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Melbourne Attractions

Queen Victoria Market

The Queen Victoria Market is more than just Melbourne's shopping mecca - it is a historic landmark, a tourist attraction and an institution for Melburnians. For more than a century, this vast and vibrant centre of trade and commerce has served the consumer needs of more than 9.5 million shoppers each year.

The Queen Victoria Market is a major landmark in Melbourne and is the largest open air market in the Southern Hemisphere.It is named after Queen Victoria who ruled the United Kingdom from 1837 to 1901. Starting as a small market to the east of the city in 1857, it gradually expanded to space made available from the closure of a cemetery west of Queen Street and north of Franklin Street.

The market was originally wholesale and retail fruit and vegetable, but has been retail since the wholesale market in Footscray Road was opened in 1969. The Queen Victoria Market is the only surviving 19th century market in the Melbourne central business district.

Today the market is a tourist destination, offering fruit and vegetables, meat, poultry and seafood, gourmet and deli foods as well as specialty delicacies. It also has a large non-food related market selling a diverse range of things such as clothes, shoes, jewellery and handmade art and crafts.

The market is open every day except Mondays and Wednesdays. On Wednesday evenings in the summer months, there is a night market which offers dining, bars, live entertainment and a variety of other stalls.

Royal Exhibition Building & Gardens

The magnificent Royal Exhibition Building in Carlton Gardens was completed in 1880 for Melbourne’s first International Exhibition, a product of the optimism, enthusiasm and energy of the people of Melbourne in the late nineteenth century. Melbourne was a prosperous city basking in the wealth from the richest gold rush in the world… how better to publicise the achievements and opportunities in the (then) colony of Victoria than by hosting an international exhibition?

The second major event took place in 1888 when the Melbourne Centennial Exhibition was held to promote the centenary of European settlement in Australia. This exhibition was officially opened for six months and the attendance was just over two million, nearly double the population of Melbourne at the time. It still qualifies as the biggest event ever held in Melbourne, surpassing the 1956 Olympic Games.

Since then the building has hosted a wide variety of local, national and international events but the most important of these was the opening of the first Commonwealth Parliament of Australia on 9 May 1901, by the Duke of Cornwall and York, the heir to the throne. More than 10,000 guests were present, including politicians, naval and military officers, judges, consuls, mayors and clergy. The building was again the location for a special sitting of Parliament during the 2001 Centenary of Federation celebrations.

Today, the Royal Exhibition Building flourishes as one of the world's oldest exhibition pavilions, symbolising the great 19th century international exhibition movement, and on 1 July 2004 became the first building in Australia to achieve World Heritage listing.

With its meticulously restored opulent interior, expansive galleries and soaring dome, the Great Hall offers a magnificent setting for trade shows, fairs and cultural and community events.

Melbourne Museum

Completed in 2000, the modernist Melbourne Museum is the largest museum complex in the southern hemisphere. Located in the Carlton Gardens and spread over six huge levels, half of which are below ground level, the museum draws on the latest technology to give an insight into Australia’s flora, fauna and culture.

Highlights include the Science and Life Gallery, which explores areas such as digital technology, biodiversity and geology, and how they have changed our perceptions of the natural world; Bunjilaka, a living cultural centre for the Koori community of south-eastern Australia; and the Australia Gallery, focusing on the vibrant history of Melbourne and Victoria – from Australia’s iconic racehorse Phar Lap to the kitchen set from the Neighbours TV show. Also of interest is the Evolution Gallery, which features life-size dinosaur skeletons and looks at how life changes over time, the Children’s Museum, where the brightly coloured cube-shaped ‘Big Box’ provides a fun and stimulating environment for children from three to eight years old, and ICE, Australia’s only interactive arcade-like cinema game.

One of the museum’s most striking exhibits is the Forest Gallery, a living interpretation of Victoria’s tall temperate forests, which features around 80,00 plants from more than 120 different species. It’s also home to more than 20 different vertebrate species, including snakes, birds, fish, frogs and hundreds of different insects.

Adjoining the museum is IMAX Theatre, which boasts the world’s largest movie screen – two levels high and featuring state-of-the-art visual technology, along with surround sound. A variety of 2D and 3D films are projected here each day.

Old Melbourne Gaol

The Old Melbourne Gaol was established in 1841 and remains a fabulous insight into Melbourne's historical past. The gaol was the setting for 135 hangings, most famously that of Ned Kelly in 1880.

