Melbourne was officially incorporated as a town on 13 December 1842, with Henry Condell as its first Mayor. However, it wasn't until 1854 that its first Town Hall was completed. Begun in 1851, the work ground to a halt with the beginning of the Victorian gold rush. The foundation stone of a new, grander Town Hall was laid on 29 November 1867 by the visiting Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, after the demolition of the first. The current Town Hall officially opened on 9 August 1870 with a lavish ball, which was personally funded by the Lord Mayor Samuel Amess.
Gold Rush Architecture
Residents and visitors were amazed at the speed of Melbourne's growth from a muddy frontier town into a solid city of spires and domes. Archibald Michie remembered the Melbourne of 1852 as little more than 'a very inferior English town'. By 1860, he was astounded by Melbourne's transformation into 'a great city, as comfortable, as elegant, as luxurious as any place'.
Melbourne's new civic beauty was due to the erection of many lavish buildings in the 1850s. Built from the colony's gold wealth, solid buildings up to four storeys now lined the main thoroughfares of Collins and Bourke streets.
Local architects, such as J J Clark, Joseph Reed, Leonard Terry and Lloyd Tayler, showed the same devotion to Italian classicism as their contemporaries in Britain. Banks, offices and clubs were reinterpretations of villas, temples and palaces.
Indformation from Museum Victoria website and Wikipedia
September 13th, 2013
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