The Sydney International Exhibition in 1879 was the first World's Fair at the southern hemisphere.
After being granted self-governance during the 1850s the Australian colonies, Victoria and New South Wales, saw a steady economic growth as result of the discovery and exploitation of gold reserves. After 20 years proposals were made for organizing an exhibition modelled on the great exhibitions of Europe, with an aim to promote commerce and industry, along with art, science and education. In 1879 Melbourne filed a plan to the Parliament. However Sydney wanted to be the first and managed to organize an exhibition in record time.
The Sydney International Exhibition opened in the autumn of 1879, but it wasn't really universal and therefore not officially recognized by the Bureau of International Expositions. Melbourne decided to start their exhibition shortly after the one in Sydney, so the participants could transport their exhibits during the winter of 1880. After the exhibitions many of the exhibits were selected to be at display in the powerhouse museum. The Garden Palace itself was used by the government until a fire destroyed the building in 1882