Posted by: Gregoryno6 | February 23, 2014

The Melbourne Expedition: Architecture.

There’s a new trend in Melbourne’s affluent eastern suburbs – residences that echo the styles of the late 1800s.

New Old-Style House 01
New Old-Style House 02

New Old-Style House 03

This one appears to have been inspired by some civic edifice of the past…

New Old-Style House 04

Quite possibly it was Fitzroy Town Hall.

See what I mean?

Fitzroy TH Library

I couldn’t manage a wide shot of the town hall with my camera. So here’s someone else’s photo.


Sourced here.

The town hall was begun in 1873. Melbourne was still riding high on the gold rush days of the 1850s; Fitzroy’s is one of the larger and grander buildings of its type, but there were many built in a similar style.

Few had a clock tower to rival this specimen.

Fitzroy TH Clock tower

Napier Hotel

Just across Napier Street, the Napier Hotel is another survivor from a bygone age.

Pubs were plentiful in the old inner city suburbs. Many have been demolished or turned into more genteel eating/drinking establishments; the Napier doesn’t appear to have yielded much to changing fashions.

Speaking of fashions…

Errors of the mid-20th Century

Here’s a building that belongs under the classification ‘Errors of the Twentieth Century.’ Large numbers of small old homes from the late 1800s were demolished to make way for cheap high-rise blocks like this. Good move, city fathers!

And now a very brief selection from within Melbourne’s CBD.

TS HQ 01

Melbourne was a major centre for the Theosophical Society a hundred years ago. This was their original headquarters, in Collins Street.
Note the unusual symbol at the top.

TS HQ 02

What a combination! Star of David, Swastika, and the Ankh Cross. Theosophists were indeed catholic in their sources of inspiration… get it? Catholic?

Old and new: the Nicholas Building in Swanston Street, with the Eureka Tower poking its head up from the south side of the Yarra.

Nicholas and Eureka

 I don’t know about you. But a lot of contemporary architecture does nothing for me – except deepen my appreciation of the old stuff. Weird looking buildings of the future were more appealing in kids tv shows when I was at school; seeing them full size, I’m not so enthusiastic.

To finish, a swift return to Fitzroy.

I’ve heard of The Eye of Faith. This door is protected by The Eye of Admission.

The Eye of Adimission

Behold The Eye!

Beware The Eye!



  1. Have no idea how many visits you have made, back to your city, but she is a beauty.

    Oh and yes I know just as with all cities, there are those, umm, uhh, well, you know.

    Great shots bloke.

    • Thanks. I only wish Perth had shown a similar respect for its older buildings. Unfortunately a lot of fine old beauties have been knocked down and replaced by boring ugly stuff.
      It was kind of a mindset here for a long time, though I think it’s begun to weaken in the last couple of decades. That would coincide with Perth’s reducing isolation, and perhaps a growing self-confidence too. Not so anxious to show the world we’re modern, and up to date.

      • Here in the Barry Colonies, formerly known as the U.S. we have that thing called eminent domain. ‘Laws generally allow for the confiscation of private property if taking it is judged to serve a larger public good’.

        With what seems like a helluva’ lot of land in the Perth surroundings, I’m confused as to why the government in Perth, knocked down that “fine old”, when IF you have similar ‘law(s)’, leave it be and confiscate, with a proper price, for “a larger public good”, for the high/low rise “boring ugly stuff”, residential or commercial.

        But what the hell do I know..

  2. I drive pass those ugly commission flats every other day, such an eye sore. Thanks for the reminder lol

    • I was in Santa Monica this time last year, and their solution was far preferable. Some streets go for several blocks without a freestanding house; it’s all flats. But they’re kept low-level, two or three storeys high. So the human scale is preserved.

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