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Journey along the ‘The Golden Mile’ of  Collins Street and experience almost 190 years of iconic Melbourne places. Explore the iconic architecture from the 1850s gold rush to the 1880s land boom until today. Starting from the Treasury at the eastern ‘Paris’ end, we explore downhill to the city’s spiritual, commercial and retail heart and continue on to the early village settlement at the western end. 

When visiting writer George Sala coined the term ‘Marvellous Melbourne’ in 1885, the ’Queen of the South’ was the biggest and wealthiest city in the British Empire after London. Terms such as New Gold Mountain and the Land of the Golden Fleece described a city only 50 years old yet bustling with palaces of commence, theatres, hotels, cathedrals, galleries, banks, artists, and stock exchanges.

Starting Points: We usually start from the Old Treasury on Spring Street corner Collins Street. However we have run also these tours for conferences, staff events, tour groups and schools (two hours) from different starting points such as Melbourne Museum, The Immigration Museum, the Hyatt Hotel, Sofitel, City CYC and Flinders Street Station.


‘A wonderful way to get an overview of the best of this beautiful city as well as its history and buildings. It was also great fun’. Henry and Marcia, Philadelphia.
‘Our kids had a wonderful walk. For years its has been a highlight of our annual city camp
. Karoo Primary School.

Melbourne was established in 1835 at the height of a globalised wool industry. Only sixteen years later it became known as New Gold Mountain with a tremendous gold rush. Named for Lieutenant-Governor David Collins, the western end near the port developed quickly but the eastern end initially was bushland, and the centre section between Swanston and Elizabeth was a haberdashery district. The gold rush funded a boom of neo-Gothic and Italianate bank and insurance buildings, handsome stone churches, and the most fashionable shops in the country. Doctors built townhouses at the Spring Street end and grand hotels like the Federal went up. Artists lived in studios in the west end and businessmen hung their artworks in their private clubs.

The street’s fortunes plunged after the 1890s Depression, then boomed in the roaring 1920s and plunged again during the 1930s Depression.  An extraordinary renaissance has come since the late 1990s with heritage restorations, new CBD residents, soaring modern architecture and an egalitarian mix of shops and street-level cafes.


Cnr Spring Street, Old Treasury, 1862, JJ Clark

137 Spring Street, Windsor Hotel 1888, Charles Webb

1 Collins Street, 1983 Denton Corker Marshall Peck

5-7 Collins Street, merchant’s houses, 1888

61 Spring Street House of Hon William Campbell 1871, Leonard Terry

2 Collins Street, Alcaston House 1930, A and K Henderson 1930

9 Collins Street, Grosvenor Chambers (Heidelberg School and Angry Penguins) 1887

15 Collins Street, WCTU Rooms

35-55 Collins Street Towers, Sofitel 1975,  I M Pei, Bates Smart McCutcheon (BSM) 

36-50 Collins Street, Melbourne Club, 1858, Leonard Terry

81 Collins Street  Alexandra Club (oldest women’s club).

Collins Place 1980 cnr Exhibition Street, Cobb, Bates Smart, McCutcheon

101 Collins Street 1986-90, Denton Corker Marshall

107 Collins Street, Francis House 1927, Blackett and Forster,

115-119 Collins Street, Austral Building 1890, Nahum Barnet

100-104 Collins Street, Gilbert Court 1955, John A La Gerche

110-14 Collins Street, Collins Professional Chambers 1908, Ussher and Kemp

120 Collins Street 1991, Daryl Jackson

122-6 Collins Street, St Michael’s Church (first polychromatic), 1866, Reed and Barnes

140-54 Collins Street, Scots Church, 1873 Reed and Barnes.

156-160 Collins Street, Scots Church Assembly Hall 1915, Henry Kemp.

162-168 Collins Street, Georges Store 1883, Grainger and Kemp.

140-174 Collins Street Baptist Church 1845, John Gill.

141 Collins Street, T & G Building 1938, Anketell And Kingsley.

167-73 Collins Street, Auditorium Building, 1913 Nahum Barnet.

191-7 Collins Street, Regent Theatre 1930, Cedric Ballantyne.

188 Collins Street, Athenaeum Theatre 1839.

90-130 Swanston Street, Melbourne Town Hall 1867, Reed and Barnes

109-117 Swanston Street, Capitol Theatre 1924, WB Griffin and M Mahoney

91 Swanston Street, Manchester Unity1933, Marcus Barlow

250 Collins Street, Lyric House 1930, A and K Henderson.

252 Collins Street Kodak House 1935, Oakley And Parkes.

247-49 Collins Street, Newspaper House 1933, Stephenson and Meldrum, Napier Waller.

259-63 Collins Street, Centreway Building 1912, H And F Tompkins, 1987 Cocks, Carmichael, Whitford.

287-301 Collins Street, Royal Banking Chambers 1941, Stephenson and Turner.

282-284 Collins Street, Block Arcade 1891, Twentyman And Askew, Buchan Group 1983.

115-117 Elizabeth Street, Paton Building 1905, Nahum Barnet.

333 Collins Street CBA Bank, 1891, Taylor And Dunn, Nelson Architects 1990.

376-380 Collins Street, Melbourne Stock Exchange 1891, William Pitt.

390 Collins Street, ES&A (ANZ Gothic) Bank Collins 1884, William Wardell.

389-399 Collins Street, AC Goode House, former Bank NZ 1891, Wright Reed and Beaver.

