmistakable tones of a far-off land, where the conditions of life are easy, where home is reproduced, where English habits and customs prevail, and where many industries are prosecuted with success? Again, a saddler visits the building. He sees several cases of saddlery, and thus learns that saddles are manufactured in Australia. He looks up from the saddles; and finds a big placard staring him in the face, conveying the information that so many hundred people in that particular colony are engaged in saddlery at wages of from say 10 to 15 shillings. Would not this turn his thoughts powerfully to the advisability of emigrating?

The exhibits have been classified; photographs, models, and other appliances illustrating each industry, and placards giving the striking facts in connection with them are posted conspicuously in their neighbourhood. But this is but the first chapter of the lesson I wish to teach the visitor. So far the object has been to attract his attention; now that it has been engaged, we must follow it up. His mind is now in a condition to receive and digest information, which he would have shied at before; we can now safely bring to bear upon him the lecture and the pamphlet. Short graphic lectures should be delivered in the building daily, with panoramas and models to illustrate the subject; the magic lantern might also with advantage be brought into use. Pamphlets should be distributed gratuitously, giving particulars of the life of each class of settler. These lectures and pamphlets should not, as they have hitherto done, deal with colonial life in a general way. What is everybody's business is nobody's business. They should treat as far as possible of every particular class, of labour. It would not, of course, be necessary to have a separate pamphlet on each trade. There should, for instance, be one pamphlet on the life of the artisan, giving particulars of the rent he would have to pay, the kind of cottage lie would live in (illustrated by a woodcut), the wages he would get, the price of food, clothes, and articles of household use. Then at the end would come the particulars as to each trade, supplied by some competent authority. The life of the farmer, and of the agricultural labourer would be similarly treated in another pamphlet. A third would deal with the life of the miner, and a fourth treat of "Australasia as a field for Investment." Everyone would thus be able to choose the information he was in need of, instead of page 6 having to wade through a dry mass of miscellaneous knowledge. Lectures and pamphlets, like exhibits, must be classified if they are to be serviceable.

Not the least valuable and interesting part of the Exhibition would be really good Government collections, illustrating the fauna, the flora, and the geology of each colony. To say nothing of the possibility of useful discoveries being made by giving European savants an opportunity of seeing these collections, Science is popular at present, and to make the Exhibition attractive we must bring all kinds of influences to bear. Upon that grandest of all aids to success, fashion, which in London at present means what the Prince and Princess of Wales do, we can safely count. H. R. H. would, one can almost say certainly, not only take the presidency of the Exhibition, but also take an active interest in the proceedings. It would soon be considered "the correct thing" to "do" the Australasian Exhibition, and, in England, where the aristocracy go the middle and lower classes follow. For the first two sections a special attraction should be provided, on the principle that there should be a hook for every fish. First, they should see a refrigerating room, with meat, &c., displayed in every state through which it passes from the time it leaves our shores until it goes into the hands of the cook. Having thus prepared their minds they should be passed on to the refreshment rooms, where for half-a-crown they should* be given an "Australasian lunch"—soup, fish, roast, entrees, game, puddings, butter, cheese, fruit, wine, should all be Australasian. Even the bread should be baked of Australasian flour. No one who could afford it would forego the pleasure of being able to say that he had lunched entirely on meats and drinks produced at the other end of the world, or being able to descant critically on the relative merits of Australian kangaroo, New Zealand frost fish, beef, wildfowl, &c. The visitors who had partaken of such a curious meal would tell everybody about the wonderful things they had eaten. They would talk, and we should be advertised. With the savour of our viands in his nostrils, and the generous juice of the Australian grape stimulating his circulation and warming his heart, the visitor would be obliged to confess that these southern lands are not wanting in the elements of civilisation, and we might reach his imagination through his epigastric regions. Nor would this be the only advantage of the luncheon. When people had drunk our wines out of curiosity, and had eaten our meats and found they were good, they would ask for them at the shops, and thus the prejudice, which our frozen food and wine trades are striving to overcome, would disappear.

