For one weekend every year buildings around Melbourne opens their doors and lets the public in to have a bit of a snoop around.
Open House Melbourne puts a spotlight on the buildings and places that make our city so unique and special. All kinds of buildings are available to explore, from Circus Oz headquarters out in Collingwood, Parliament, WW2 Royal Melbourne Hospital Tunnels to the St Kilda Library and Myer Mural Hall.
For my #CurioCity experience I went underground to explore the Old Treasury vaults and learn a little more about the blingin’ foundation of Melbourne – gold. The Treasury’s Gold Rush exhibition ‘Built On Gold’ is dotted throughout the vaults that were used to store Victoria’s gold during the Gold Rush.
The past truly comes alive with displays in each vault about living, working and highway robbing in late 1800s Victoria.
My favourite display was ‘The Melbourne Panorama’, comparing a 2012 picture of high-rise Melbourne with a 1862 panorama of Melbourne as a newly built gold rush city. Fitzroy (Melbourne’s first suburb), the Princess Theatre, Melbourne Gaol and many other iconic buildings are barely recognisable in their original forms.
Not only gold called the vaults home. The original caretaker of the Treasury living in the vaults with his family. Their rooms and stories have been recreated from family records and recollections.
Above ground the #CurioCity banner infront of the German Lutheran Church caught my eye next. Another product of the Gold Rush era it was built in 1874.
My highlight was the two tiny old ladies in the Church hall selling handmade quilts and embroidery chatting away in German.
Continuing on the religious theme St Patrick’s Cathedral was across the road. I’ve walked past it countless times but having never been inside this was the perfect excuse to have a quick explore.
The cathedral organist was on hand to play and patiently answered the millions of questions of visitors.
If you missed Open House this year my advice for next is to plan your visit early. Their website is excellent and features itineraries including “Queues Expected”, “No Queues Expected”, which venues are accessible and good for kids. Access to some venues is released by ballot weeks before and be prepared to wait in line to get into places like The Hotel Windsor.
Even if you only have time to peep into the odd building or two Open House is a perfect excuse to be a little bit nosy and see Melbourne behind closed doors.
Get out of the house
Open House Melbourne