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Treasure Wall Exhibition at State Library of South Australia

Home > Adelaide > Art | Exhibitions | Free | Photography | Places of Interest
by Jenny Esots (subscribe)
A freelance writer and traveller who likes to explore the spiritual, literary and hidden gems of Adelaide and beyond.
Published June 8th 2014
Time travel to the 19th century
Adelaide has a number of splendid exhibition spaces.
Some very well known -


Some lesser known as in -


The Treasure Wall, State Library, North Terrace
The Treasure Wall, State Library, North Terrace


An exhibition space that often slips under the radar is the Treasure Wall exhibition in the State Library of South Australia.

The 'wall' lives on the first level of the library. Directly at the top of the main stairs.

It is currently displaying a collection of curiosities from the 19th century. Portraits taken when time was taken to pose, dress and set a mood. Looking back the observer is left to wonder at the settings and attire. The occasion and costumes. It is like time travelling in another world.



Come in to the Library to see the latest Treasures Wall exhibition entitled - Moriendo renascor : 19th century photography.

The viewer is invited to enter the world of South Australian photography in the 19th century. Examine glass plates and photographic equipment. A fascinating look at our visual past.
Photos were indeed treasured by their owners in the 19th century.

"Throughout this time while it was very fashionable to own a photographic likeness of one's self or one's family, most families owned no more than one, two or three photographs, each image treasured and carefully protected. Testament to this is the fact that so many of these photographs exist today". (Source)

Images on display
Images on display


We are now in an age when everyone has a camera ready in his or her pocket. Seemingly documenting every facet of daily life. We have endless instant pictures.

We now take as many photographs every two minutes as were taken in the entire 19th century with 3.5 trillion photographs taken since 1839 and 4 Billion taken this year alone. Noting also that 10% of all photos ever taken were made in the last year.

Photographic enthusiasts and historians will find particular joy in the resurrection of these images and processes.

On display are many intricate pieces of camera equipment. Recognising a different time and place.

'Moriendo renascor' is a latin phrase meaning In death I am reborn.

19th century photographic equipment
19th century photographic equipment


The exhibition runs until the end of July and is in association with an exhibition at the South Australian School of Art Gallery that examines the rebirth of daguerreotypes, ambrotypes and tintypes.

Dead 19th Century photographic techniques are reawakened within a contemporary context. (Source)



The image shown above is a cabinet card photograph of a man dressed as Robinson Crusoe at a fancy dress ball held at the Columbia Roller Skating Rink in the Jubilee Exhibition Building, 1888. B 32878

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Why? Time travel to the 19th century
When: On now until July 31st
Where: Treasure Wall, State Library, North Terrace
Cost: FREE
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