Melbourne is one of the best preserved neo-gothic cities in the world.
The rectangular grid of the CBD together with the wide streets, the trams
and mainly European trees create a dignified formal streetscape that the
locals take for granted.
Melbourne's first years as a European settlement were not salubrious. It
was a remote township, a long way from England and even from established
towns in Australia. We had the good fortune to have the government surveyor,
Robert Hoddle, lay out a generous grid for the town - one mile by half a
mile with streets 99 feet wide. Much of that land was unused in the first 15
years of Melbourne's existence. Various small functional buildings grew up,
but few had architectural pretension.
Then came gold in 1851! The colony was transformed, and over the next 30
years nearly all pre-Gold Rush buildings were replaced with more
Today there are few pre-Gold Rush buildings remaining in the centre of
Melbourne. They include St. James Old Cathedral and Mayor John Smith's
With the Gold Rush came wealth and a building boom, and as always, having
great wealth does not always mean having great taste. Some of the buildings
of that period were the kitsch of the time and the over-ornamented
ostentatious style is often referred to as the 'boom style' (referring to
the land boom).
The most concentrated collection of major buildings from this period can
be found in Collins Street.
Some Significant Melbourne Buildings
White Hat's comprehensive list of buildings in Melbourne CBD (known to the locals as Hoddle's Grid).
Monument to Sydney-Melbourne Rivalry
- Two Yarra Bookends
- An Antarctic Monument
- Troubles on the other side of the world
- A Plaque but no Statue
- Two Pillars of
- Two Horse
Bendigo Street Richmond
Historic Buildings (since demolished)