At least one day in the week the Exhibition should be open free of charge, so that there should not be a working man in London who could not take his family to it. It has been objected that because free museums and picture galleries are not well patronised by the working-classes, that they would not come to see this Exhibition. But the cases do not run on all fours. An Australasian Exhibition would be a temporary novelty of a popular character, well within the understanding of the masses, and purposely made specially attractive for them. The very word museum indicates to most people (myself, I fear, amongst the number) a dry-as-dust sort of place to be carefully avoided, and picture galleries are generally also beyond the taste of the working class. This Exhibition would unquestionably be the most popular, novel, and interesting free show ever offered to the British working man. But, since we specially want to reach the agricultural labourer, this would not be sufficient. Canvassers should, therefore, he sent into the agricultural districts to tell people about the Exhibition, and to distribute to agricultural labourers excursion tickets to come up to London and back free of charge. Objection has been taken to this idea on the ground that these country visitors could not afford to pay for lodging in London. There is, however, no reason why they should have to stay a night. They need only spend one day in the Exhibition, and the travelling backwards and forwards could be done at night. To prevent fraud they should be unable to make use of the return half of their ticket, unless it had been clipped at the gate of the Exhibition. By arrangement with the railway companies over a million French working men were brought from the provinces to the Paris Exhibition free of charge for a very small sum, and £20,000 would do wonders in this direction. I venture to say, moreover, that the mere announcement that labouring men could go to London and return to their homes at the expense of the young British communities at the Antipodes would produce a great and lasting impression on the minds of the masses in the mother country.

Not the least attraction of the Exhibition to the British public will be in the novelty in the idea. The British public like pluck, and above all, pluck in their page 7 descendants; and the idea of reversing the usual order of things, and taking the war into the enemy's camp, so to speak, appeals to the popular imagination. Another source of attraction lies in the very name of the Exhibition. The ordinary mind will always prefer a homogeneous to a heterogeneous conception, a pure breed to a hybrid, and the word "Australasian" has a definite, certain ring. More than this, it tells of a land of which people have begun to hear a little of late, just enough to arouse their attention to the fact that they know nothing about it, and that they would like to know something about it if they could get that knowledge without much trouble. There is a certain mystery and uncertainty, a delicious sense of the adventurous attaching to Australia in the mind of the British public, which an exhibition would act upon. "Queer sort of place Australia; wonder what the deuce they can exhibit; suppose we go and see," would be the sort of feeling a number of people would have. It has been a complaint against International Exhibitions of late that they are little better than bazaars—Regent Street with a halo of Royal commissions thrown around it. The British public, with a yearly improving Regent Street before them, are not enthusiastic about another London International, though it is twenty years since the last was held. But here would be an Exhibition from which the bazaar would altogether be excluded. Not that I would rely solely on solid attractions. There is room for bringing a strong popular element into the Exhibition by representations of bush scenes (such as that which I planned in the South Australian Court at the Melbourne Exhibition), Maori pahs, and other of those touches of Nature which make the whole world kin. A cardboard model of an inch to the foot of some of the busiest parts of Melbourne or Sydney, would be exceedingly effective, and do a great deal to make people realise the existence here of highly organised communities, supplied with all the appliances of civilization. Wax, life size, Australian types, would also attract the wonder of the multitude. I would neglect no feature in connection with Australasia which could attract any class of the community.

It may be argued as regards our manufactures, that people living in England can see better things every day in England. Apart from the interest attaching to the modifications which the circumstances of Australian life have brought about in our manufactures, is there not a special source of attraction in the fact that these things were made in an out of the way half civilized country, such as the ordinary Englishman imagines this to be? It is not to him a grape from a thorn? Would it not surprise—which is the mother of interest—him to see the degree of excellence attained by many of our manufacturers? I answer from practical experience at the Paris Exhibition that it would. If I was asked once I was asked a thousand times whether such and such an article was produced in Adelaide; and though the English people who visited the Paris Exhibition belonged mostly to the educated classes, their astonishment was a perfect picture to behold.