The Old Melbourne Gaol was the first extensive gaol complex in Victoria. It is located on Russell Street, between La Trobe and Victoria Streets behind the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology and opposite the old Russell Street Police Station.

The building was a model prison and based on the current prison reform theories of the day. In spite of the amount of building and extension work performed on the Gaol, the complex was consistently overcrowded. It was extended in two stages in 1857-9, and the boundary wall was also extended in 1858-9.

The present north wing, comprising the entrance buildings, central hall and chapel was begun in 1860. In 1862-4 a western cell block, virtually a replica of the present east block, was built to house female prisoners, and the perimeter wall was finally completed in 1864. The west wing extended into what is now the RMIT site, and has since been demolished.

In a review of the penal system in 1870 it was recommended that the gaol be closed and the prisoners be moved to a more 'suitable' location. Between 1880 and 1924 the gaol was slowly rundown and portions of the original site demolished. The gaol was finally closed in 1929. It reopened briefly during the Second World War as a military prison for Australian soldiers who were Absent Without Leave. Later it was a storage depot for the Victorian Police force.

The Old Melbourne Gaol is operated by the National Trust of Australia (Victoria).

Fitzroy Gardens and Captain Cook’s Cottage

Fitzroy Gardens are one of the major 19th century landscaped city gardens in Australia and form a wonderful transition between the city and East Melbourne. They are named after Sir Charles Augustus Fitzroy (1796-1858), Governor of New South Wales (1846-1851) and Governor-General of the Australian Colonies (1851-1855).

The Gardens have a long history of over 150 years. Few other capital cities can boast such a significant garden so close to the City's centre. As crown land the City of Melbourne are the custodians to preserve and oversee this magnificent garden, visited by over 2 million local, interstate and international visitors each year.

The area was once a swampy, unpromising piece of ground containing a creek and the remains of a quarry. In 1848 the Fitzroy Gardens were permanently reserved as public gardens, with title vested jointly in the State Government and City of Melbourne. The gardens were listed on the Heritage Victoria register in 2000. They provide a pleasant setting for the precinct’s government buildings and churches.

Cooks' Cottage is the only 18th Century building in Melbourne. It was originally built in 1755 in Yorkshire, England, but was later purchased and transported to Australia in 1933. Often referred to as Captain Cook’s Cottage, it was actually built and owned by his parents, James and Grace.

This two-storey cottage built from sandstone and brick was entirely reconstructed in Melbourne and has been carefully preserved ever since. The kitchen reveals an old ingle fireplace and dining table with plates and cutlery while a wooden staircase leads to the main bedroom.

Victorian Parliament Building

Parliament House is one of Melbourne's best known landmarks. Facing the intersection of Spring and Bourke streets, the west facade of the building, sweeping steps, elegant lamps, grand colonnade, suggests solidity and strength.

The creation of the Parliament in 1856 represents the beginning of responsible government in Victoria. It has sat at Parliament House, Melbourne since this time, with the exception of the period 1901-1927, when Parliament House was in use by the Federal Parliament. During this time the Parliament of Victoria sat at the Royal Exhibition Building.

The Parliament has the power to make any laws for the State of Victoria. This is subject only to limitations placed on it by the Australian Constitution which specifies which matters fall under the jurisdiction of the Commonwealth (Federal) Government.

The Parliament of Victoria is a bicameral, or two-house, legislature. It comprises the Queen of Australia, Legislative Assembly or Lower House and the Legislative Council or Upper House. The head of the State Government is the Premier of Victoria. The party or coalition with the most seats in the Legislative Assembly is invited by the Governor of Victoria to form government. The Governor of Victoria is the representative of the Monarch (Queen Elizabeth II), as Head of State, in Victoria. Among the Governor's vice-regal duties are the opening of Parliament and the signing of Acts which are passed by the Victorian Parliament.

Appearances are deceptive. Parliament House is incomplete. The generous vision of nineteenth century architect, Peter Kerr, has not been fully realised. The story of Parliament House is one of staged construction and architectural ambition thwarted.

Melbourne Treasury Building

Its original purpose was to house the overflow of gold from the Victorian gold fields when the banks were full. However, throughout the 19th century, the building became a major State Government office. The Governor of Victoria, the Premier (then known as the Chief Secretary), Treasurer, Registrar General and the Registrar of the Supreme Court all had offices there. Since 1862, the Governor of Victoria has signed off all state legislation in the executive council chamber - a tradition that continues today. State premiers no longer conduct their business at the venue, but Victoria's ex¬-premiers occupy offices in the building.

