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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
The Little Streets, Marvellous Melbourne

Part 1

The Little Streets of Melbourne nearly all run east from Spring Street all the way west to Spencer Street.
Their size and execution was a compromise between Sir Richard Bourke (Governor of NSW) who suggested them and Robert Hoddle who did not want them but included them when he got the width he wanted with the main streets.

Hoddle once quoted:

When I marked out Melbourne in 1837, I proposed that all the streets should be ninety-nine feet wide. Sir Richard Bourke suggested the lanes as mews or approaches to the stablings and out-buildings of the main streets of buildings. I staked the main streets ninety-nine feet wide, and after having done so, was ordered by the Governor to make them sixty-six feet wide; but upon my urging the Governor, and convincing him that wide streets were advantageous on the score of health, and convenience to the future city of Victoria, he consented to let me have my will. I therefore gave up my objection to the narrow lanes thirty-three feet wide.

Throughout most of Melbourne’s history the Little Streets were judged unfavourably.
Robert Hoddle opposed them from the outset and Robert Russell the other architect of Melbourne’s grid claimed that if he had his way, he would have no Little Streets at all!

The curse of the narrow streets was blamed for the endangering of public health through the overcrowding of thirty buildings on blocks intended for only one or two, and the ability of riff-raff to carry out deviant behaviour and make quick getaways in the labyrinth of dark lanes that developed off them. Little Bourke and Little Lonsdale were notorious for this.

Nowadays most people think it’s the more human scale of the Little Streets and the laneways that are connected to them, that give such a great vibe and café culture ambience to the city of Melbourne.

I am very glad they were introduced. :)

Flinders Lane



Sketch of Little Flinders Street in the 1880s.

Flinders Lane was for a very long time the center of Melbourne’s rag trade.
Its importance was also great due to its close proximity to the Yarra River.
It is full of substantial buildings, and for a while it was as important as the major main streets.

Flinders Lane was the alternative name for Little Flinders Street until 1948 when it became the official name.

From east-end to west-end























IT'S barely a metre tall, and most of the time hides behind a wheelie bin in a narrow Melbourne laneway — a faceless grey figure in an old-fashioned diving mask and duffel coat.
One of Melbourne's few remaining pieces of very valuable stencil art by the elusive British graffiti artist Banksy.
Banksy's diver adorns the rear of the Nicholas Building on the corner of Swanston Street and Flinders Lane. The 10-storey building, built in 1926, was placed on the State Heritage Register last October, although the listing owed more to its architectural features such as the ground-floor Cathedral Arcade than the Banksy artwork.
The City of Melbourne has now moved to further protect the Banksy diver, holding discussions yesterday with the manager of the Nicholas Building to find "appropriate methods to protect the stencil by Banksy".






Inside the Journal, one of my favourite hangouts, great coffee and reading material, how can you go wrong.



 

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
Part 2

Little Collins Street

Little Collins Street has some great little boutique clothing shops and between Queen and William Streets was for many years known as Chancery Lane.

From east-end to west-end

































Below, postcards of Little Collins Street from the 1950s, and after, a photograph from 1949.





 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Part 3

Little Bourke Street

Chinatown in Little Bourke Street stretches east from Exhibition Street and west all the way up to Swanston Street.

Little Bourke Street between Spring and Exhibition Streets was known as Gordon Place, between Swanston and Elizabeth Streets known as Post Office Street then Post Office Place, and west from Queen Street to William Street as Law Courts Place.

The name changes took place because Little Bourke Street was known as a place of meeting or residence of the lowest class of criminals and prostitutes, and other reputable (supposedly) residents of the street did not want to be associated with them.

From east-end to west-end















Brother Baba Budan, always a great place for a coffee.





Below, the scene behind the Chief Telegraph Office in Little Bourke Street ~ 1910s.
It seems that infrastructure of one type or another has been spanning this section of Little Bourke Street for awhile.

 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Part 4

Little Lonsdale Street

The east-end of Little Lonsdale Street, Little Lon as it was known throughout most of its history and once some would say, was the epicentre of debauchery, prostitution, elicit drug taking, crime and overcrowding in the city .
The portion of little Lonsdale Street between Swanston and Elizabeth Streets was known as Lonsdale Place, and between Queen and William Streets was once known as Mint Place.
Few property owners wanted to be known as living or working in Little Lonsdale Street.

From east-end to west-end



Next two down, part of the QV complex.





The bubble bridge at Melbourne Central spans Little Lonsdale Street.







All the little street name variants were officially discontinued from 1 July 1964 by the Melbourne City Council.
 

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The little streets that make up the city grid are heavily promoted in tourist guides, even at this time of year.

There's always something new to be found. :)

It's common to see streets such as Little Collins St packed with people at lunchtime and more than happy to walk on the street.

I always think that it is better to close off Little Bourke St in Chinatown and turn into a mall along the lines of Dixon St in Sydney's Haymarket District. It would make the area more inviting and encourage chinese restaurants to open.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
A few old black & white photographs of Flinders Lane.





It is an absolute crime that the Australian Building which stood on the north-west corner of Elizabeth Street and Flinders Lane was demolished.



Below we see The Harp of Erin Hotel at the north-east corner of Queen and Little Bourke Streets and The New Excelsior Hotel at the south-east corner.
Notice the lamps above the entrances of the hotels that were compulsory back in the dimly lit streets of that era.

