However the easy gold reserves started to dwindle and new money craves new respectability. The once wild west town was now the wowser capital of Australia – in fact the word wowser was invented in Melbourne.
Sabbath observance was a big issue and anything that could be seen as entertainment was frowned upon. A good Methodist could not for instance take out a pack of cards to play a solitary game of patience. One of the few legal things to do was to go and tend your relatives’ graves at the cemetery and maybe sit there and read some inspiring sermons – but not so inspiring that they could be deemed entertainment.
A minor scandal arose when the Gallery (then housed in the now State Library) decided to open its doors on a Sunday. A further scandal occurred when certain gentlemen were offended by an artwork called Chloe. Those gentlemen returned a number of times to be offended and to confirm that it was not the sort of rubbish that they would want their family to see.
In recent times, Melbourne has become a more lively place on a Sunday so we have compiled a list of 20 suggested things to do in Melbourne on a Sunday. Here they are:
Have a lazy breakfast in Acland Street St Kilda and then browse the wares at the Esplanade Market. Nobody's in any hurry in St Kilda on a Sunday. More information at The White Hat Guide to St Kilda.
Take the ferry to Willy. Williamstown (or Willy as the locals call it) still has a village atmosphere and the boat trip across the bay helps put you in a suitable relaxed mood. There is a farmers' market on the 2nd Sunday of the month and craft markets on the 1st & 3rd Sundays. The Historical Society Museum is also open on Sundays. More details at The White Hat Guide to Williamstown.
Enjoy a hearty Sunday brunch or even a full roast. Many hotels have a special Sunday lunch menu and if you choose one with, say, a view of the bay you can enjoy a relaxing Sunday whatever the weather.
Ride a tram - You can ride the City Circle Tram for free, but once you've done a complete circuit you probably don't want to go around a second time. On the other hand you could choose a particular tram and ride it to the end of the route and back. On a Sunday if you buy the right ticket, this will cost you next to nothing. and for visitors it can be a good way to get a flavour of Melbourne suburban living. You could for instance try the route 109 which runs through Collins Street in the city. If you are on a tight budget you could break your journey at either Victoria Street Richmond or the Box Hill terminus and enjoy a cheap warming Asian meal. If you have a little more to spend you could enjoy a meal at one of the restaurants overlooking the bay at the Station Pier terminus.
Have a meal on the tramcar restaurant - Enjoy a leisurely meal in a heated tramcar restaurant while looking through the windows at the poor mugs out there walking around in the rain. Be warned that the wine (included in the price) keeps on coming so you're sure to feel nice and warm when you return to base.
Go shopping or just window shopping in Chapel Street and watch the other window shoppers.
Most Sundays in Melbourne you will find a community, ethnic or multicultural festival and most have delicious home made food so there's Sunday lunch taken care of. You find a comprehensive listing of festivals at The White Hat Guide to Festivals in Melbourne.
Enjoy free entertainments in the parks. Most Sundays throughout summer you will find free concerts or free entertainments of some sort in the parks and gardens. Lay back, kick off your shoes and enjoy a glass of bubbly. During the cooler months you will often find free indoor entertainment at places like the Melbourne Town Hall or Federation Square.
Take some photographs. People are at their most relaxed and least self-conscious on a Sunday and you will get some atmospheric shots that would be difficult to take on a weekday.
Experience Yum Cha in Chinatown. There are plenty of venues and price ranges to choose from. Take some friends and enjoy this typical Sunday tradition.
Go bike riding. Melbourne has miles of wonderful bike paths and you can hire a bike or take your own. For short trips there are plenty of Melbourne Bike Share stations. For longer ones there are a number of places who will hire you a bike for a lengthier period. Why not take advantage of the cheap Sunday public fares where you can travel anywhere on the metropolitan public transport system all day for next to nothing. You are allowed to take your bicycle on the train for no extra cost so that gives you an opportunity to go for a ride on Melbourne's outskirts or even the country if you choose the appropriate train line. More information at The White Hat Guide to Cycling in Melbourne.
Promenade. If you're feeling pretty good with the world and with yourself why not head out and strut your stuff. If your stuff is past the strutting stage nobody is going to mind on a Sunday or you could always just sit down and watch the passing parade. Some of the favourite promenading areas in Melbourne are Southgate, the St Kilda foreshore and Docklands.
Roam around Docklands. On most Sundays there will be entertainment ranging from bands, markets and plenty of cafes, restaurants and pubs from which to drink in the relaxing view of boats, water and parks with barbecues and playgrounds. More information at The White Hat Guide to Docklands.
White Hat always looks forward to the free Sunday world music concerts at the
Fairfield Amphitheatre during February. We suggest you get together with family
and friends, bring a blanket or cushion and your own food creations suited to a
lazy Sunday afternoon.
5pm to 7.30pm, Sundays in February 2013
Fairfield Amphitheatre, Fairfield Park, Heidelberg Road, Fairfield
Melbourne Jazz Jammers sessions
Meet other musicians or just come along to just relax and listen! Students, musos, amateurs, all welcome. Visit www.melbournejazzjammers.com to subscribe free to Jammers enews, published weekly to review sessions, promote events by Jammers, encourage people to be involved in live performance and provide an informative, inclusive and friendly network for followers of jazz. Jammers jazz sessions are held each week at the Leinster Arms Hotel, Gold Street Collingwood, Fridays 6pm to late and Sundays from 3.30 to 6. Free entry and great food.
Leinster Arms Hotel, Gold Street Collingwood
Enquiries: (03) 9013 1715
Family Day at Collingwood Children's Farm
On Family Days there are free pony rides, hay rides, a BBQ and activities matching the monthly theme.