Described as "renaissance revival" architecture, the building was designed by an employee of the Public Works Department, 19-year-old draftsman John James Clark. The building was commissioned in 1851 and completed in 1862.

Ten huge underground vaults were built to store an estimated $100 million worth of gold. Gold has not been stored on site for at least 100 years. The underground chambers were also used to house caretakers and their families until World War II.

The building, which overlooks Collins Street, is said to represent the prosperity of the gold-rush era and symbolises Melbourne's transformation into a bustling city. The doors were opened to the public for the first time in August 1994 after a $4.1 million restoration project. Visitors can view a series of permanent and temporary exhibitions, including a gold museum.

Windsor Hotel

The Windsor Hotel was built in 1883 and superbly refurbished in the mid-1980s and redecorated in the mid-90's.

The Windsor is a fine example of traditional Victorian elegance and grandeur and is the only hotel in Melbourne that truly reflects the history and character of this city. Much of the hotel is protected by the National Trust and preserved as a part of Melbourne's heritage. Each of the 180 guest rooms and suites features a private bathroom, air-conditioning, colour television with movie and CNN/Foxsport channels.

Princess Theatre

The Princess Theatre is a landmark building dating from 1886. It has a façade as magnificent as any in the world and is undoubtedly a unique cultural asset to the city of Melbourne. The theatre has hosted shows such as Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserable, Cats and many more.

The Princess Theatre is the second building on the present site - the first being Astley's Amphitheatre which opened in 1854 containing a central ring for equestrian entertainment and a stage at one end for dramatic performances.

In 1857, the amphitheatre was renovated and the facade extended, then re-opening as the Princess Theatre and Opera House. By 1885, the partnership of J. C. Williamson, George Musgrove and Arthur Garner, had been formed and they became known as "The Triumvirate", and the business became known as J. C. Williamson's. The triumvirate then resolved to build a new theatre. Completed in 1866 to the design of architect William Pitt, re-development of the theatre took place at a cost of £50,000. The design is in the exuberant Second Empire style, the theatre forms part of the Victorian streetscape of Spring Street.

Collins Street Shopping Precinct

Majestic and tree-lined, Collins Street exudes style and glamour. It’s a boulevard of grand heritage buildings, chic designer shopping, five-star hotels, exclusive jewellers and private clubs. It’s also the city’s premier commercial streetscape and home to big corporations and the stock exchange.

Shopping in leafy Collins Street usually means one thing: shopping for high-end jewellery, fashion and luxury goods at flagship stores including Chanel, Tiffany & Co., and Louis Vuitton. A more relaxed shopping style can be found further west, in the middle section of Collins Street between Swanston and Elizabeth streets, where the bustling retail centres of two3four and Australia on Collins house many chain and concept stores.

Striking architecture can be found along the entire length of Collins Street, ranging from historic Gothic-style churches to Art Deco delights, magnificent theatres, and a Galleria Vittoria inspired arcade.

Regent Theatre

The Melbourne Regent Theatre opened on March 15, 1929. It was one of the largest theatres to be built in Australia by the Hoyts chain, seating 3277 people in opulent splendour with the largest Wurlitzer theatre organ installed in Australia.

On April 28, 1945, the theatre was completely destroyed by fire, due to a careless smoker. Despite wartime building restrictions, the theatre was completely rebuilt, with a modified proscenium shape and a replacement 4/19 Wurlitzer Theatre Organ. It reopened for business as a movie palace on December 16, 1947. In July 1970, after another long period of successful operation, the theatre closed once again. The organ was sold, and the theatre was stripped of all its fittings. Plans to demolish the theatre for a multi-level office block were thwarted, thankfully, and the long saga to ‘Save the Regent’ began.

After 23 years of frustration, hope, and tears, a property developer, David Marriner instigated a plan in 1993 to fully restore the theatre. The theatre was faithfully restored to its original grandeur, even down to the smallest detail. To prepare it for its role as a ‘lyric’ theatre, necessary alterations were made, such as a new sloping floor to improve sightlines, additional height to the flytower, and more dressing rooms.

