Victorian Icon: The Royal Exhibition Building
The Exhibition Trustees in association with Australian Scholarly Publishing, $59.95 hb, 520 pp
As the one hundred and sixteen years of their control of the Exhibition Building ends, its Trustees have prepared this splendid account of their stewardship. From diverse perspectives David Dunstan, who teaches public history at Monash University, and fifteen associates, demonstrate how deeply the building has entered into the everyday lives of Victorians. Dunstan begins by noting that:
Two hundred years of European culture have not seen many places in this continent invested with anything like the meaning given by Aboriginal people to their sacred sites. But this building, could be one of them … if we gather together a mixed-age group and ask people about their recollections, then the images and memories surface in animated conversation: examinations; shows – the Motor Show; the Home Show; RAAF trainees during the Second World War; the Motor Registration Branch; The Royale Ballroom … the Aquarium.