Historical information

This slide shows a train proceeding along the Beechworth rail trail in approximately 1900. The rail line to Beechworth was the subject of significant lobbying by local officials such as John Orr and G.B. Kerferd in the 1860s, as it was recognised that the poor quality of roads to Melbourne and Albury hindered trade and formed a barrier to the social development of the town. The subsequent positioning of Beechworth on a branch rather than a main line was not considered ideal to achieve these aims, but the Everton-to-Beechworth and Beechworth-to-Yackandandah components of the line cost an average of £7,277 per mile and State Government officials felt the need in the area did not justify the cost of a direct line. The Beechworth Railway Station was officially opened on the 29th of September 1876 and ran services twice daily to Melbourne, transporting nearly 12,000 passengers and around 6,500 tons of cargo in 1900. It closed in 1976 and is today used as a cycling trail used by locals and promoted as a feature of the area to tourists.

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 is significant because it provides insight into Beechworth's social amenities and transport infrastructure in the late Nineteenth Century. It is also an example of an early photographic and film-making technology in use in regional Victoria in the time period.

Physical description

Thin translucent sheet of glass with a circular 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.