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After the 1850s Victorian gold rush, Melbourne exploded with displays of new wealth. Tour dramatic Gothic Revival facades, Art Deco jewels and Neoclassical monoliths.
This walk is approximately 4.3km and takes about 2 hours.
Sights on this walk
1. The Capitol
Start out at the 1924 Chicago Gothic cinema The Capitol at 133 Swanston Street. Designed by architects Marion Mahony Griffin and Walter Burley Griffin it’s famous geometric ceiling and dramatic lighting evoke a crystalline cave.
2. Manchester Unity Building
On the corner of Collins Street you’ll find the 1932 Commercial Gothic Manchester Unity Building. Enter the mosaic-tiled arcade for a coffee at the 1932 Cafe & Restaurant and take a tour to see the original interiors and secret rooftop.
3. Old Melbourne Stock Exchange
Continue down Collins Street for the stained glass and Gothic revival gargoyles of the Old Melbourne Stock Exchange (1889-91). On the corner the cathedral-esque sandstone ANZ Gothic Bank (1883-87) by William Wardell boasts gilded ceilings.
4. Former Port of Melbourne Authority Building
A block south at 29-31 Market Street, is the Former Port of Melbourne Authority Building. This nine storey 1929 tower is a rare Beaux-Arts beauty in polished granite and marble.
5. Immigration Museum
The former Customs House dates from 1876 in the Italian Renaissance-style. It’s now the Immigration Museum and you can explore Australia’s migration history inside.
6. Sandridge Bridge
Cross the Sandridge Bridge and spot the Travellers sculptures for each migration era. On the other side find the figure of Gayip, a Woiwurrung word for the ceremonial meeting of different Aboriginal groups.
7. Eureka Tower
Take the lift to the top of the 300 metre tall Eureka Tower for an epic view and walk out on to the glass-floored Skydeck if you dare. Designed by architects Fender Katsalidis, the tower’s name and gold cap reference the 1854 Eureka Stockade gold rush rebellion.
8. Arts Precinct
A traditional gathering place for the Kulin Nations for thousands of years, from the late 1800s the site hosted ice rinks, circuses and dance halls.
9. Arts Centre Melbourne
Hamer Hall opened in 1982, followed by Arts Centre Melbourne’s subterranean theatres in 1984. The iconic webbed spire flares at the base to evoke a ballerina's tutu and the velvet interior is by Academy Award-winning costume designer John Truscott.
10. National Gallery of Victoria
Opened in 1968, the National Gallery of Victoria began at the State Library Victoria 1861. Touch the water wall at the entrance, see the world’s largest stained glass ceiling in the Great Hall and wander the exhibitions all day.
11. Southbank Theatre
The matrix of glowing tubes and angular boxes is Southbank Theatre. Designed by ARM Architecture, it’s home to the Melbourne Theatre Company, Australia’s oldest, performing since 1953.
12. Melbourne Recital Centre
Refuel at Blondie before exploring the Melbourne Recital Centre. The acoustics are the star of this chamber music venue which, from outside, appears as a moulded case protecting its wooden instrument-like interior.
13. Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA)
Turn left into Sturt Street for the rusted Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA) to catch an installation. Snap a photo with Vault, the giant yellow sculpture by Ron Robertson-Swann.
14. Malthouse Theatre
Next door to ACCA, former 1892 brewery The Malthouse Theatre is the place to catch contemporary performance. Stop for a glass of wine in the courtyard alongside sculpture, dance and filmmaking students from the surrounding art schools.
15. Shrine of Remembrance
Join a tour to find out more about this 1934 World War I memorial and climb to the top for the best view of the city. It is significant to Aboriginal culture for the many who served at a time when Aboriginal people were denied civil and political rights.
More unmissable architecture
Flinders Street Station
The iconic yellow dome at the intersection of Swanston and Flinders streets is the gateway to the city. Since 1910 Melburnians have rendezvoused ‘under the clocks’ at the main steps, with Mirka Mora’s 1986 mural watching over the commuters.
Young & Jackson Hotel
The 1861 Young & Jackson predates the station opposite. Pop in for a pint and a pub meal and visit resident celebrity, Chloe, the legendary nude by Jules Lefebvre.
Melbourne’s first cinema the Forum Theatre, opened in 1929 on the corner of Flinders and Russell streets. Its famous twinkling night-sky ceiling, theatrical clock tower and ornate balconies are locally loved by concert and film goers.
Find Melbourne’s oldest surviving hotel at 34 Franklin Street. Serving since 1854, Mac’s Georgian bluestone was favoured by gold buyers and its stables could hose 100 horses.
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