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Melbourne Central and Myer

15034 Views 33 Replies 14 Participants Last post by  Kycon
Hi, being new here I thought I'd post some images and start a discussion about the history of the four Melbourne city blocks which consist of Melbourne Central and Myer (and part of David Jones as well).

There aren't many photos or even information out there about the interesting history of this area of Melbourne, so if anyone can contribute, please do.

To kick things off, here is a shot taken from I think the Lonsdale St telephone exchange back in the 70s (I think), looking towards Myer and contains the multi-level carpark which used to be situated where the Lonsdale St entrance of Melbourne Central now sits.

This one's taken some time in the mid-1990s and I'm sure this is somewhere close to the LaTrobe St entrance. It's a scale model of the entire complex, possibly used by architects in the 80s prior to its construction. I have no idea where the model went, where it currently resides or whether it still even exists.

This one's not too interesting, but it is mid-90s.

I'll have to look further, but it would be good to see some of the Myer store in the 80s and 90s and Melbourne Central in its construction and in its Daimaru days.

Can anyone help out with input (images and info) on these topics and others such as...

- Myer's roof-top mini amusement park they held back in the 80s
- Myer's now-closed-to-public level 6 toy department
- The use of Melbourne Central's Shot Tower area for the 1997 film Mr. Nice Guy
- The Shot Tower before Melbourne Central
- etc etc


Thanks in advance. I wish I had more photos, and I may, but I have to keep an eye out as I sort out my collection.
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I had no idea that 250 Elizabeth Street was originally built as Myer's administrative offices. Spose it makes sense being next to the store.
I love models. I also have some scanned advertisements for Melbourne Central from the late 1980's which I can post for you.
I love models. I also have some scanned advertisements for Melbourne Central from the late 1980's which I can post for you.
There must be someone who can shed some light on the fate of that model. Those advertisements would be a welcome addition to the thread.
Here they are:

The complex was to be called Victoria Plaza. This article focuses on the shift in retailing in the Melbourne CBD

The Weekend Australian, May 30 1987

Advert from 1988.

They market themselves as the first development to take advantage of the underground rail loop.

The Australian Financial Review, (Date Unknown)

Another report indicating the effect on retailing.

The Weekend Australian, May 26 1990
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Nice scans there, Fabian.

Looks like they originally planned for glass elevators in the main atrium, but then ended up opting for escalators instead. Two semi-transparent elevators did get installed in the Lonsdale St entrance and operated for years until the renovation started around 2003.
Melbourne Central
Block of Swanston, Latrobe, Elizabeth and Lt Lonsdale Streets.
Kisho Kurokawa, Bates, Smart & McCutcheon, Hassel Pty. Ltd
Recent Renovations by ARM

The office tower follows the concept of skyscraper design as a "Crystal Cut" volume. Within the smooth shape, the facades are a composition of heterogeneous materials, such as stone, aluminum panel, reflective glass and tinted glass. At the top of the tower, high-technology communication equipment is visible. The lower part of the building is more traditional in design. The facade represents a transition, from the solid city building at the base, which slowly evaporates towards the sky. The basic concept of Melbourne Central consists of the four following targets:

• The Symbiosis of History and the Present.
The existing shot tower located on the redevelopment site is not necessarily important from the architectural point of view. It is, however, an important landmark with which the citizens of Melbourne are familiar. This historical testimony is enclosed in the conic glass atrium. It is important to preserve historical buildings while making the most of them in the present town.

• The Crystal Cut Office Tower.
The form of the high-rise crystal cut office tower has the same concept with the Central Plaza in Brisbane. The mullion pattern on the facade is introduced to avoid the uniformity.

•Abstraction or Pure Geometry.
One of the methods to create multivalent and ambivalent architecture is to quote fragments of historical symbols. The other method is to quote abstract forms, which are the achievements of modern architecture and modern art. Abstraction can be freely interpreted, to produce multivalent meaning. In this project, various abstract forms are quoted, such as rectangle, cone, inverted-cone (concave conically-shaped cut-out in the facade), and sphere (dome).

•The Symbiosis of Various Functions.
The contemporary city has lost vitality, which was produced by overlaying and compounding various functions. Melbourne Central is aiming at the complex that vitalizes a city.

Melbourne Central has recently undergone major renovations at the podium level, with the number of shops increasing, the opening up and inclusion of laneways, more light penetration, the introduction of a cinema complex and the removal of a department store.

The future site of Melbourne Central, August 1961, before demolition to make way for Melbourne’s underground rail loop.

The old Museum Station (Swanston Street end), before its name change and demolition to make way for Melbourne Central.

A postcard highlighting the original Melbourne Central.

The way it used to be inside the cone.
I wonder what happened to the props (biplane and balloon)?

