Tuesday, January 08, 2008

The Melbourne Golden Mile

I am so bored at home! Therefore, I decided that I will spend this week exploring the city thoroughly despite having lived here for 3 years.

I started off my resolution by joining the Melbourne Golden Mile tour, which explores Melbourne's heritage precincts, its city streets, arcades and laneways. The tours depart daily at 10 am from Fed Square and take approximately two hours.

We started at the Old Customs House. which is currently the Immigration Museum at the corner of Flinders and William St.

Art on the pavement depicting how the Aboriginese once reigned Victoria.

Fawkner Hotel, Melbourne's first permanent house (1836). Built by John Pascoe Fawkner, patrons complained that it offered only bad rum and river water, with nothing to eat and nowhere to sleep.

View behind the Rialto towers.

Rear view of the Wool Exchange. The structures with the corrugated iron are the mens' lavatories.

Rutherglen House (1852), once owned by Cecilia Zander who became one of Melbourne's most successful female proprietors.

These glass tiles allow natural light to filter into the basement areas.

The Olderfleet buildings (1889) developed by Patrick McCaughan.

Designed by architect William Pitt to emulate the buildings of medieval Venice, the Rialto Hotel (1890) is also known as the 'Venice of the South'.

The Winfield Building (1891) was built to house the Melbourne Wool Exchange. One of its developers, Thomas Fallon lost everything after the crash of 1893 and shot himself in a Fitzroy boarding house.

Makers Mark jewellers are the producers of Melbourne's top jewellery items.

The facade of the Queensland building showcase the local fruits and flowers grown in the state.

The Scottish house with its granite pillars

The Australian Club (founded in 1878) was originally 'rich, Presbyterian and Pastoral', but lawyers and businessmen soon outnumbered the squatters (sheep farmers).

Stalbridge chambers

Banks Lane

The Savage club (1894) was named after English poet Richard Savage. The club maintains a convivial tradition of 'arguing and singing, eating, drinking and fraternising'.

The Mitre Tavern, one of the oldest pubs in Melbourne.

The bank of New Zealand

Dome within a dome - this is the domed banking chamber of the former Commercial Bank of Australia, designed in 1891 by Lloyd Tayler and Alfred Dunn. The bank was forced to close in 1893.

The oldest brick building in Melbourne (1839), corner Elisabeth and Collins St.

The exquisite 1907 ceiling murals in the Chelsea Design boutique at the entrance of the Block Aracade.

Interior of the Block Arcade. It has Australia's largest mosaic floor. It is also Melbourne's oldest shopping arcade and dates back to 1870.

Two giants, Gog and Magog have been keeping time here since 1892.

The glass skylight roof adds a lively atmosphere to the building.

Howey Place once housed E.W. Coles famous Book Arcade of 3 million books.

After ending the tour at the Melbourne Town Hall, I got myself a 'braised chicken with egg chiffon on rice' at the King of Kings restaurant on Russell St.

This tour is really worth it, and I would recommend anyone who'd like to have a more in depth understanding of the city of Melbourne to take this tour.


Anonymous said...

Enjoyed viewing your blog, you have taken some wonderful photos of the Melbourne Golden Mile walk. As one of the guides that takes this walk it was great to see see your impressions. I dont think I was the guide when you did it, I think I recognise that it wwas Jan Roberts who was your guide, regards

brandon said...

Yes, it was Jan who brought us on the tour. She also explained the buildings from an architectural point of view, which was very interesting. Keep up the good work!

Fiona said...

Thoroughly enjoyed your blog - thank you! Found it by accident when googling some Melbourne history. Have lived in Melbourne all my life (55 years) and can't believe I didn't know about the tour! Your photos are marvellous too. I was pleased to see the plaque at the site of J.P. Fawkner's first hostelry in Market Street. It was the first permanent building in Melbourne. When Fawkner moved on to his next premises, the first building was refurbished and became the 'Sporting Emporium', the proprieter was the gunsmith John Blanch. The building was accidently demolished on 17 December 1839 in a spectacular and tragic explosion caused by a customer snapping the flintlock of a gun he was considering for purchase. Gunpowder was piled in a corner, and ignited. Five people, including John Blanch and his wife Sarah and her unborn baby died as a result of the explosion. The tragedy led to the building of Melbourne's first hospital, as well as legislation for the safe storage of gunpowder.

Hels said...

Some great photos. It is really important that all our precious 19th century architecture is well documented, before it is lost forever. Don't you weep over the Coffee Palace and other destroyed treasures?

I have created a link to your post, many thanks.


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