But this Exhibition would appeal not only to the love of the fashionable and the love of the new. When all is said and done, man cannot live merely upon beer and skittles. The strongest source of attraction lies in the fact that it would have a strong practical interest to every class of the English people, from the highest to the lowest. The educated classes do not know what to do with their boys at the present moment; the farmers are finding American and Australian competition too strong to make farming pay, and are on the look-out for fresh fields and pastures new; the working man was never harder up, and agricultural labourers in particular are being driven out of England by the pressure of population. Capitalists have been taken in so often over foreign securities that they are searching for safer fields for investment. Does anyone mean to tell me that all these people will not be glad of an opportunity to learn, in an amusing manner, something about the capabilities of Australasia? If you show a starving man a photograph—which cannot lie, though it may flatter—of a cupboard full of victuals, within an easy walk, will he not take the trouble to look at the photograph? Having seen the photograph; will he not "make for" the victuals?

The ordinary International Exhibitions have doubtless got stale and flat, but that any novelty in the way of an Exhibition, however small, will attract a large number of visitors, the recent successes of the Electric and Fisheries Exhibitions clearly proves. Surely it is plain to the most ordinary understanding that an Australasian Exhibition is capable of presenting more new and interesting features than a Fisheries Exhibition.

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Apart from the sources of attraction to the Exhibition, and the effect produced upon the minds of those who visit it, I would call attention to the enormous amount of information about these colonies which will be spread throughout the United Kingdom by the Press in connection with it. Anyone who glances over recent English tiles will see that every paper, from the "Times" down to the smallest provincial rag, is full not only of descriptions of the Fisheries Exhibition, but of all kinds of information about fish and fisheries which under ordinary circumstances would never have become known to the general public. And so it will be in this case. Not only descriptions of the Exhibition, but of Australasia and Australasian life will be published in every paper in Great Britain and Ireland, and in the leading continental papers. Why this advertisement alone is worth the whole cost of the Exhibition if not a soul came to look at it.

And now that I have laid my proposals before you, let me answer some of the objections which have been raised. One journal, with a singular confusion of thought, has asserted that this proposal is underlain by the same principle as that of the private-venture Exhibitions which I originated. The least reflection will, I think, show that my proposal is for an Exhibition which shall be national in the highest sense of the word as opposed to private. Individual exhibitors at this Exhibition can only seek their own profit out of the public advantages resulting from the Exhibition, and cannot make any direct profit out of it as is the case in International Exhibitions. It must be a national effort for a national purpose. Would not an Exhibition on the lines I have marked out tell the world "something new beyond what we have already told?" The last time we exhibited in England—which is obviously the only place from which we can expect to get any large amount of capital or population—was in 1862; and the whole of the exhibits from the Australian colonies in that Exhibition could have been shown in one decent sized room. Never has anything like a representative collection of our products and manufactures been shown in England or Europe. At the London Exhibition of 1862 our courts were a mere drop in the International bucket. I do not suppose one visitor out of a score even knew that Australia was exhibiting. Can we not then "reasonably expect to get a larger batch of spectators than we have had hitherto?" It has been urged that there would be no local enthusiasm. If the Prince of Wales took the matter up—and his action in trying to get up the Colonial Museum gives good warrant that he would—I do not think we need fear for want of enthusiasm in England.

Nor after all is the Exhibition solely in our own interest. Is it not important to the mother country that her surplus population should be directed to British rather than to American soil, that her capital should be invested within the limits of the Empire, and that the ties between the mother country and this her Australasian daughter should be drawn closer together? It seems to me that these are strong reasons for anticipating the hearty support of our fellow-countrymen in England, and for awakening their enthusiasm.

Practicability and Cost.

I will now ask those of you who agree with me as to the efficiency of such an Exhibition, to enter into the mode of carrying it out, and the cost.