The dome, the cone and the crystal.
The dome is now gone. :cry:

Melbourne Central has since undergone some major renovations at ground level, gone is the purity of Kurokowa’s modern design to be replaced by ARMs more eclectic pop bent.
Below are recent photographs I’ve taken of Melbourne Central’s new look.

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Text from Walking Melbourne
The National Trust guide to the historic and architectural landmarks of central Melbourne

Coop’s Shot Tower
Inside Melbourne Central, La Trobe Street, between Swanston and Elizabeth Streets.

In a rather bizarre heritage compromise, this fascinating example of industrial history is now enclosed within a modern shopping centre. Walter Coop’s Shot Tower and Factory were erected in 1890; the central 50 metre high castellated tower that remains was used in the production of shotgun pellets, called ‘shot’. Molten metal was poured into spherical pellets which cooled in water at the bottom, where shoppers now dine in air-conditioned comfort.

Below, two shots of my own.

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Text from Melbourne Architecture

Myer Emporium
314-336 Bourke Street
1933 HW and FB Tompkins
Napier Waller (Mural Hall)

The Myer Emporium is the vertical Streamlined Moderne member of the seriers of Myer buildings that lie between Bourke and Lonsdale Streets. Sidney Myer replaced his 1913 store with this one in 1931, during the Depression, a brave move achieved only through 24-hour shifts that enabled the store to open for Christmas in 1933. The building is externally relatively undistinguished, apart from its clock, repetitive façade and parapet of fins. Its most striking feature is inside. The Myer Mural Hall features the work of artist Napier Waller, who had lost his right arm during World War 1, then learnt to paint with his left arm and went on to become Melbourne’s major mural artist. His Myer murals depict women in all manner of fields; women’s fashion throughout history; and sea and land transport vehicles throughout history.

Below, a painting of the Myer building ~ 1930s.

Next seven down, Myer today, starting off with the Bourke Street façade.

The footbridge in Little Bourke Street that connects the Bourke Street building with the Lonsdale Street building.

Lonsdale Street façade.
Notice the ‘S’ in MYER’S has been filled in for the recent name change to MYER.

The Napier Waller Myer Mural Hall as it is today and below during a fashion show in the 1960s.

Above, the department store that Myer took over and later demolished.
Below, The group of stores that Myer occupied on Lonsdale Street, later demolished for its Lonsdale Street building.

The first Myer’s store in Australia seen below in a Bendigo postcard (middle right).

Below, ~ 1930s, the scene on the pavement in front of Myer’s (Bourke Street) during a sale.

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Myer all decked out for the Olympic Games in 1956.

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A couple of shots I have of Melbourne Central (Retail complex)

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Nice collection of photos there.

The Collector, I think I remember seeing some of those photos on your site a while back. Thanks for posting.

I found a few more of my own...

These two were taken using an FD Sony Mavica in late 2002. They mainly show the Melbourne Central complex, but the second shows the 4 blocks which relate to this thread (the Bourke St Myer front is blocked by the Commonwealth Bank Tower).

These two are on 30 December, 2003, looking up the side of the Melbourne Central Office Tower.

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Sorry, for some reason, a double post occurred.
More of Melbourne Central.

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Does anybody have any pictures of the butterfly house that used to rise about 4 stories in a void in the Lonsdale St Building? It was removed in about 2000, prior to the big renovations.

Another cool feature was the glass bridge over another void in the Daimaru store, it looked down 6th floors and I remember fearfully running across it as a kid.

In some ways, while the redevelopments have/are improving the centre's relationship with the surrounding neighbourhood, it has ruined the majestic nature of the interiors.

I hate that they added a floor at the bottom of the Cone Atrium next to the shot tower, its far less impressive and the Clock is now only a floor above.

The exterior needs a massive refit, especially the La Trobe St facade. I'd like them to rebuild the facade on the Swanston St/La Trobe St intersection - it already looks shit and dated.
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Here's one posted by mic.

mic said:
Photos From


The Old Melbourne Central

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Picture Sourced from the State Library of Victoria

September 1992

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I had no idea that 250 Elizabeth Street was originally built as Myer's administrative offices. Spose it makes sense being next to the store.
Looked much better back then too!

Thanks for the thread Discombobulator.
I pulled the Mr. Nice Guy DVD and captured a few frames from the Melbourne Central scenes. The movie, starring Jackie Chan, was filmed mostly in Melbourne in mid-1996.

Here they are...

(the rest are thumbnailed)

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It's actually a Hong Kong film, but this I recall has been screened on Pay TV here in Australia on the Movie Network along with other films involving chan here in Australia.
Melbourne Central appeared more glitzy back then as opposed to now.
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