On Saturday August 17, 1996, Melbourne’s Palace of Dreams finally re-opened in true Hollywood fashion with its third WurliTzer organ faithfully installed. The restoration work cost around $AU37 million. Since then the theatre has been the home to some great musical stage productions including, Sunset Boulevard, Show Boat, and Fiddler of the Roof with Topol.

Melbourne Town Hall

The Melbourne Town Hall is a magnificent heritage building steeped in history and located in Swanston Street, in the heart of the city.

In the 1840s the question of a site for a Town Hall was referred by the Council to its Works Committee. In a subsequent report, the Works Committee recommended that 4.047 hectares (10 acres) of land situated on Eastern Hill, should be granted to the Corporation as a reserve on which to erect a Town Hall. Prior to the building of a Town Hall, the Mechanics’ Institute in Collins Street (now the Athenaeum) was rented as temporary quarters where the Council carried out its business and affairs.

Dr. A.F.A. Greeves, who was a member of the Council and a man of ability and influence, opposed the Works Committee’s proposal, suggesting instead the site at the corner of Collins and Swanston Streets because of its central position and convenience. Although the Committee’s recommendations already had been adopted, the resolution was later amended in favour of the site suggested by Dr. Greeves, which is where Melbourne Town Hall stands today.

The erection of the first Town Hall, a modest brick building, began in 1850 but a shortage of labour brought about by gold discoveries in 1851, delayed completion until 1854. This building was demolished in the mid 1860s and on 29 November 1867, His Royal Highness Alfred Ernst Albert, Duke of Edinburgh, laid the foundation stone for a new Town Hall, which was completed in 1870.

The new building was opened on 9 August, 1870. The Tower was named ‘Prince Alfred’s Tower’ after the then Duke of Edinburgh. The Duke was the first official guest in the soon-to-be-completed Town Hall. The portico on the Swanston Street frontage of the building was added in 1887.

The Melbourne Town Hall, completed in 1870, has been the place where so many of the decisions that have helped to shape Melbourne have been made. It is the hub of Melbourne's cultural and civic activity, playing host to theatrical performances, weddings, receptions and exhibitions.

Federation Square

Federation Square is Melbourne's meeting place and a unique cultural precinct. Federation Square brings together a creative mix of attractions, including The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, ACMI: Australian Centre for the Moving Image, Champions: Australian Racing Museum & Hall of Fame, National Design Centre and the Melbourne Visitor Centre, along with 15 restaurants, cafes and bars, function centres, guided tours and over 2000 events held annually.

It is located at the southeast corner of the intersection of Flinders and Swanston Streets and opposite Flinders Street Station and St Paul's Cathedral. It helps to connect the historical central district of the city, the mile-by-half-a-mile Hoddle Grid, with the Southbank district, which has been redeveloped as a key part of central Melbourne since the late 20th century. It was built on the former site of the Gas and Fuel Buildings and the Princes Bridge railway station. It has since its opening on October 26, 2002, been both loved and despised by Melburnians, causing controversy not only for its unusual architecture, but also for the budget blowout and delays in construction.

The result of a design competition, Federation Square was designed by Don Bates and Peter Davidson of Lab Architecture Studio. The complex of buildings is in a rough U shape, surrounding a central ochre-coloured plaza which invokes images of the Outback, gently rising above street level.

St. Pauls Cathedral

St Paul's Cathedral is the metropolitical and cathedral church of the Anglican diocese of Melbourne. It is the seat of the Anglican Archbishop of Melbourne and Metropolitan of the Province of Victoria. It is a major Melbourne landmark.

The cathedral is located in the centre of the Melbourne, on the eastern corner of Swanston Street and Flinders Street. It is diagonally opposite Flinders Street Station. Immediately to the south of the cathedral is Federation Square. Continuing south down Swanston St is Princes Bridge which crosses the Yarra River, leading to St Kilda Road. The cathedral therefore commands the southern approaches to the city.

At the time of its construction St Paul's was the tallest building in central Melbourne and dominated the city's skyline. Unfortunately the growth of multi-storey buildings in central Melbourne during the 20th century robbed St Paul's of its commanding position and restricted views from many angles. The recent construction of Federation Square, which involved the demolition of a pair of adjacent highrise buildings, the Gas and Fuel Buildings, has improved the Cathedral's visibility from the south.

