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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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Visit a historic house. Como, Rippon Lea, Black Rock House, La Trobe's Cottage and the Mansion at Werribee are open most Sundays. Villa Alba and the Portable Iron Houses in South Melbourne are open on the 1st Sunday of the month, Labassa is open on the 3rd Sunday of the month. More information at The White Hat Guide to Historic Houses in Melbourne.
  4. 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.

© Colonial Tramcar Restaurant

Colonial Tramcar Restaurant


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.
  1. Go shopping or just window shopping in Chapel Street and watch the other window shoppers.
  2. Go to the Camberwell Sunday Market. This is one of Melbourne's most bustling market where people from all over Melbourne come to sell their second hand clothes and fashions, household goods and all manner of surprising stuff. If you are looking for fresh produce there are always farmers' markets somewhere in Melbourne on a Sunday or the South Melbourne Market is always a good standby. You can find a comprehensive list of Sunday markets at The White Hat Guide to Sunday Markets in Melbourne and Victoria.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Take a Guided Tour of Melbourne Cemetery. There is more life in the cemetery than you might think and it is an ideal introduction to Melbourne's history.
  9. Have a backyard barbecue. If you are visiting Australia, mention in public that you have heard of the Aussie tradition of the BBQ. Chances are that a local will invite you to one at their place.
  10. Spend a lazy afternoon in the sun at a rooftop bar such as the one on top of Curtin House.
  11. Go to a church service. You don't have to be Christian. You can just sit at the back and listen to the organ and the choir and the liturgy and see some of Melbourne's most iconic buildings doing what they were designed to do. Some notable churches in the city area are St Paul's Cathedral, St Patrick's Cathedral, Scots Church, Wesley Church, Collins Street Baptist Church and St Michael's Church.
  12. Go for a day trip. Some of the more popular day trips around Melbourne include sightseeing in the Dandenongs, Visiting wineries in the Yarra Valley or Mornington Peninsula, or a visit to the Macedon Ranges and spa country - maybe you could even have a picnic at Hanging Rock.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. Take a tour of Flinders Street Station. There are regular Sunday tours of this Melbourne icon. Details at Tour of Flinders St Station Tour.
  16. And finally, if it's raining then you could have a look at The White Hat Guide to 50 Things to do on a Rainy Day in Melbourne.

Choose a particular Sunday

Some forthcoming events on a Sunday in Melbourne

Anything Goes

Opera Australia and John Frost present Cole Porter's smash-hit musical comedy, Anything Goes. Winner of three Tony Awards, including Best Musical Revival and Choreography during its most recent Broadway revival, Anything Goes is a stunning nautical favourite. Now a brand new Australian production sets sail for Melbourne.

When the ocean liner embarks from New York to London, etiquette and convention get tossed out the portholes as two unlikely pairs set off on the course to true love... proving that sometimes destiny needs a little help from a crew of singing sailors, an exotic disguise and some good old-fashioned blackmail.

Reno Sweeney - Caroline O'Connor, Lord Evelyn Oakleigh - Todd McKenney, Moonface Martin = Wayne Scott Kermond, Billy Crocker - Alex Rathgeber, Hope Harcourt - Claire Lyon, Evangeline Harcourt - Carmen Duncan, Erma - Debora Krizak, Captain - Alan Jones

Tue to Sun, 30th May to 19th July 2015

Princess Theatre -

Purchase tickets from Opera Australia
  White Hat  

The Piers Festival

The Piers Festival is a celebration of cultural diversity that reflects the rich history of Melbourne's ports precinct. From the goldrush to wartime, from post-war migration to cruise shipping, Station & Princes Piers have played a pivotal role in Victoria's growth and offered a gateway to the diversity of cultures that enrich our community.

  • 2 - 5pm: SONGS & STORIES STAGE Hosted by Vasili (from Vasili's Garden)
noon to 9.30pm, Sunday 24th January 2016 (tbc)

Princes Pier & Station Pier -

  White Hat  

Gypsy Jazz on the Village Green

Come and jam to the music of Django Reinhart, or just have a listen. If you would like to come along and jam, contact Misja on carbowalker@optusnet.com.au

From 1pm, Sundays

CERES Community Environment Park -

  White Hat  

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 -

Free entry Enquiries: (03) 9013 1715
  White Hat  

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.

