Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Melbourne's Golden Mile Heritage Trail

Happy New Year to you all!! Apologies for my silence. So my time in Melbourne is nearly over and I have been meaning to do this walk since I arrived three weeks ago. Today, while my friend Fran, was at work I finally got up off the sofa and walked Melbourne's Golden Mile Heritage Trail. 

Starting off at Melbourne's Immigration Museum, it takes you on, what I presume is a mile walk, through the city to all it's best heritage buildings and architecture.

Melbourne is a beautiful city, full of a range of architectural styles from purely English designs on the neo-Gothic style through to European neo-Classical forms that also incorporate Australian features. 

Allow me to show you a few of my favourites: 

The York Butter factory is located on the corner of King Street and Collins Street and was originally constructed as two individual warehouses (seen above), built in 1854 and 1855. In 1902 the buildings were combined and converted into the butter factory we see today by Hansel and Farrell. 

The Mitre Taven was established in 1867, though it is thought that parts of the building date to the 1850s. The architecture is distinctly English with no concessions made at all for the Australian climate; the steeply pitched roof is still waiting for the snow that will never come and the rain that comes in short, sharp, infrequent bursts. The tiny windows are a nod to the 'window tax' issues belonging to the homeland, but which did not exist in the new world, and the gables and glass work are typical of contemporary English Inns.

This piece of spectacular architectural construction was originally the English, Scottish and Australian Bank and Stock Exchange Building, it is now a Bank Museum for ANZ. It was erected in 1883/87 as the head office and manager's residence and was designed by William Wardell. It's secular neo-gothic architecture is the finest in Victoria. If you do wander past this building, please, please, please poke your head round the door. The interior is s.t.u.n.n.i.n.g! 

As I carried on up Collin's street there are many arcades to be marveled at, and the shops inside are almost as impressive as the architecture above. 

Finally, when your feet begin to tire and your thoughts are beginning to turn to one of the many lovely little coffee shops that Melbourne is full of, you reach the Royal Exhibition Building surrounded by the beautiful Carlton Gardens. 

It was constructed in 1880-1 for the Melbourne International Exhibition. As a 'Palace of Industry', it displayed the technologies and achievements of the mechanized age. It was designed by Joseph Reed, built by David Mitchell and was the greatest show the city had ever seen, attracting over one million visitors. In 2004 the building and the surrounding gardens were inscribed on UNESCO's World Heritage List of the 'Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage'. 

Here are a few more that caught my eye....

The Golden Mile Heritage Trail is a great way to explore the city and find places that you would otherwise ignore and carry on past. If you are anything like me, you will spend most of the trail with your head craned back and staring towards the stars, just be careful not to walk into people, you get some very strange looks. 

Tours depart daily at 10am from Federation Square and cost $20. There are even small plaques and discs on the pavement to guide your way through if you choose not to take the guided tour (though I did not realise this until I had nearly reached the final building and instead spent the whole tour squinting at my teeny tiny map....). 

Have fun and get exploring! 

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