The Golden Mile – Marvellous Melbourne Tour

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When writer George Sala coined the term Marvellous Melbourne on a visit in 1885, the ‘Queen of the South’ was the biggest and wealthiest city in the British empire after London. Other terms such as New Gold Mountain and the Land of the Golden Fleece described a city only 50 years old, yet bustling with boom-era palaces of commence, theatres, hotels, vaults, cathedrals, galleries, banks, artists and stock exchange.

 Australia’s ‘Premier Street’ extends from Parliament House to Southern Cross Station. From the civic precinct around the Treasury at the ‘Paris end’ we head downhill to the religious, commercial and retail city and to the early ‘village’ settlement  at the western end. Experience 180 years of iconic Melbourne places and explore the golden age of the Melbourne boom era. 


Melbourne was established in 1835 at the height of a globalised wool industry and 16 years later became known as New Gold Mountain with the 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 wedding-cake style 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, many more 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

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

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

Cnr Exhibition Street, Collins Place 1980, 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 House1933, 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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