The first step obviously must be for the Governments of the colonies concerned to agree to appoint conjointly a Federal or General Commission to perform the same duties with regard to this Exhibition as are generally performed by the Commission of the nation which holds an International Exhibition. These duties may roughly be defined as follows:—To enter into communication with the participating colonies, to provide a building in which to hold the Exhibition, and to issue and carry out regulations for its management. Seeing that the work of this general Commission would be almost entirely in London, it might reasonably be composed of the Agents-General, a few prominent Anglo-Australasians and Englishmen — such as the Duke of Manchester —interested in the colonies. H.K.H. the Prince of Wales should be asked to be President, and to prevent intercolonial jealousies, and ensure influence, experience, and popularity in the executive management, I would suggest that Sir Philip Cunliffe Owen, the Director of the South Kensington Museum, and late British Executive Commissioner at Paris, be asked to take the position of Commissioner-General. The expenditure of the General Commission should be defrayed by the participating colonies pro rata to population, and, of course, each colony would have its own Commissioner, just as is done for any International Exhibition in a foreign country. As something has been said about the difficulty of federal action in the matter, I page 9 would point out that there would not, as is the ease at most Intercolonial Conferences, be any place for one colony to get an advantage over another in the working of the General Commission. Each colony would be left to further its own interests by means of its own Commission. The General Commission would be limited to those functions which could not be done by the Provincial Commissions, and by which all the .participating colonies 'would benefit exactly in proportion to the efforts they made through their Provincial Commissions.

Where is the Exhibition to be held? Here two courses present themselves. The cheaper is to rent 600,000 square feet, which I calculate to be the utmost space we could fill, in the Crystal or Alexandra Palace. The better would be to obtain permission from the Imperial Government to erect a temporary structure in the Horticultural Gardens at South Kensington, where the Fisheries Exhibition is now being held. The cost of the former plan I guess to amount to about, £18,000, that of the latter I estimate at £60,000, the contract being for use and waste only. It will be seen that this latter estimate is reasonable when I recall to your mind that the cost of the temporary portion of the Melbourne Exhibition buildings, covering an area slightly larger than 600,000 square feet, was £56,000. Take oft £16,000 for cheaper labour and materials, and add £20,000 for ornamental purposes, and you arrive at £60,000 as the cost of a building of the same size sufficiently ornamental not to disgrace the colonies.

But how do I arrive at my 600,000 square feet? Thus:—The Victorian Court at the Melbourne Exhibition occupied 178,000 square feet, New South Wales, 30,000; New Zealand, 12,000; South Australia and Queensland, 10,000 apiece. On the basis that the productions of each colony were represented as fully as those of Victoria were on that occasion, I calculate that the courts of each colony at the London Exhibition might reach the following dimensions:—Victoria, i50,000; New Zealand, 100,000; New South Wales and South Australia, 80,000 apiece; Queensland, 60,000; Tasmania, 30,000; Western Australia and Fiji, 10,000 apiece; New Guinea, New Hebrides, and other islands, 10,000 between them; refreshment and lecture rooms, 70,000—making in all, 600,000 square feet. The expenditure of each colony to fill the above areas I roughly estimate as follows:—Victoria, £30,000; New South Wales, South Australia, Queensland, and New Zealand, £20,000 apiece; Tasmania, £15,000; Western Australia and Fiji, £8,000 apiece. It must be understood, however, that these are only rough estimates, as the amount which each colony would spend on its own representation would be a matter entirely for its own consideration.

