Monday, January 23, 2012

Hiding in the Carlton Gardens.

If you walk from the centre of Melbourne into the Carlton Gardens you can wander through graceful avenues of elm trees. Then at the end of the avenue you notice there is a massive fountain. Your eye is drawn further and you realise there is a grand building in the Gardens. The Royal Exhibition Building. Like the Eiffel Tower in Paris this structure was built as a temporary affair for an International Exhibition. To be precise the 1880 Exhibition when Melbourne was the richest city in the world (thanks to 30 years of gold-rushes) and wanted to show off. Well they demolished half of the structure at the end of the exhibition but a last minute change of heart saved the rest.

The Royal Exhibition Building had a brief break from its normal duties in the early part of the 20th Century when it acted as the first home of the Federal Parliament of Australia (our second and third Parliament buildings are in our Federal Capital Canberra). Since then it has returned to its normal duties as an exhibition building, It is said to be the only grand 19th Century exhibition building still fulfilling its original function. When I was there between Christmas and New Year it was temporarily closed so they can lay a new floor. I had a peek inside, to give you an idea of the size those are trucks and forklifts down the other end. Not a bad landmark to have tucked away in a garden!

9 comments:

Kathleen Jones said...

Fascinating! Melbourne seems to have more historic buildings than many other OZ cities - maybe because it was so rich. Thanks Al.

Old Kitty said...

I'm so glad its demolition has been halted! It's a beautiful building - very grand!! Take care
x

Stephen Tremp said...

Let's hope its left standing for many years to come! Its an awesome structure and one that can be used for so many purposes for the residents and tourists.

Laura Josephsen said...

Wow, that's so cool!

Linda G. said...

What a lovely interlude! :)

Carolyn V said...

I was going to say wow too, because that's the first thought that came to my head. Amazing. ;)

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

What a beautiful building. It would've been such a senseless waste to demolish it. Thanks for sharing.

February Grace said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
February Grace said...

How I dream of one day still walking in those gardens: Carlton, Fitzroy.

I've been promised a tour, you see, and I still hope to collect from the person who offered it.

Someday.

Beautiful post.

(sorry for the repost- typo!)