First Sunday of month (exc. Jan)

Collingwood Children's Farm -

Standard entry fees apply Enquiries: (03) 9417 5806
  White Hat  

Open House Melbourne

An annual event where many of Melbourne's heritage buildings are thrown open to the public. You can find details at Open House Melbourne.

25th & 26th July 2015

Various buildings in central and inner Melbourne -

Free entry at most venues
  White Hat  

Family Bike Rides

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 Centre.
  • Melton:- Every 3rd Sunday of each month leaving Hannah Watts Park
8am to 9am


Enquiries: 0438836336
  White Hat  

Sydney Road Street Party

An annual event with stalls, entertainment and refreshments.

noon to 7pm, 6th March 2015

between Union & Victoria streets, Sydney Road, Brunswick -

Enquiries: (03) 9388 1460
  White Hat  

Open Day - Plant Craft Cottage

Open day in this historic cottage in the Botanic Gardens.

3rd Sunday of the month


Enquiries: (03) 9252 2429
  White Hat  

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
  White Hat  

Selected attractions open on certain Sundays in Melbourne

Melbourne Steam Traction Engine Club

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 Club.
11am-4pm Saturdays & Sundays


National Steam Centre, 1200 Ferntree Gully Rd., -
(Mel ref 72 D9) Enquiries: (03) 9763 1614

Mooroolbark & District Miniature Railway & Steam Club

Public run days once a month where a small charge applies. Children should be in the charge of an adult and enclosed footwear is required. Picnic and BBQ facilities are available. More information at the Mooroolbark & District Miniature Railway & Steam Club website.
11am-4pm, 4th Sun of month (except Dec)


Kiloran Reserve, Hawthory Road, -
(Mel ref 51 F2) Enquiries: (03) 9723 1025

Australian National Aviation Museum

A collection of aeroplanes and displays relating to Australia's aviation history. The museum is at Moorabbin Airport. more info > >



Black Rock House

This historic mansion, after which the suburb of Black Rock is named, is open to the public on Sunday afternoons. More info >>
2 to 4pm, Sundays Feb to 2nd Sun in Dec (except. Easter Sun)


34 Ebden Avenue - Black Rock
Enquiries: (03) 9589 4912

Bundoora Homestead

Bundoora Homestead is a wonderful Queen Anne style Federation mansion operating as a historic house, art gallery and licensed café. Free admission.More info >>
11am to 4pm Wed to Sun, noon to 5pm Sat & Sun


7-27 Snake Gully Drive - Bundoora
Enquiries: (03) 9496 1060

Grainger Museum

Built by arguably Australia's finest musician, Percy Grainger, to house his collection of music-related instruments, scores and other items associated with his life and career. more info > >



Heide Museum of Modern Art

10am-5pm Tue-Fri, noon-5pm Sat/Sun /Public Holidays


7 Templestowe Road, Bulleen, -
Enquiries: (03) 9850 1500

Ian Potter Museum of Art

The Ian Potter Museum of Art at Melbourne University is a short tram ride from the city and a short walk from Lygon Street Carlton. Entry is free but from time to time there are special exhibitions in part of the gallery which may entail an entry charge. Exhibited works are chosen from teh art clocction of the Unversity of Melbourne - the largest university art collection in Australia. More info >>

Tuesday to Sunday 10am to 5pm; Thursday 10am to 9pm


Swanston Street (near corner of Elgin Streets and Swanston Street) - Parkville
Enquiries: (03) 8344 5148

Jewish Museum of Australia

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 - South Yarra
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 Labassa.
10.30am to 4.30pm, 3rd Sunday of month (except Dec)


2 Manor Grove - Caulfield
Enquiries: (03) 9527 6295

Melbourne Fire Services Museum



National Gallery of Victoria - Australian Collection



National Gallery of Victoria - International Collection

Melbourne's premier gallery of international art. More information at NGV - International Collection.



Old Treasury Building

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 - Melbourne
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 - South Melbourne
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.



Villa Alba

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 info >>
1pm to 4pm, 1st Sunday of month


Walmer Street - Kew
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 Westgarthtown.
1am to 4pm, 2nd Sunday of the month


100 Gardenia Road - Thomastown
Enquiries: (03) 9464 1805

Williamstown Historical Society Museum

Covering maritime history, model ships, furniture, costumes and general exhibits relating to life in Williamstown.
2-5pm, Sundays


Electra Street - Williamstown
(Mel ref 56 C9) Enquiries: (03) 9397 5423


You can find a comprehensive guide to markets around Australia at The White Hat Guide to Markets in Australia.