This glass slide presents an image of the Old Beechworth Post Office and was taken in the year 1900.
The building displayed within the image is not that of the post office in its original form; the post office originally consisted of only a simple wooden building. With the establishment and growth of new towns across Victoria, as well as an increased need for more consistent communications with the City of Melbourne, this modest building was soon deemed inadequate. In 1858 it was brought into the style of the changing times, with the tall clock tower added in 1865. This transition aligned with a pattern of refurbishment and conversion of many Beechworth buildings (which could be seen during the 1860s-70s), aiding in the growth and prosperity of the town. Early makeshift homes were turned into more substantial dwellings, featuring elements such as weatherboard, brick, and granites materials, and gabled or hipped roofs with iron lacework fringing the verandah. These refurbishments were temporarily halted in March of 1867 when a fire swept through the town, damaging many buildings including the post office. This led to further reconstructions on the building, including heightening of the clock tower, and in 1870 the two-storey Italianate style building was completed.
The Old Beechworth Post Office itself also holds significance due to its connection with one of Australia's most infamous families. It reportedly played an important role in communicating the news of the 1880 murders of police at Stringybark Creek by the Kelly Gang.
Lantern slides, sometimes called 'magic lantern' slides, are glass plates on which an image has been secured for the purpose of projection. Glass slides were etched or hand-painted for this purpose from the Eighteenth Century but the process became more popular and accessible to the public with the development of photographic-emulsion slides used with a 'Magic Lantern' device in the mid-Nineteenth Century. Photographic lantern slides comprise a double-negative emulsion layer (forming a positive image) between thin glass plates that are bound together. A number of processes existed to form and bind the emulsion layer to the base plate, including the albumen, wet plate collodion, gelatine dry plate and woodburytype techniques. Lantern slides and magic lantern technologies are seen as foundational precursors to the development of modern photography and film-making techniques.
This glass slide captures social and historical significance as it displays the Old Beechworth Post Office in 1900, a building that demonstrates the prosperity and growth of Beechworth as a town during this time period. This slide also holds a level of aesthetic significance due to the Italianate style building that is featured in its image; a style that became very popular during the nineteenth-century.
Thin translucent sheet of glass with a square image printed on the front and framed in a black backing. It is held together by metal strips to secure the edges of the slide.
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