Victoria, Australia                                                             
Victoria Day : 14 October 1988
Agreement to Participate : 22 October 1987
Commissioner : Mr Neil Smith
Pavilion : 720 square metres

Return to Table of Contents
Victoria at World Expo '88
One of John Underwood's comic plaster-of-paris 'Human Factor' works climbs the ladder in front of the State of Victoria's representation at World Expo '88 : Image Courtesy and © Papermoon

Visitors queueing for the first time to the Victoria Pavilion were greeted by a piece of Expo history, with a stunning glass-enclosed ceramic peacock adorning the Pavilion entrance.

The peacock, now located in it's home state of Victoria, and once located in the Melbourne Museum, was on it's way from England in 1878 to take part in the British representation at the Inaugural Melbourne International Exhibition of 1880, Australia's Second International Exhibition.

However, fate had other plans.....

The ship on which the peacock was placed ran into bad weather off the Victoria Australian coast, and never made it for the Melbourne Exhibition, after a complex salvage and legal enquiry.

Hidden at the bottom of the tumultuous waters of the Great Australian Bight, the wreck was difficult to find and salvage, with the latest discoveries occurring in the 1980s using the latest in scuba-diving technology. And, after passing through the hands of several owners, from the salvage company itself, to private ownership, and then ownership by Warrnambool City Council, as a generous effort by the Victorian State Government, represented Victoria at the Entrance to the Victorian State Pavilion at Brisbane's World Expo '88 - over a century after it's planned exhibition for the Melbourne 1880 International Exhibition - a beautiful and inspiring epistle across time of the great Australian World Expositions.

As the Museum of Victoria relates:
"Another ship bringing exhibits from England, the Loch
Ard, also sunk on the way to Melbourne, off the western
coast of Victoria on 1 June 1878. The loss of forty-seven
lives made it one of Victoria’s worst shipwrecks. Much of
the cargo consisted of ceramics that Minton intended to
be part of their exhibit in the British pavilion. In particular,
a rare 153 cm high majolica peacock that was intended
to be the main exhibit, was lost. The peacock and other
Minton exhibits such as encaustic tiles have since been
recovered by archaeologists and are on display at the
Warrnambool Maritime Museum (Sotheby’s 1988;
Heritage Victoria Loch Ard Shipwreck file)."
The Loch Ard Minton Peacock

The peacock is now located at Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village, Warrnambool, a beautiful and historic port city, in Victoria, Australia, just 3.5 hours from the City of Melbourne.

Read the Exposť Interview focus special on the Loch Ard Peacock here (Photographs, Interview Summary, and Interview MP3 Recording).

The Pavilion itself featured seven mini-rooms - each highlighting a different facet of the Expo theme 'Leisure in the Age of Technology' - and ushered in groups of visitors 35 persons at a time.

After being greeted by a home robot of the 'Jetson's' style - who takes a break from the daily ironing - one was led into a model of the human throat and lungs - emphasizing the importance of physical fitness in enjoying leisure. Images of Victoria's major natural tourist attractions featured next - including wide-angle panorama views of the State's major cities and towns. A mass of television monitors and computer displays made up the next mini-room, with a jigsaw puzzle-like three-dimensional world map embedded in the perspex floor rising to reveal first and foremost the State of Victoria, then the rest of Australia, and then the rest of the World.

The final presentations featured hi-tech displays of future communications networks - stocks & shares - and so on - music and technology - and lasers and holographs.

Also memorable was the Pavilion Wine Bar - where the State's finest produce was available to enjoy and take with you.

Image of the Ceramic Peacock, Loch Ard [CeramicPeacockLochArd.jpg], as found in Ahoy - Mac's Web Log 'Clipper Ship Loch Ard, a victim of the Shipwreck Coast in 1878', (date of access 17 November 2005)
Report of the Commissioner-General of Expo 88 on the Australian Government's Involvement in Expo '88 (1988), Published by Office of the Commissioner-General of World Expo '88
World Expo '88 - The Official Souvenir Program (1988), Editor Andrew Cowell, Published by Australian Consolidated Press
Expo! an independent Review (1988), Written by Scott Jones, David Bray, Juanita Phillips, Published by Boolarong Publications

Questions? Answers? Would you like to contribute your story and/or photograph to this page? Click here to send an e-mail to

Return to the Pavilions Page!