Bank Place Mitre Tavern 1860s, Savage Club 1894,

419-429 Collins Street, Former AMP Building 1931, Bates Smart And McCutcheon

412 Collins Street, Collins Hill 1941, Percy Everett PWD.

422-448 Collins Street, Temple Court 1924, Grainger, Barlow and Hawkins.

430-44 Collins Street Royal Insurance Building 1965, Yuncken, Freeman

435-55 Collins Street, National Mutual Life 1965,

477 Collins Street, Olderfleet 1889, William Pitt, 1985 Von Hartel Denton Corker Marshall.

497-503 Collins Street Old Rialto 1889, William Pitt.

525 Collins Street, Rialto Towers 1986, De Preu And Mathieson.

Cnr Collins and King Streets, Enterprize House, former Federal Coffee Palace.

546-566 Collins Street, McPhersons Co. 1937, Reid Pearson and Calder

Cnr Collins and Spencer Street, Southern Cross Station 2006, Nicholas Grimshaw.

Further Information:

A Melbourne Timeline

Marvellous Melbourne Information Resources

View an AMAZING film of Melbourne in 1910  or

Living Melbourne 1910
1920s Melbourne

Victoria Police 1920s

1930s Cable Trams

1940s Melbourne

Bearbrass, Imagining early Melbourne, Robyn Annear, Melbourne : Black Inc., 2005.
Liardet’s water-colours of early Melbourne, Introduction and captions by Susan Adams, edited by Weston Bate, Melbourne University Press 1972.
Old Melbourne Town, Before the Gold Rush, Thomas Nelson , Australia, Limited. Cannon, M., 1991,
Essential but Unplanned: the story of Melbourne’s Lanes, Bate, Weston, Main Ridge: Loch Haven Books 1994
The Land Boomers, Michael Cannon 1966: Melbourne University Press, Melbourne.
Chronicles of Early Melbourne 1835-51 E. Finn, 1888, 2007 (CD);
The Old Melbourne Cemetery 1837 – 1922, Marjorie Morgan, Australian Institute of Genealogical Studies in 1982.
Old Pioneers Memorial History of Melbourne, Isaac Selby, 1924.
A City Lost and Found. Whelan The Wrecker’s Melbourne, Robyn Annear, Black Inc. 2005.
Melbourne The Biography of a City, W.H. Newnham, F.W. Chesire, 1956.
The Birth of Melbourne, Tim Flannery, The Text Publishing Company, 2002.
A Walking Guide to Melbourne’s Monuments, Ronald T. Ridley, Melbourne University Press, 1996.
A New City: Photographs of Melbourne’s Land boom, Ian Morrison, The Megunyah Press, 2003.
Melbourne’s Yesterdays, 1851-1901, A Photographic Record, Don Bennetts, Souvenir Press (Australia) Pty Ltd 1976.
A Guide to Melbourne Architecture by Philip Goad Watermark Press.
A Pictorial Guide to Australian Architecture, Styles and terms from 1788 to the present by Richard Appleby, Robert Irving. Peter Reynolds, Angus and Robertson.
Walking Melbourne, A National Trust guide to the historic and architectural landmarks of central Melbourne by Rohan Storey.
Melbourne: The City’s History and Development Lewis, Miles, City of Melbourne, 1995
The Streets of Melbourne From Early Photographs, Peter McIntosh, published by H&WT c1988
The James Flood Book of Early Melbourne, H H Paynting (ed), published c197
Photographs of Melbourne’s Land Boom, Ian Morrison (ed), A New City: Carlton (Victoria) 2003.
150 Years of Australian Architecture, Philip Goad, ‘Bates Smart: Fishermans Bend, 2004.
A Short History of Melbourne Architecture, Philip Goad, Pesaro Publishing, 2002.
Sun Pictures of Victoria Fauchery & Daintree, Reilly & Carew Currey O’Neil Ross, 1983.
1835: The Founding Of Melbourne And The Conquest Of Australia by James Boyce 2011.
Melbourne by Sophie Cunningham 2011.
Characters: Cultural Stories Revealed Through Typography by Stephen Banham 2011.
The Place for a Village. How Nature has shaped the city of Melbourne. Gary Presland.
Melbourne Remade. Seamus O’Hanlon. The Inner city Since the 1970s. Arcade Publications 2010.

Aboriginal Melbourne: the lost land of the Kulin people, McPhee Gribble, Ringwood, Vic. 1994.
The Melbourne Dreaming. A Guide to the Aboriginal Places of Melbourne, 1997, Aboriginal Studies Press.
Aboriginal Victorians. A history since 1800, Richard Broome, Allen and Unwin 2005.
I Succeeded Once. The Aboriginal Protectorate on the Mornington Peninsula, Marie Fels 2011.
Meerreeng-an. Here is my Country. The Story of Aboriginal Victoria told through art. Chris Keeler and Vicky Couzens 2010.
1835: The Founding Of Melbourne And The Conquest Of Australia by James Boyce 2011.
The Australian Aborigines, A. P. Elkin. Angus and Robertson, 1986.
Wild Medicine in Australia, A.B. and JW Cribb, Collins, 1988.
Wild Food in Australia, A.B. and JW Cribb, Collins, 1988.
Archaeology of the Dreamtime, J Flood, Angus and Robertson, 2001.
Remains to be Seen. Archaeological insights into Australian pre-history. David Frankel.

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