St Paul's is built on the site of Melbourne's first Christian service, conducted on the banks of the Yarra a few months after Melbourne was founded in 1835. The area was a market until 1848, when St Paul's Parish Church, a bluestone church, was built on the site. In 1885, as Melbourne grew rapidly, this church was demolished to make way for the new cathedral. It replaced St James Old Cathedral, which then stood on the corner of William Street and Collins Street, but was later removed to a site near the Flagstaff Gardens.

St Paul's is built in a revival of the style known as Gothic transitional, being partly Early English and partly Decorated. It was designed by the distinguished English architect William Butterfield, who was noted for his ecclesiastical work.

Young & Jackson’s Hotel

This is Australia's and of course Melbourne's most famous pub.

The Young and Jackson Hotel has stood beside Melbourne's busiest crossroads for nearly 140 years. As Melbourne's oldest continuously operating hotel it has emerged from humble origins to become an icon for the city.

Y&J's is famous for many reasons, not just its landmark status, on the corner of Flinders and Swanston streets, or its past early openings and riotous 6pm closing when hoards consumed as much as possible prior to the closing bell.

It is home to the beautiful Chloe, a stunning 19th century French academic nude painting by the Master, Jules-Joseph Lefebvre. Until the 1960s Chloe was a rare opportunity for adolescent boys to view a naked woman - many men later recalled sneaking a peek at the curvaceous brunette.

Originally the site of Melbourne’s first schoolhouse, it was originally established as the Princes Bridge Hotel in 1861. In 1875 two successful Irish diggers became the licensees of the Princes Bridge Hotel - Henry Figsby Young and Thomas Joshua Jackson. Young and Jackson began improvements on the hotel. Over a period of 50 years all five separate buildings that presently comprise the Young and Jackson Hotel were incorporated into the hotel proper and the bluestone exterior rendered and altered to create a seemingly unified appearance.

Having put up with each other for almost a century, Chloe and Y&Js have become inextricably linked as part of Melbourne's heritage. The National Trust and Heritage Victoria decreed in 1988 that they remain bound together forever.

Flinders Street Station

Flinders Street Station is among Melbourne's most recognisable landmarks. It is the best-known railway station in Australia.

Located on the corner of Flinders and Swanston Streets, Flinders Street Station is at the core of Melbourne's social and cultural identity. The site has been the central point of Melbourne's rail system since 1854. By the 1880s, the original makeshift buildings were considered inadequate. Finally, in 1899, a competition was held for the design of Flinders Street Station buildings and approaches. Seventeen entries were received. On 22 May 1900 the first prize was awarded to J.W. Fawcett and H.P.C Ashworth.

Work proceeded slowly until the Victorian Railways took over responsibility for the construction from the contractor on 15 August 1908. It was completed in 1910, unveiling a building that has fascinated Melbourne and visitors ever since. The complex represents an extraordinary example of a public building, offering a range of activities and functions to the general public apart from its main purpose as a railway station.

Each week, more than 10,300 passenger-carrying suburban train services operate to and from Flinders Street Station. On an average weekday, more than 110,000 people pass through the station and its ten platforms. At 708 metres long, platform 1 is the fourth longest railway platform in the world.

Albert Park

Albert Park is located approximately three km from the CBD of Melbourne. It is a 225 ha sporting and recreational park that caters for formal and informal recreation. Albert Park is the focus for many of Victoria's spectacular events and is also an important sanctuary for wildlife and vegetation.

Evidence indicates that Aborigines inhabited Albert Park and the surrounds some 40,000 years ago. Albert Park was a series of swamps and lagoons that provided edible vegetation. In 1864 the Park was proclaimed a public park and named Albert Park in honour of Queen Victoria's devoted consort, Prince Albert. Over the ensuing years Albert Park was used as a tip, as a camp for the armed services, for scenic drives and for many forms of recreation.

Today the magnificent Albert Park is enjoyed by approximately five million visitors annually. Vestiges of Albert Park's Aboriginal history still remain, the most noticeable being the large ancient River Red Gum Tree, reputed to be the site of many corroborees. It is thought to be over 300 years old, the oldest remnant tree in the Port Phillip area, located next to Junction Oval on the corner of Fitzroy Street and Queens Road, St Kilda. The Clarendon Street gates are the best manifestations of European history. Originally built of wooden pickets in 1910, they were cast in wrought iron in 1939 and can still be seen today.

Albert Park is host venue to the Fosters Australian Grand Prix Carnival that takes place in March.