The Melton Cycling Club operates family bike rides along bike baths in Melton
and Caroline Springs and twice a month.
Caroline Springs;- Every 1st Sunday of each month leaving the Civic
Melton:- Every 3rd Sunday of each month leaving Hannah Watts Park
8am to 9am
Sydney Road Street Party
An annual event with stalls, entertainment and refreshments.
noon to 7pm, 2nd March 2014
between Union & Victoria streets, Sydney Road,
Enquiries: (03) 9388 1460
White Hat Tour of Melbourne Cemetery
Melbourne Cemetery is an ideal introduction to Melbourne's history - particularly with the entertaining and informative guide from White Hat. The final resting place of many famous Australians including Peter Lalor, judge Redmond Barry, Sir Robert Menzies, John Gorton, Marcus Clarke, Burke & Wills, Sir Isaac Isaacs, Walter Lindrum and many more. As chosen and recommended by the Qantas In Flight
magazine in May 2007. More information on the cemetery tour >>.
1pm to 3pm, selected Sundays
Melbourne General Cemetery - main entrance
$15 per head
Bookings: (03) 9329 6055
Open Day - Plant Craft Cottage
Open day in this historic cottage in the Botanic Gardens.
Running Days - The engines are impressive seen in action and on the last Sunday of each month (except December) many of them are fired up. There will always be at least one or two steam rollers or traction engines in steam, the stationary museum steams up, the big diesels and the vintage workshop also put on a display. There are over 400 engines and associated exhibits scattered through the exhibition sheds around the sites. The grounds have been developed from a raw industrial wasteland to a very pleasant park by the volunteer members of the club over the past 20 years with picnic tables, shade trees and BBQ facilities for picnickers. Ice Creams and cold drinks are available but no food except at rally times. The grounds and museum are open 11am till 4pm on Saturdays and Sundays except the Christmas - New Year period. The Miniature railway operates on Sundays (rides $2). Admission is by donation. To see it all running the best time to visit is rally time. Full information at Melbourne Steam Traction Engine
Preserving and exhibiting Jewish heritage, arts, customs and religious ritual in
all its diversity. It includes the significant contrbutions of Jewish people to
Australian life. more info >
La Trobe's Cottage
La Trobe's cottage was the home of Victoria's first Lieutenant-Governor, Charles La Trobe. He transported the pre-fabricated dwelling with him when he came to Australia in 1839. More info>>
2pm to 4pm, Sundays (Oct to April)
cnr Birdwood Ave & Dallas Brooks Drive
Enquiries: (03) 8663 7223
This historic mansion is managed by the National Trust and open on the third
Sunday of the month (except December). Informative house tours occur at 11am and
2.45pm and weather permitting, exterior tours at 1 pm. Refreshments in the
Servants Hall throughout the day. A special exhibition occurs from 3.30pm
featuring women's clothing from the 1880s. Adults $8, Concession $5.50, Families $20. More information at
10.30am to 4.30pm, 3rd Sunday of month (except Dec)
2 Manor Grove
Enquiries: (03) 9527 6295
Melbourne Fire Services Museum
National Gallery of Victoria - Australian Collection
National Gallery of Victoria - International Collection
One of Australia's finest Victorian era buildings. It is open to teh public
on Wednesdays and Sundays and features fine displays related to Melbourne
history. More info >>
10am to 4pm, Sunday to Friday
Cnr Spring St & Collins St
Enquiries: (03) 9651 2233
Portable Iron Houses
A unique set of portable corrugated iron houses exported from England to Australia during the Gold Rush period to provide housing for the great influx of migrants at that time. These are some of the few 19th Century prefabricated iron buildings remaining in the world and are open to the public once a month. A small admission charge applies.
1pm to 4pm, first Sunday of month (except Jan)
399 Coventry Street
Enquiries: (03) 9699 2172
The Hotel Windsor
Afternoon Tea at The Windsor For as long as most people can remember, afternoon tea at The Hotel
Windsor has been a Melbourne institution. A full leisurely afternoon tea
served in the luxurious surrounds of Melbourne's of Melbourne grand old
historic hotel really calls for a lady to wear a hat and gloves. If you
don't have a hat and gloves and the gentleman doesn't have a cane then
White Hat urges you to at least carry yourself with a dignified air.
A stately mansion in Kew open to the public on the first Sunday of the month. Villa Alba was built between 1882 and 1884 and is notable for its painted decorations. It is being restored as a museum and educational facility for the collection, study and display of interior decorations and decorative finishes. More
1pm to 4pm, 1st Sunday of month
Enquiries: (03) 9944 8722
The remains of a historic German settlement in the northern suburbs of
Melbourne. The farmhouse is open to the public once a month and a small entry fee applies but it is possible
to wander around the exterior of the buildings at any time. More information at
1am to 4pm, 2nd Sunday of the month
100 Gardenia Road
Enquiries: (03) 9464 1805
Williamstown Historical Society Museum
Covering maritime history, model ships, furniture, costumes and general exhibits relating to life in Williamstown.
White Hat works hard
to make information on these pages current and correct. However with
many thousands of entries, much of it changing daily, errors may occur.
Always verify the information by using the phone numbers supplied with
each event or venue before making a special trip or using this
information for any other purpose. If you believe some information is
incorrect, please contact us at
and we will attempt to verify or change the information
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to the accuracy of this information and takes no responsibility for
incorrect or incomplete information
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Page last updated:
14 May, 2013
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