Queen Victoria Market
Bounded by Elizabeth, Victoria, Peel, Franklin, Queen and Therry Streets
The Lower Market
The Lower Market (bounded by Elizabeth, Victoria, Queen and Therry Streets) is the oldest part of the Market. It was originally set aside in 1857 for a fruit and vegetable market due to over-crowding and congestion at the Eastern Market but the location was unpopular and the market gardeners wouldn't use it. Instead, it was used as a livestock and hay market until it was permanently reserved as a Market in 1867.
The following year, a substantial brick building was erected on Elizabeth Street and this became a Wholesale Meat Market. However, the wholesale meat trade soon became dissatisfied with the site and relocated to the Metropolitan Meat Market building in Courtney Street, North Melbourne. The building was then turned over to a Retail Meat and Fish Market and slaughterhouse.
In 1878, the Market sheds G, H, I & J were built on the site and wholesaling and retailing of fruit and vegetables occurred for the first time. While H & I Sheds still stand, G Shed was removed to construct the current Meat Hall loading bay and a block of public toilets. The original J Shed burnt down and is now a public plaza. In 1880, the Elizabeth Street shops were constructed following the realignment of Elizabeth Street. This also allowed the Meat Hall to be extended, and the present facade to be constructed in 1884. The Dairy Produce Hall (also known as the Deli Hall) was the last of the buildings to be built on this part of the Market, and was constructed in 1929.
The Upper Market
The Upper Market (bounded by Queen, Victoria, Peel and Franklin Streets) was not originally reserved as a market but had a number of other uses including a school and drill hall. Its predominant use, however, was as Melbourne's first cemetery. Construction of A-F sheds began in 1877 at the northern-most edge of the Market. This site was chosen because it contained the school, drill hall and the least-used section of the cemetery.
By 1930, the remainder of the site had been built upon. Between 1903 and 1905 A-C Sheds were extended to Peel Street, while D-F Sheds were not extended until 1922. That same year, the Queen Street and Peel Street verandahs were also constructed. The roofing of the centreway occurred in 1927. In 1929-1930 the large K and L Sheds were constructed for growers.
In 1929-30, the City of Melbourne constructed 60 brick stores on the current car park to house the wholesale agents and merchants. However, allegations of corruption and racketeering and a Royal Commission in 1960 led to the decision to relocate the Wholesale Market to Footscray in 1969. A single row of the Agents stores along Franklin Street is all that remains of the Merchants section of the Market.
The Queen Victoria Market has changed over the years.
The sections M, N, O and the row of shops after that in the foreground of the above photograph have been demolished to make way for a car park.
Below, a Saturday morning scene on the Peel Street side of the market that you will not see anymore.
Two earlier shots.
Photographs I’ve taken over the last couple of years.
Above, in 1884, William Salway designed a striking new front for the Meat Market, featuring relief sculpture of some of the livestock featured as meat inside.
The next five are of the Night Market held every Wednesday night over Summer between 5:30pm and 10
The market website: