Thursday, 9 February 2012

MELBOURNE CITY SQUARE

The Melbourne City Square is a pedestrian plaza and former civic centre located in the Central Business District of Melbourne, Australia. The square is currently bounded by Swanston Street, Collins Street, Flinders Lane and the Westin Hotel. Melbourne Town Hall (1870) and St Paul’s Cathedral (1891) are prominent landmarks to the north and south respectively. The square has been redeveloped several times and associated with a number of controversies over the years. A prominent feature of the square is the Burke and Wills Statue (1864) by Charles Summers (left).




In 1860–61, Robert O'Hara Burke and William John Wills led an expedition of 19 men with the intention of crossing Australia from Melbourne in the south to the Gulf of Carpentaria in the north, a distance of around 3,250 kilometres (approximately 2,000 miles). At that time most of the inland of Australia had not been explored by non-indigenous people and was completely unknown to the European settlers. The south-north leg was successfully completed (except that they were stopped by swampland 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) from the northern coastline), but owing to poor leadership and bad luck, both of the expedition's leaders died on the return journey. Altogether, seven men lost their lives, and only one man, John King, crossed the continent with the expedition and returned alive to Melbourne.




The rather ghastly Westin Hotel and private apartments behind the square (see above) were part of a Faustian deal by the City Council and developers: In order to restore the decaying Regent Theatre and upgrade the City Square, Council sold public land (eastern half of the square) to a developer for $12.5 million and a hotel and apartments were built on it. The council put that $12.5 million towards the restoration of the Regent along with $12.5 million offered by the state government. This allowed the restoration of the theatre and the construction of a hotel with apartments on the eastern half of the City Square. The redevelopment of the Regent took 3 years from September 1993, to its final reopening gala on August 17 1996.


The interior of the City Square apartments is much more appealing (which is necessary given their multimillion dollar price tag...). The two photographs below are not taken by me but published by the Herald Sun, one of our local newspapers, a few months ago when one of these apartments was put on the market.





This post is part of the Signs, Signs meme.

9 comments:

  1. love the peek into one of the apartments
    i went into then penthouse at the top of the Manchester Unity building once
    it was so cool climbing the staircase winding up inside the gothic spire

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  2. Love your inside shots of the apartment! They're pretty cool and look really spacious! Terrific captures, Nick, and an interesting post as always!

    Sylvia

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  3. the interiors are amazing but yes, the exterior is ghastly

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  4. Only one man returned alive safely...sad story. I think we live on the past and will never forget about them.

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  5. hee hee...Dianne has already written what «Louis» was thinking...
    That is quite a story about the expedition...

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  6. A very informative, interesting post! The exterior design of those apartments reminds me of a default version of Mies van der Rohe's style in Europe! Somehow it just doesn't flow or connect! Grunge artistry - if there is such a thing! But the interior is very appealing!

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  7. I agree that the architecture leaves a lot to be desired but I can vouch for the service in both the Westin And it's restaurant "Allegro". .. Great spot.

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  8. Lewis and Clark had a rough time, too. The part is a lovely tribute to these men. Love the apartments for those who call themselves wealthy. I couldn’t get enough for the farm place to get one of these. They are beautiful. genie

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