Sunday, 18 February 2018

Auckland Industrial and Mining Exhibition 1898 pt II

Last post we looked at Auckland Exhibition of 1898 and Ed Bartley's role on some of the organising committees. Here we consider the closing stages of that event and ask: what was the result?

In mid January an interactive display was held over two nights in the Choral Hall.
Here the public had the opportunity of seeing experiments in electro/magnetism and other aspects of physics provided by the University College. For many this was their first exposure to the potenial uses of electricity.
Edward Bartley and other members of the Auckland Microscopic Club were on hand with the largest collection of microscopes ever seen in the region. There were 100 laid out with specimens which the public were invited to view.1 Edward was a founder member of the organisation, which was formed in 1885, and included fellow Auckland Institute members J A Pond and Josiah Martin.
This educational focus on innovation in science, technology and research was key to the Exhibition.

A Portrait Image c 1900 BFA
The push to establish a full time technical school in Auckland was also advanced by the exhibition. Edward was one of the founders of the Auckland Technical Association which had been campaigning for technical training in Auckland. By 1895 evening classes were available but there was still no  daytime programme for school leavers. Wellington already had such a school run by the Education Board on the South Kensington School curriculum.

Only two months after the exhibition the Education Board was making enquiries about a site in Wellesley St to be a combined teacher and technical training facility. Despite the support of the University College for pre-tertiary technical training, it was the Auckland association that provided a day school. The Auckland Technical School opened in 1903.

The exhibition also measurably advanced educational opportunities for the blind. Dr Purchas' braille printing machine was both invented in Auckland and first exhibited at this Auckland event. It allowed for a semi-mechanised production of braille type by impress on a copper drum- a huge improvement on the hand punching method then in use.2

Buoyed by their local success some Auckland exhibitors were already looking to London and to the proposed Paris Exposition Universelle, the international celebration of the new century of commercial opportunity. This was a world fair due to open on 14 April 1900. The Greater Britain section had provision for New Zealand exhibits.

The Auckland exhibition was visited by Hon L L Smith of Victoria - a member of the executive committee for Greater Britain representation. In an open letter to the press he expressed the view, with regard to Paris: 'you have here the nucleus...of a first class New Zealand exhibition.'3

Northern businessmen were keen to make their own arrangements. For example the Thames Machinery Company made offers to their counterparts in Victoria and Queensland to mount a joint display of cyanide extraction techniques.4

In late January the Governor's office advised the premises would be required on the 1 March.

NZH 18 Jan 1899

There was earlier such an outcry at a suggested closing date of 18 February that the exhibition remained open until the last available day -28th February. Not only did the event run at a profit, it was held to have fulfilled the intentions of the Auckland Chamber of Commerce in that it performed 'all that was expected of it as a public educator and an advertising medium for the products of the colony.'5 

The buildings were purchased by the industrialist JJ Craig of Auckland.

The Exhibitor award medals for the exhibition. Image AWMM

For those interested in the history of exhibitions and world fairs we recommend a visit here
You may enjoy a rare film archive of Exposition Universelle Paris 1900 here

1. NZH 18 Jan 1899- 20 Jan 1899
2. Ibid 14 Jan 1899. For Dr Purchas' biography see here
3. Ibid 30 Jan 1899
4. Ibid 16 Mar 1899
5. Ibid  28 Feb 1899