Part II of a series of photo-essays from Melbourne continues exploring the city’s historic architecture, with a focus on civic, utilitarian & religious structures. Keep an eye out for the January 2018 issue of Home Review for a feature on Melbourne’s street art.
Occupying a prominent corner in front of Melbourne’s Federation Square, St Paul’s Cathedral is amongst the most important architectural landmarks of the city. Built in stages from the mid nineteenth century onwards, it’s predominantly in the Gothic architectural style and features three prominent spires. The interiors were lavishly finished with imported marbles, patterned tiles, Venetian glass mosaics and colourful stained glass panels.
A couple of blocks away from St Paul’s Cathedral is the grand corner building of Melbourne’s General Post Office. Built over the course of the latter half of the nineteenth century, it features a mixture of elements from the classical, renaissance and even baroque styles.
It served its original postal functions till as late as 1992, after which it remained shut for over a decade. After a successful adaptive-reuse project, the GPO building reopened to the public in 2004 with a mixture of retail and dining establishments.
A significant typology of utilitarian structures in Australia is the gaol – corrective detention facilities for convicts and criminals, many of which were setup in penal colonies across the continent during the early years of British colonization. The Old Melbourne Gaol was operational between 1842 and 1929 CE. A few decades later it was enlisted as a protected monument, and then opened to the public as a Museum in the 1972.
The youngest of all structures in this series is the Shrine of Remembrance, built as a war memorial in 1934. Situated in the midst of parklands, it’s along the same axis as St Paul’s Cathedral and occupies a place of pride within the city’s urban fabric. Beneath its grand central sanctuary is a crypt that honours two generations of Australians who served in the two world wars.
Text And Photos By Kunal Bhatia And Shuvajit Payne