The expenses of the General Commission can, however, be calculated more easily. The following table shows alongside of my estimate the amounts expended for the same purpose, as shown on the balance-sheets of the London International of 1862, and the Melbourne International of 1880. In comparing these items, it has to be remembered that an International Exhibition deals with a larger number of widely separated countries, and an immensely larger number of small exhibits, and, further, that the Melbourne Exhibition was half as large again as the Australasian one would be, and the London one three times as large. The alternative items for building for the Australasian Exhibition represent the cost of hiring part of an existing building, or of building a temporary structure. At London the contractor was to be paid £200,000 or £300,000, according to the amount taken at the gates, £200,000 being the minimum.
Australasian. Melbourne. London.
Building £60,000,
Permanent £200,000
Ceremonies, entertainments, decorations 5,000 £8,200 9,200
Maintenance 3,000 1,800 9,200
Medals and certificates 4,000 6,100 6,400
Machinery in motion 1,000 4,800 Nil
Advertising, printing, stationery, postage and traveling 4,000 9,500 Mixed with other items.
Salaries and Wages 12,000 34,600 45,000
Lectures and pamphlets 5,000
Trains for Agricultural labourers 20,00
Total either 72,000
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To recoup this outlay there would be the admissions at the gates, which might amount to anything between £50,000 and £150,000, according to the success of the Exhibition. Nor do I think that £100,000 can be considered an unreasonable mean estimate when you note that the Fisheries' Exhibition took £20,000 in admissions the first week after it was opened, and that the Electric Exhibition is reported to have taken £130,000. Should anyone think that the free opening of the buildings on Saturdays would affect the receipts at the gates on paying days. 1 would point out that in England classes do not mix as they do here, and that at nearly all public institutions there are two sets of days—2s. 6d. and Is. days—attracting two different classes of visitors.

There is no Exhibition announced in any part of the world for the year 1885, and I would therefore suggest that the Exhibition be opened on Easter Monday in April of that year, and remain open for a period of six months. At least a year's notice would be required to make the necessary preparations. If 1885 should be thought inconvenient there seem to me to be strong reasons for fixing on the year 1888 as being the centenary of the settlement of Australasia. I understand that there is a proposal on foot for holding an Intercolonial Exhibition in Sydney that year to commemorate the event. We who live in Australia know pretty well what the achievements of the first century of our existence have been. Would it not be preferable to show them to our fellow-countrymen in England? At the end of the half-year the child returns from school and proudly shows its mother the prizes of his industry. Is there an inhabitant of these colonies "with soul so dead" that he will not be proud to display for the approval and admiration of the mother-country the proofs of the achievements of her sons in Australasia during the short space of a hundred years? Surely it is in London rather than in Sydney that our centennial should be held.

The Proposed Permanent Exhibition.

The New Zealand Government, to whom 1 submitted my proposal, have announced their intention of asking the Australasian Governments to co-operate with them in establishing a permanent Australasian Exhibition. But this seems to me to be putting the cart before the horse. A permanent Exhibition would probably be the outcome of a temporary one, just as the South Kensington Museum was the outcome of the London International, and if a free lease of a central site could be got it might be well to build the nucleus of the temporary Exhibition of stone. But before doing this it would be necessary for the Australasian Parliaments to make up their minds to an annually recurring expenditure for maintenance, and a much larger original outlay than a temporary Exhibition would involve. Then, the essence of success in these matters is to "make a splash," and this could far more easily be done for a temporary Exhibition than for a permanent one, which people could easily go to see at any time. Again, a permanent Exhibition could be little more than a collection of raw products, much smaller, less attractive, less representative, than a combined display of our industries and resources. A permanent Exhibition would, I believe, be useful, but a temporary one seems to me to be likely to be more effective in itself, and the best foundation stone for a permanent one.


In conclusion, let me ask you to bear in mind that the effects of the Exhibition would not be confined to those who visited it; that the information about Australasia spread abroad by the Press and through the reports of visitors would reach to the uttermost cornel's of the United Kingdom; that there would hardly be a soul from John O'Groat's to Land's End who would not gain some crumbs of new knowledge about these communities. It is the march of the troops through the children's playground which makes the recruits of ten years afterwards. Who can doubt but that the bread thus cast upon the waters would bear fruit after many days, and in immigrants who, at the time of the Exhibition perchance, learnt no more about it than the mere fact that it was being held?

Thanking those who have taken the trouble to read this proposal,

I have the honour to be, gentlemen,

Your obedient servant,

R. E. N. Twopeny.

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Gibbs, Shallard, and Co.,

Printers, Publishers, Stationers, Lithographers, Pitt Street, Sydney.

* This and many other passages have been quoted verbatim from the Melbourne Argus, by the kind permission of the Editor.