Melbourne Arts Centre

The Arts Centre, at the start of the St Kilda Road Boulevard, is Melbourne's main arts, music and theatre complex. There are two main buildings, which are opposite Flinders Street Station alongside the Yarra River and Southbank. One of the buildings has a spire that towers 162 metres and which is lit up at night. Located in the building beneath the tower are three theatres: State Theatre, Playbox Theatre and the George Fairfax Studio. In the second building is the Hamer Hall (previously Melbourne Concert Hall). There are cafes at both venues. Across the road and down in the gardens of the King's Domain is Melbourne's famous outdoor concert venue, the Sidney Myer Music Bowl. Next to the State Theatre is the National Gallery of Victoria.

Designed by the architect Roy Grounds, the Centre is unusual in that its theatres and concert halls are built underground. The concert hall, situated closest to the river, was initially planned to be almost entirely underground, thus providing a huge open vista between the theatre spire, the river and Flinders Street Station. However, construction problems with the foundations meant the structure had to be raised to three storeys above ground. Similarly, budget constraints meant that Grounds' design for a copper-clad spire were shelved, and a shortened un-clad design was substituted. This was eventually replaced with the current 'full-height' un-clad spire.

Yarra River

Although Melbourne is situated on the shores of one of the largest bays on the Australian coast, the city's main water feature is the Yarra River. That's because the city grew from the banks of the Yarra and even today the focus for the city is still very much on a one-kilometre section of the river. Within that one kilometre are some of the great sights and attractions of Melbourne.

The river was called Birrarung by the Wurundjeri people who occupied the Yarra valley prior to British settlement. It was given the name Yarra Yarra in 1835 by John Helder Wedge of the Port Phillip Association, in the mistaken belief that this was the Aboriginal name for the river. The name is in fact an Aboriginal reference to a waterfall.

The Yarra's lower reaches travel through central Melbourne. It is approximately 242 kilometres in length, with a mean annual flow of 718,000 megalitres. It is the most westerly snow fed river in Australia. The total catchment area is approximately 4000 square kilometres. Some of the Yarra's major tributaries include the Maribyrnong River, Plenty River, Merri Creek, Darebin Creek, Gardiners Creek and the Moonee Ponds Creek.

The river's source is a series of swamps in the upper reaches of the Yarra Ranges National Park, directly to the east of the Baw Baw plateau a thickly forested sub-alpine park, which are entirely closed-off to all except the employees of Melbourne Water. The park features extensive stands of mountain ash, a very tall eucalypt, tree ferns, as well as patches of remnant rainforest.

The Upper Yarra Dam, one of a number of dams in the Yarra Catchment that supply most of Melbourne's water, is the furthest upstream point on the river visible to the general public (though the dam itself is closed off).

Southbank

Southbank is the area that stretches along the southern bank of the Yarra River. It starts at the Princes Bridge. Southbank was once an old and neglected area, mostly industrial, which has recently been rejuvenated as the heartbeat of the central city area. This has been done by using the Yarra River as a central feature and by introducing entertainment facilities along the river bank. The main focal point is the Southgate Arts & Leisure Precinct, which is Melbourne's main entertainment precinct and which has upmarket shops and restaurants, trendy cafes, food courts and a five-star hotel. This area also is the home of the Arts Centre and its theatres. At Southgate, a huge emphasis is placed on outdoor eating and sidewalk entertainment. A market is held along the footways at the eastern end of the river bank on Sunday mornings.

Shrine of Remembrance

The Shrine of Remembrance is Victoria’s largest and most visited war memorial and is probably Melbourne’s most recognised landmark.

It is a permanent and lasting memorial to the ANZAC spirit which is confirmed by the number of visitors to the Shrine throughout the year and the many people who attend the more than 120 ceremonies that are held at the Shrine annually. The Shrine is located on Melbourne’s most recognised boulevard, St Kilda Road, just south of the Melbourne central business district.

The Shrine was built between July 1928 and November 1934 in remembrance of those 114,000 men and women of Victoria who served and those who died in the Great War of 1914-1918. The people of Victoria felt that their debt to these volunteers, who had defended them at such great costs to themselves and their families, should be recognised by a worthy permanent monument of remembrance.

Although the country was faced with frightful unemployment and financial difficulty in the late 1920s and the 1930s, so great was the gratitude of the people that the huge amount required to build the Shrine was raised or promised within six months from the opening of the appeal in 1928.

