Beautiful Buildings of Melbourne
Back in the mid 1800's Melbourne was a boom town fueled by the goldrush in nearby Bendigo and Ballarat. Melbourne was a very prosperous town and many beautiful buildings were designed and created off the back off the Gold Boom. Here are some of our favourites.
THE STATE LIBRARY OF VICTORIA
State Library Victoria is one of Melbourne's founding institutions, established in 1854, barely 20 years after the city was settled. It opened as the Melbourne Public Library, and is not only Australia's oldest and busiest public library but also one of the first free public libraries in the world. The Library has remained on the same two-acre allotment since its opening in 1856, but the structure you see today is actually made up of around two dozen individual buildings that have changed dramatically over the years.
When asked to name their favourite space in the State Library, most visitors nominate the glorious La Trobe Reading Room. No visit to Melbourne is complete without a Dome selfie, whether taken from the floor of the reading room looking up to the dome, or from an elevated perch on the 6th-floor balcony. Opened in 1913, the magnificent octagonal reading room is six storeys high and can house 32,000 books and 320 readers at its desks. When it was built, the enormous reinforced-concrete structure was the largest in the world. Known as the Domed Reading Room until it was refurbished and reopened in 2003, the building is an architectural feat.
A must see while you are in Melbourne or take one of their free guided tours.
333 COLLINS STREET
The 333 Collins Street complex was completed in 1990, but within this complex stands a building that was constructed almost 100 years before, during the land boom of the 1890’s. That building is the former Banking Chamber and entrance vestibule of the Commercial Bank of Australia.It is possible to go inside the entrance to this building and see this magnificent structure. If you want more information take a look at their website below and click on the Virtual Tour.
THE ROYAL EXHIBITION BUILDING
Designed by architect Joseph Reed (who also did the Melbourne Town Hall and the State Library of Victoria) and completed in 1880, the Royal Exhibition Building is one of Australia’s most impressive architectural beauties. It is one of the world’s oldest remaining exhibition pavilions and was built to host the first official World’s Fair in the Southern Hemisphere. Not only is the building impressive from the outside, the interior is also spectacular so try to get along to one of the many exhibitions they have throughout the year and enjoy the beauty of this building.
There are currently works underway to refurbish and enhance this beautiful building and allow a more permanent access to the rooftop. We can't wait!
Fun fact: the Royal Exhibition Building was the first building in the country to be awarded UNESCO World Heritage status (take that, Sydney Opera House!).
ANZ BANKING MUSEUM
Located close by at 380 Collins Street is the ANZ Banking Museum - also known as the Gothic Bank. The ANZ Gothic Bank stands majestically on the corner of Queen Street and Collins Street. It comprises two buildings: the former English, Scottish and Australian (ES&A) Bank on the corner and the former Melbourne Stock Exchange, fronting Collins Street. In 1923 the two buildings were renovated and combined, becoming known simply as the 'Gothic Bank.' Both are superb examples of the gothic revival style, albeit in contrasting ways. The former ES&A Bank is an exercise in graceful restraint, whereas the former Stock Exchange reflects the exuberance of the 1880s’ banking boom. In recent times, they were restored as part of the construction of the ANZ World Headquarters. They are free to visit and well worth a look.
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