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Empire Exhibition


An exhibition held in London in 1924 and 1925 and in Johannesburg in 1936.

The 1936 Empire Exhibition held at Milner Park in Johannesburg from the 15th September 1936 until 15th January 1937. It was the first time the Empire Exhibition was held outside of Britain. Milner Park was for many years the Johannesburg Rand Easter Show grounds. Now forms part of the University of the Witwatersrand Campus.

The following are transliterations of the photographs on the right which are from the Souvenir Catalogue Empire Exhibition.


MAJOR COLIN C. FRYE, Chairman, Executive Committee

WHEN the "Buy Empire Goods (South African and Overseas) Committee" of Johannesburg, were considering in 1934 the form of their campaign for the jubilee year of the City of Johannesburg, the idea of an exhibition was put forward, and from this, with the active co-operation of the City Council of Johannesburg and the Union Government, has sprung the present Empire Exhibition: South Africa: 1936.

It is the first representative Exhibition to be held outside the United Kingdom, and the first national exhibition ever staged in the Union of South Africa. Not only the Union of South Africa, but the United Kingdom, the Dominions, the Colonies, the Dependencies and the Protectorates of the British Commonwealth contribute to its making, and the representation of industrial firms in the Union and in the Empire is of a most impressive character.

In the short space of two and a half years this great Exhibition has been built up, constituting a monument to the progressiveness and prosperity of South Africa and a striking indication of the trading interdependence of the British Commonwealth of Nations. Industrially and commercially it may justly be considered as one of the most important events in South African history of recent years, since it displays to the Empire and to the world at large the rapid development of South Africa's activities, while in return the United Kingdom and the sister Dominions, by their participation in the Exhibition, show their particular interest in that development.

Lieut.-Colonel His Excellency the Earl of Clarendon, P.C., G.C.M.G., Governor-General and Commander-in-Chief in and over the Union of South Africa, has graciously consented to open the Exhibition on September 15th, 1936.

The Exhibition is attracting from overseas numbers of interested visitors, who will now learn at first hand of the wealth of South Africa's natural resources, and also of the ideas and culture which are now playing such important parts in her national life. It is attracting, no less, many thousand South Africans, justly proud of their first Exhibition, and they too will gain ideas as to what the Empire means, while at the same time realising, perhaps more fully than they have done in the recent past, the remarkable results which have accrued to their benefit by the progressiveness of the Union Government Departments and the Provincial Administrations.

When on 15th January, 1937, the fairy city created in Milner Park must eventually close its gates and disappear, it will have done so only in a material sense. Its moral and educational effect in South Africa will be permanent.

Signed Colin C. Frye


From The
(Councillor MALDWYN EDMUND, J.P., M.P.C.).

IT is with great pleasure that I accede to the request of the Empire Exhibition Executive Committee to write this short foreword for the Exhibition Catalogue. It is a pleasure because I feel it is a great honour and privilege to be the President of such a wonderful organisation as the Empire Exhibition; South Africa: 1936.

This Exhibition is a unique event in the history of Johannesburg and of South Africa. It is of the greatest importance in the commercial world, and an education for both young and old. Within its confines one will see epitomised not only many of the outstanding features of the major towns and districts of the Union of South Africa, but also the chief characteristics of many of our great partners in the British Commonwealth of Nations.

Summarised information in regard to all these exhibits will be found in this official catalogue. In its 600 pages about 1,000 different firms, South African and Overseas, are listed; while the number of products indexed runs into approximately 10,000 different lines. It will, indeed, be a veritable encyclopaedia on the resources of the Empire.

As a book of reference, I feel this Exhibition catalogue will find its way into the shelves of many an office library, and there prove a source of valuable information.

I am sure the publication of this catalogue will produce results that will be perpetuated long after the Exhibition has closed its doors, and in that spirit I commend and wish the catalogue the success it richly deserves.

Signed Maldwyn Edmund


President, Empire Exhibition, South Africa, 1936.

Buildings on this site that were built for the exhibition.

Bloemfontein Kiosk
Cape House
Hall of South African Industries
Outspan: The Afrikaner Restaurant
Palestine Temple Pavilion
South African Iron and Steel Industry
Tower of Light
Transvaal Chamber of Mines Pavilion
Various Facades by DM COWIN and G MARWICK

For more information on Empire Exhibitions visit Wikipedia.