The design for the Shrine of Remembrance was selected by competition among Australian artists and architects; 83 designs were submitted and the winning design was by two Melbourne returned-soldier architects, Peter Hudson and James Wardrop. The inspiration for the external outline came from one of the seven wonders of the ancient world - the mausoleum at Harlicarnassus to Mausolus, King of Caria in S.W. Asia Minor.

Royal Botanic Gardens

An oasis of tranquillity and beauty only ten minutes from Melbourne's CBD, and renowned for magnificent vistas over rolling lawns & glittering lakes, the Gardens are home to over 51,000 individual plants from around the world & are abundant with native bird & animal life. Facilities include lakeside tearooms & two garden specialty shops. These gardens are recognised worldwide as one of the finest examples of landscape gardens.

Established in 1846, the gardens cover 90 acres and are home to more than 12,000 species of plants, including 300 varieties of the delicate Camellia flower, ancient plants like the Cycads, and the grand oak and elm trees that explode with colour in autumn. A visitors’ centre for the gardens can be found opposite the Shrine of Remembrance.

Melbourne Sports & Entertainment Precinct

The precinct is the location of some of the world’s most famous sporting venues.

The Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) is an iconic Australian sporting venue located in Yarra Park in inner Melbourne, home to the Melbourne Cricket Club. It holds the world record for the highest light towers.

Internationally, the MCG is remembered as the centrepiece stadium of the 1956 Summer Olympics. The open-air stadium is also one of the world's most famous cricket venues, with a well-attended Test match held there every year, starting on Boxing Day. Throughout the winter, it serves as the home of Australian Rules Football, with at least one game held there every week (usually more), and in late September the Grand Final fills the stadium to capacity. Until the 1970s, more than 120 000 people were occasionally crammed into the venue - the record crowd standing at around 130 000 for a Billy Graham religious event in 1959, closely followed by 121 696 for the 1970 VFL Grand Final. Contemporary regulations now limit the maximum capacity to approximately 99 000.

The MCG, often referred to as "The G" has also hosted other events, from International Rules matches between the Australian Football League and Gaelic Athletic Association, to international rugby, soccer World Cup qualifiers and even rock concerts.

Melbourne Park incorporates Rod Laver Arena, Vodafone Arena, Function Centre and Cafe.

Rod Laver Arena was previously known as simply Centre Court or the National Tennis Centre, from January 2000 this arena was named after Rod Laver in recognition of the achievements one of Australia's greatest sporting champions. The roof weighs 700 tonnes and takes 25 minutes to open or close. This venue is used for the Australian Open tennis championships every year, as well as other sporting events, concerts and other public events.

The Vodafone Arena is the newest addition to the precinct. The reception foyer and entry level concourse comprises the commercial centre of the complex. Featuring 10 food and beverage outlets and 4 merchandise outlets within the expansive public space, Vodafone Arena caters for all tastes.

One of the many impressive features of this venue is the ease in which it can be transformed from one event configuration to another. Retractable and removable seating allows for a high degree of flexibility. Vodafone Arena has a maximum capacity of up to 10,800 seats depending on the configuration. It is used for tennis, basketball, cycling, and other sporting and public events.

The Lexus Centre serves as a centre of excellence for professional organisations and elite athletes. Its inaugural tenants, the Victorian Institute of Sport and the Collingwood Football Club, have based their business and athlete operations within the Centre.

The venue was originally constructed for the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games in which it was the first ever Olympic Pool to have a roof. Shortly after the Games, the venue became the Melbourne Sports & Entertainment Centre, playing host to a variety of events. Often referred to as 'The Glasshouse' following renovations in 1983, the venue often played host to Basketball with former-NBL team North Melbourne Giants calling it home while it also played host to Netball and concerts.

Olympic Park Stadium is an important feature of Melbourne's sporting culture. The venue was originally built as a warm-up track for the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games and now plays host to Football, Rugby League and Athletics. The stadium has a capacity of 18,500 including seating for 11,000.

Olympic Park Stadium has been Melbourne's main rectangular sports stadium for many years however this will come to an end in a few years time when a new state-of-the-art Melbourne Rectangular Stadium opens next door on the current Edwin Flack Field in 2009. Melbourne Victory Football Club (A-League) and the Melbourne Storm Rugby League Club (NRL) both call the stadium home and will move to the new stadium once complete. It also plays host to the annual Telstra A-Series Athletics meet as well as many school athletics carnivals and has hosted concerts in the past.