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Melbourne Open House

Posted: July 25th, 2010 by Courtney

This weekend was Melbourne Open House, where over 60 building were opened to the public for tours. While Scott was at his soccer game, I decided to check a couple out including the Melbourne Town Hall, Old Treasury Building, Parliament building, and Intercontinental Hotel.

First was the Melbourne Town Hall and Administration buildings, which are home to the City of Melbourne government offices, Council Chambers, and the historic Town Hall (now a theater and event space).

Melbourne Town Hall

Clock tower in the Town Hall

Stained glass dome in the Council Chambers

The Old Treasury Building was built during the 1850’s Victorian gold rush and was home to the Victorian Treasury until 1879.  Since then the building has been used for government meetings and events.  Today it also holds a number of exhibits on the gold rush and history of Melbourne.

Old Treasury Building

Inside the Gold Vaults

Check out that gold!

The Parliament of Victoria is made up for two chambers, the Legislative Council (Upper House) and the Legislative Assembly (Lower House).  Following in the Westminster tradition, the party having the support of the majority of Members in the Lower House forms the Government, while the opposition party forms the Shadow Government.  The leader of that majority party becomes the Premier of Victoria, which is currently John  Brumby.  Other important member of Parliament are the Governor, who is the Queen’s representative; the Speaker, who presides over the Lower House; and the President, who presides over the Upper House.

Victoria Parliament Building

Legislative Assembly Chamber

Sitting in the Speaker's chair (you can see her photo over my shoulder)

I also visited the Intercontinental Melbourne Hotel, which is in a couple of my favorite buildings in the city.  The hotel consists of two heritage buildings – the brick Romanesque-style Winfield Building and the Gothic-style Rialto Building.  The buildings were constructed in 1891 and originally housed wool stores and offices.

The Intercontinential Hotel

The lobby now encloses both buildings preserving the laneway that split them.

Inside the hotel