Because Australia has been colony of Great Britain, it is not surprising to see some of its buildings or structures significantly influenced by European architectural designs. When I came to Melbourne, there is an impression that the city made on me. I actually call the city as a European City Down Under. My own reason was when I lived in Melbourne, I felt the European ambiance on its surroundings. One of the evidence that made me felt like that was when I got a chance to walk around in some of its famous and historical arcades in the city. The Block Arcade, Block Court and Royal Arcade.
The Block Arcade – Australia’s Iconic Retail Precinct
Collins Street Entry of The Block
Elizabeth Street Entry of The Block
The arcade is currently in ‘L” shape but become ‘T’ shape where the store has its gate in Collins Street, Little Collins Street and Elizabeth Street. I used to pass the arcade in Collins Street every time I go to work and on my way home since my previous project client office is located in Collins Street.
During my stay in Melbourne, I had been in the arcade just a few times and most of that time was just a quick look. The longest time that I had been in the building was during the Open House Melbourne event last July 2013 and the day that I spent for photo shots of the arcade during one of walks that I did in Melbourne.
The arcade was erected between 1891 and 1893 and designed by architect David C. Askew. As per history, the idea was to make the arcade similar to Galleria Vittorio Emanuele in Milan, Italy and with this, the arcade become the famous historical Victorian arcade in Australia.
I walked in the arcade from Collins Street and that’s when I started taking photos of it, at that time, the only cameras I had with me were my iPhone 4 and Panasonic digital camera, so spare with me if not all photos are clear as it should be.
One of the Skylight Wing of the arcade which is an interior walkway from Collins Street at The Block
Glass Canopy of the Skylight Wing of the arcade
Glass Dome of Central Atrium
Victorian Scale Number 228
Skylight Wing Looking towards Collins Street
Another Skylight Wing towards Elizabeth Street showing the Glass Canopy and its Interior Walkway
Some of the columns to be seen within the arcade
One of the Tainted Windows
Mosaic Tile Flooring
I spent sometime in the arcade and to be honest it amazed me because the overall interiors of the arcade signify a European theme, though it has been renovated, the columns, the ceilings and its glass canopy, the glass dome, some tainted windows and the flooring which is a mosaic-tile signifies the Victorian style, one of the finest 19th Century arcade.
Inside the arcade I found an interesting scale called Victorian Scale Number 228. Historically this scale were normally seen in railway stations and outside post offices, but many of the same scales has been recycled during World War II. This scale has been restored and was seen before in Melbourne Zoo but now stands inside the arcade.
Block Court Arcade
This initially confused me, because I was able to pass this arcade from The Block Arcade, but this is totally different arcade. Since there is connection between arcades, everyone can really think its part of The Block but it’s not. The Block Court is historical as well since it was built last 1890 as Athenaeum Club. When it was remodeled last 1930 it was renamed as Block Court. This arcade can be found just beside The Block Arcade.
Interiors of the Block Court
Royal Arcade – First Arcade and Longest Standing Arcade in Australia
After spending time in The Block and Block Court, I spent my time walking another historical arcade not far from the two, my steps directed me in Royal Arcade wherein its main entrance is in Bourke Street. Coming from The Block Arcade means I entered the building in its south end in Little Collins Street. The building features at the south are the Gaunt’s Clock and the two mythical figures beside it named Gog and Magog that strikes the chime since 1892 which can still be heard in our time. At the north is the symbolical figure of Father Time is to be found.
Gog and Magog with Gaunt’s Clock
Exterior of the Royal Arcade along Bourke Street
As per official site of the arcade, the building was completed last May 1870 and its design was came from Charles Webb who won from the major design competition for the arcade happened 1868.
Australia has a lot of historical arcades in its major cities and the above arcades are only to be found in Melbourne. I did enjoyed my walk once more around Melbourne.