Howdy all! Time to take a wander around Melbourne. Right in the middle of town actually, to one of the most impressive historical buildings in the whole city. Victoria’s State Library is a special place to Melbourne. It stands opposite the Melbourne Central Shopping Centre (mall) on the corner of Swanston street and La Trobe street. And a little while ago I visited it, and Melbourne Central, and also I went to the Fitzroy Gardens where I saw something you might not expect to see in Australia – a mini Tudor village!
So why did I go to these three places? Well, to shoot some more of ‘Melbourne Revealed’, and so I could reveal these places to you 😊 So please do look out for the videos they will be along in September or early October I think.
The Victorian State Library is a rather beautiful building, dating back to 1854 so that makes it over 170 years old, and in Melbourne and even Australia, buildings of this age aren’t so common, especially outside Hobart and Sydney. It has a ‘dome’, which is the most famous part about it, but it’s also a very popular meeting spot for people. If you’re doing something in the city and you need to meet your friends, well often you choose the lawn outside the library. It’s possibly the second most popular meeting spot in Melbourne after Flinders Street Station and maybe Federation Square – which is opposite Flinders Street Station so basically the same place.
So firstly some basic facts about the State Library. Its construction began in 1854 and it was completed in 1956. It was designed by Joseph Reed. It’s Australia’s oldest library, one of the oldest free libraries in the world and is the fourth most visited library in the entire world. Which I’ve got to sat was a surprise to find out. Over the year it’s been built on to and extended and it really is a big and impressive building. And it is free to visit. The only thing really I had to do was check in with the QR code to enable myself to enter the building.
There are a number of memorable rooms, but the two that left the biggest impression on me were the Redmond Barry Reading Room (1856) and the La Trobe Reading Room – also known as the ‘Dome’ (1913). I entered from the main Swanston street entrance. There are columns out the front and a little security waiting as you check in. I walked between a stair case on either side with attractive stained glass windows decorating them and into a modern reading room. Through there and into another space.
Upstairs was a little art gallery with some interesting portraits (mostly) and Ned Kelly armour on display. At the back – or at least so it seemed – was the Redmond Barry Reading room. There was a balcony circling it as people read and studied. A few visitors such as myself were there though taking photos. You feel a bit bad as a library isn’t built for tourists. I tried to be as inconspicuous as possible. But you feel like you’re intruding.
The Dome was, I think, above the reading room I had first passed through. Beautiful and very impressive room, having lived in Melbourne all my life I was almost surprised to find such a place which wouldn’t have been out of place in some of the cities in Europe.
So that was the library. A beautiful place indeed in the centre of Melbourne. Across the road Melbourne Central, and it’s beautiful shot tower, the reason to have a look inside from a touristic point of view. The shot tower lives in an open area under a glass roof which is conelike designed especially to cover the shot tower. It’s also known as the ‘Coop’s Shot Tower’, is 50 metres high and was built in 1889. Melbourne Central is a large shopping centre with a few food courts and lots of designer shops for those looking for some fashion shopping in Melbourne. The Melbourne Central train station takes its name from the shopping centre and is directly below the shopping centre.
After lunch at Melbourne Central, it was a short drive to the Fitzroy Gardens which are in a different part of town, closer to the Victorian Parliament Building – well, sort of a block and a half behind it (Treasury Gardens backs onto the Parliament). Here I saw this strange thing I had never heard of before. I was looking for something to see and put in my vlogs, and this came up as a Google suggestion.
Basically, in the gardens, opposite a ‘fairy tree’ (a tree decorated with fairies), surrounded by a short fence is a little mini-village filled with Tudor buildings. What is it doing in Melbourne? Well, it turns out that Melbourne sent food to Lambeth, UK during the Second World War and a pensioner from there, who modelled these villages, sent one to Melbourne as a ‘thankyou’. It was officially ‘opened’ in 1948. It’s kind of cute and interesting enough, but won’t take more than 20 minutes of your day and that’s being generous. The gardens are large and quite beautiful, and the weather was pretty good on the day I went.
So there, three interesting spots in Melbourne for you. Thanks for stopping by! Keep an eye out a in a bit for a couple vlogs featuring these places – oh and see one of Melbourne’s famous ‘hook turns’ in action! Thanks again – May the Journey Never End!