“From 1853 to 1854 the number of buildings in Melbourne doubled. Talented young British architects were drawn to Melbourne,” reports SBS Broadcasting, “and created grand public buildings with an elegance of design equal to those in major European cities.”
Flinders Street Station, when it was officially opened in 1910, was rumoured to be the busiest passenger station in the world. By the 1930s, says Melbourne Curious, “it had on average 241,130 passengers per week, putting it well-ahead of any other station in the world, including Gare Saint-Lazare, Paris and Grand Central Station, New York.”
The Exhibition Building is “one of the world’s last remaining major 19th century exhibition pavilions,” says Tourism Heritage. Set in Carlton Gardens on the edge of the central city, the building’s most remarkable features are “its dazzling white facade, and a dome modelled on Brunelleschi’s Florence cathedral, reports The Guardian. “Inside, the decor featured allegorical murals, the words ‘Victoria Welcomes All Nations’, and a mighty pipe organ.”
Queen Victoria Market has been “the heart and soul of Melbourne for more than a century,” says Remote Traveler – “an historic landmark spread over two city blocks, this vibrant and bustling inner-city market is where Melburnians shop for everything from Australian fruit and vegetables, and local and imported gourmet foods, to cosmetics, clothing and souvenirs.”
Melbourne Museum is a “glorious, sprawling space filled with themed displays, interactive areas, Imax cinemas, postmodern art and no end of surprises,” says Time Out. “The sheer scope of the permanent galleries (including one just for children) can be intimidating, but … the greatest treasures can be the tiniest and, like history itself, the most enlightening of surprises lurk in the dimmest corners and darker recesses.”
And if you want a further taste of Melbourne's public buildings, have a look at the National Trust of Victoria website, which lists twenty places in Melbourne and regional Victoria which are rich in history and are open to the public.