 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
Text from Walking Melbourne
The National Trust guide to the historic and architectural landmarks of central Melbourne

Milton House
21-25 Flinders Lane

Constructed in 1901 for the eminent surgeon William Moore, and an early purpose-built private hospital, the plain almost Georgian red brick façade is enlivened by some of Melbourne’s most delightful and earliest examples of Art Nouveau decoration. The architects were Sydney Smith & Ogg, but famed architect Robert Haddon most probably provided design details, especially elements such as the sinuous entry arch and iron work, tulip motif terra cotta panels and the extraordinary lead-lighting, all indicative of his work.

Two photographs of my own.



 

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Noice!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
Text from Walking Melbourne
The National Trust guide to the historic and architectural landmarks of central Melbourne

Majorca Building
258-260 Flinders Lane

This building derives its name from the Mediterranean island that also inspired the broadly Spanish styling, the deep sea blue, and the shell motifs in the ‘faience’ (a type of tile) façade. Designed by architect Harry Norris, it was completed in 1930 as offices and showrooms, with multiple retail outlets along Centre Place, now one of Melbourne’s most vibrant lanes.

The Majorca Building has recently undergone a conversion to apartments above the ground level retail outlets.

Five of my own photographs.







The shops at ground level in Centre Place.



 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
From Walking Melbourne, The National Trust Guide to The Historic and Architectural Landmarks of Central Melbourne.

Former Harbour Trust (Now Port Authority) Building
Corner Flinders Lane and Market Street

The classical proportions, the tall Ionic colonnade on all four elevations (a result of a rare island site), and the richly detailed interiors, make this one of the most important interwar office blocks in Melbourne, and display the importance and wealth (or extravagance!) of the Harbour Commissioners.
Designed by Sydney Smith Ogg & Serpell, it was completed in 1929 and was awarded the Royal Victorian Institute of Architects’ Street Architecture Medal in 1933.

The original Harbor Trust building from a photo taken in 1882, sited at the corner of William Street and Flinders Lane



A Harold Freedman lithograph from 1962-63 showing the Port Authority Building with Mobilgas advertisement on the roof.



Another old photograph from 1959 and one of my own after that showing the new conversion to apartments.



 

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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
The Victoria Hotel (former Victoria Coffee Palace)
215 Little Collins Street

The Victoria Hotel is one of Melbourne's original hotels, established 125 years ago, opening its doors for business on 1 November, 1880, just 45 years after Melbourne was established in 1835.

The Victoria Hotel was originally known as the Victoria Coffee Palace, founded by a Temperance League as an alternative to the rowdy, bawdy pub accommodation on offer during the late 19th century.

The original lobby is still in use today, minus the skylight dome, removed during WWII to blackout the hotel as a security precaution.

At one stage, The Vic, as it became known, was advertised as the largest hotel in the Commonwealth. Today it remains the largest three star hotel in Australia.

Known as a luxury hotel in the 20's and 30's, The Vic prided itself on its guest service, including porters being sent to meet guests arriving at Port Melbourne Docks and Spencer Street Train Station.

A Coffee Palace differed from the regular hotels in Melbourne in another important way - it was a dry hotel - no alcohol! Instead, patrons imbibed Beef Tea, mineral waters and, of course, coffee. Fortunately, things have changed and guests can now enjoy a drink in Vic's Bar.

The Victoria Hotel was the first in Melbourne to offer electric lights in its rooms.

The founder of the hotel was the Honourable James Munro, a former premier of Victoria.

During W.W.II the American Army occupied a large section of the hotel for many months

The 1956 Olympics in Melbourne saw The Victoria Hotel feature as the main meeting place for the IOC, many of its functions and banquets being held here.

Below, in the postcard and photograph, The Victoria Coffee Palace with its incredible elegant verandahs on Collins Street, was established in leased premises, known as “Clyde House” taken over from The Victoria Club, which was in liquidation after having been one of the earliest institutions in Melbourne. In 1924 the lease of the Collins Street premises expired and the building was vacated and later demolished to make way for an expanded Melbourne Town Hall.





In 1911 the new building on Little Collins Street was completed, one can see the Little Collins Street building in the two old postcards below and after that, one of my own photographs.





 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
CH2 (Council House 2)
Little Collins Street
2006 DesignInc

CH2 is a visionary new building with the potential to change forever the way Australia – indeed the world – approaches ecologically sustainable design.

On Friday, 1 April 2005, the Green Building Council of Australia awarded CH2 six Green Stars, which represents world leadership in office building design.

The CH2 project is the first in Australia to achieve the six Green Star certified rating, where the minimum rating is one star and maximum is six. This achievement is also significant as the design for the project started prior to the launch of the Green Star Rating System and Green Star – Office Design.

The Green Star rating system separately evaluates the environmental design and performance of Australian buildings based on a number of criteria, including energy and water efficiency, quality of indoor environments and resource conservation.

CH2 has sustainable technologies incorporated into every conceivable part of its 10 storeys. A water-mining plant in the basement, phase-change materials for cooling, automatic night-purge windows, wavy concrete ceilings, a façade of louvres (powered by photovoltaic cells) that track the sun – even the pot plant holders have involved a whole new way of thinking.

Although most of the principles adopted in the building are not new – using thermal mass for cooling, using plants to filter the light – never before in Australia have they been used in such a comprehensive, interrelated fashion in an office building.

CH2 will add enormous vibrancy to Little Collins Street, with new shops, cafes and pedestrian connections. As it does so, it will strive for a new standard in how buildings can deliver financial, social and environmental rewards.

Several of my own photographs below.









The website:
http://www.melbourne.vic.gov.au/info.cfm?top=171&pg=1933
 
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