Grand Old Melbourne

Melbourne Victoria Australia
Melbourne

Melbourne, the capital of Victoria is the second largest city in Australia. The city was founded in 1835 and upon the 1901 federation of the six colonies that became the Commonwealth of Australia, Melbourne also served as the nations capital and seat of government from 1901 to 1927 (using the State Parliament building as the national parliament). By 1927 the initial construction of today’s capital Canberra in the Australian Capital Territory was completed and the Federal Parliament of Australia was ready for use (the site of the city was chosen in 1908 as a compromise between the two rival cities of Melbourne and Sydney – Australia’s largest city, and resolved the dispute of which should be the capital. This rivalry still exists today!).

Melbourne Australia 1880
A painting by Samuel Calvert (source: The University of Melbourne)

Melbourne came to prominence in the 1850’s on the back of the Victorian Gold Rush. The population of the colony of Victoria exploded and the wealth of the economy grew (between 1851 and 1855 the population grew from 80,000 to 300,000 people. Today the state has a population of approximately 5.6 million people of which 4.1 million live in Melbourne).

Melbourne Australia City Skyline
Melbourne today

The city has developed into one of not only financial prominance but also one of culture, the arts, food and has an incredible love of sports (today this includes Australian Rules Football, Cricket, Rugby, Soccer, Formula One and Horse Racing to name but a few – crowds can be up to 100,000 people or more at some of these events!). The prosperous Gold Rush days lead to the growth of the city and also the development of many grand buildings of the Victorian era and post federation period including the State Parliament (opened 1856), State Library (opened 1856), Princess Theatre (opened 1857), the Town Hall (opened 1870), the Exhibition Building (built for the 1880 International Exhibition that established Melbourne as a major city in the world. The building also hosted the opening of the first Parliament of Australia in 1901 and would be later used by the Victorian Parliament between 1901-1927), Windsor Hotel (first opened in 1884 and then doubled in size in 1888 it is now the only surviving “grand” hotel of the 19th century in Australia), St. Pauls Cathedral (consecrated 1891), Flinders Street Station (completed 1909), the Forum Theatre (opened in 1929 as the largest cinema in Australia seating 3,371 people it has an impressive gothic exterior and inside there are Greco-Roman statues and a painted ceiling to represent the nights sky) and the Shrine of Remembrance (opened 1934).

State Parliament of Victoria Melbourne Australia
State Parliament of Victoria
The Vestibule State Parliament of Victoria
The Vestibule – State Parliament
Queens Hall State Parliament of Victoria Australia
Queens Hall – State Parliament
Legislative Assembly Chamber State Parliament of Victoria
Legislative Assembly Chamber – State Parliament
Legislative Council Chamber State Parliament of Victoria Melbourne
Legislative Council Chamber – State Parliament
State Library of Victoria Melbourne Australia
State Library of Victoria
La Trobe Reading Room Dome State Library of Victoria Melbourne Australia
La Trobe Reading Room – State Library of Victoria
Princess Theatre Melbourne Australia
Princess Theatre
Melbourne Town Hall
Town Hall
Melbourne Town Hall Christmas Light Show 2012
Town Hall lit up for Christmas
International Exhibition 1880 Melbourne Australia
Exhibition Building (source: State Library of Victoria)
The opening of the Australian Parliament in 1901 attended by the Duke of Cornwall
The opening of the Australian Parliament in 1901 attended by the Duke of Cornwall (source: Museum Victoria)
Exhibition Building Melbourne
Exhibition Building today – still as grand as ever
Windsor Hotel Melbourne Australia
Windsor Hotel
St. Pauls Cathedral Melbourne
St. Pauls Cathedral
interior of St. Pauls Cathedral Melbourne Victoria
The impressive interior of St. Pauls Cathedral
Flinders Street Station Melbourne Australia
Flinders Street Station
The Forum Theatre Melbourne Australia
The Forum
Shrine of Remembrance Melbourne Victoria Australia
Shrine of Remembrance
The Sanctuary Shrine of Remembrance Melbourne
The Sanctuary – Shrine of Remembrance

These old buildings reside today with towering skyscrapers and modern structures such as the Rialto Towers, Eureka Tower (the tallest building in Melbourne at 91 stories and the second tallest in Australia), the Arts Centre Spire and Federation Square to form a perfect blend of the old and the new. So if you are wandering the streets of Melbourne please take the time to look up and take in the architectural sights around you as there is so much to see!

Eureka Tower Rialto Building Flinders Street Station Melbourne
The View from Federation Square – Eureka Tower is to the left and Flinders Street station to the right with the Rialto Towers in the background directly behind it
Arts Centre Spire Melbourne
Arts Centre Spire
Federation Square St. Pauls Cathedral Melbourne
Federation Square and St. Pauls Cathedral
Federation Square Melbourne Australia
Federation Square
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s