Australian Parliament House – An Iconic Symbol of Australian Politics

When we reached Canberra, our tour guide drove us first to see the National Embassies located not far and also surrounds Parliament House. We drove between Perth, Adelaide and Melbourne Avenue to see different and fascinating buildings that unique on their own as cultural identity of the country they belong to.

Then, we drove up to Capital Hill where the current Parliament House stands which symbolizes Australian politics. For me the building is like White House because White House represents American Government while Parliament House represents Australian Government. Living in Australia comes with familiarity with the country. Every time I watched the news in the morning before I go to office, I used to see Parliament House in the TV where most of the time they feature and interview Prime Minister of the country regarding the current affairs of the nation and its politics.

From the moment that I saw Parliament House, I was excited. I never imagined before that there will be a chance that I will see it up close and personal. I had never even imagined that I will be able to do a building tour and see what’s inside of this so-called ‘National Meeting Place of Parliament of Australia’.

The building is immediately recognizable even from a distance with the help of its location which is at the top of the Capital Hill. It’s architectural design is based on two boomerangs, so if you look down to the building from the sky, it is two boomerangs where its rear are near each other or connected to each other.

Below is my Parliament House building tour story.

FORECOURT

We got off from the underground parking of the building. And from there we went up to reached the Forecourt. The rain fell at the time we visited Canberra, the clouds view outside the building was gloomy and the ground outside has been wet due to rain.

Raindrops in my bus window approaching Parliament House

The scenery was different because of heavy and dark sky, but even that was the case, I had been happy to be in that part of the world at that moment. While waiting for others in our group, I had a chance to witness from a far the Old Parliament House (Provisional Parliament House which used in 1927-1988). When the group has been re-assembled, we entered the building.

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Forecourt

Scenery From the Forecourt

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Old Parliament House (Provisional Parliament House)

MARBLE FOYER

The first thing that I saw when I entered the building are the semi-marble clad columns stands all over the ground on its lobby. Second thing to notice are the two grand marble staircases in both sides. My overall impression in the foyer, it showcases how grand the Australian Parliament House is.

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Marble Foyer

THE GREAT HALL

The Great Hall is part of the building that I saw from the 1st Floor since I immediately went up when I saw the grand marble staircase at the foyer. As a discovery in The Great Hall aside from being used for large national gatherings, receptions or events, is the art displayed in one of its space. The ‘Great Hall Tapestry’ which created by collaboration of finest artist when the building is being built.

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The Great Hall Tapestry
(One of the Five Treasures in Parliament House)

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The Great Hall

I strolled around the building and below are some of the displays to be found inside the building at the time of our visit. This means that these displays might not be available anymore aside from the arts that are permanent display in the building.

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Some of the exhibits found during my visit in Parliament House

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Opening of Parliament House by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on 9 May 1988(1994),
by Marcus Beilby (1951)

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The picture on the right side is call “The Big Picture” By Tom Roberts
(One of the Five Treasures in Parliament House)

Some photos of 1st Floor

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The Parliament Idealism

MEMBERS’ HALL

While walking around inside the Parliament House and after enjoying some of the displays found in the first floor, next part of the building to be discovered is what they call Member’s Hall. It is a square-shaped located at the center of the building and directly under the huge flag mast.

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Members’ Hall

Surroundings of Members’ Hall

Another part of the building that excites me was at the time that I got a chance to see up close the chambers of the House of Representatives and Senate. Before, I only saw these chambers in TV but during my Canberra’s tour I got a chance to be inside of it. One significant thing that I observed inside of both chambers are the direct sunlight coming through its glass ceiling at its center. The color scheme on each chamber has been based on colors of British Parliament’s House of Commons for House of Representatives Chamber while British Parliament’s House of Lords for the Senate Chamber.

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES CHAMBER

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House of Representatives Chamber

SENATE CHAMBER

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Senate Chamber

THE ROOF

After enjoying what’s inside the Parliament House, another part of the building that excites me during the tour was at the time we went outside and walked at the grass roof of the building. First thing to enjoy  were the scenic views to see around Canberra. Because Parliament House stands at the top of Capital Hill, everyone can enjoy the fresh air and the beautiful surroundings where the building is almost at the center of the city.  Another thing to enjoy is the up close view of the world’s largest stainless steel structure and its 81-metre high flag mast with its own unique features. And last but not the least to enjoy  was anyone can just lie around and have a rest in the grass, enjoy the sky, the fresh air and feel like you are in a park, the only difference, you are at the rooftop of Parliament House.

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Scenic Views to enjoy while at the Parliament House Rooftop

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Parliament House Rooftop and its World’s Record Flag Mast

COURTYARD

I only got a chance to see the Courtyard which is the garden within the Parliament House through glass windows while I was roaming around the first floor of the building, these pictures also shows the recent rain that occurred in the city.

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Courtyard snapshots from inside the building

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Interior : Canberra’s Parliament House – Marble Foyer

Interior (Post#10) : Canberra’s Parliament House – Marble Foyer

The Parliament House Marble Foyer is one of the lobby that I saw how grand it is in a different way.  The ceiling lights, pendant lights, hanging clocks in the middle are all in white colors. The walls with balustrades, the columns partially covered with marbles, the flooring designs with different shapes had complimented to each other. The grand staircase in both sides, by just looking at it and thinking if I started walking on it I felt I am a debutante, it’s so simple but so elegant.  Its design seems to be basic but its refreshing, comforting and relaxing. These photos are part of Canberra Day Tour June 2013 Collection.

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Interior : The Dome (333 Collins Street, Melbourne)

Interior (Post#8) : The Dome (333 Collins Street, Melbourne)

I took these photo after joining my team in a lunch where I had a chance to pass the walkway at The Dome. I can’t stop my admiration and I took photos while walking and I was glad it’s still clear. Snapshots are part of my Random Photo Collection of Melbourne.

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Queen Victoria Women’s Centre – Vestige of Old Hospital But Now A Women’s Pride

Another more than century old and historical building that I had a chance to tour during Open House Melbourne event last July 2013 was Queen Victoria Women’s Centre. It was built in 1848 as Melbourne Hospital and undergone different era (different names) which become part of the colorful history.

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Here’s a bit history of the building.

Former “The Melbourne Hospital”

When it was opened in 1848, the building become older than the Victoria state since Victoria just separated from New South Wales in 1851. Even though started on its humble beginnings, the hospital grew and become the famous The Royal Melbourne Hospital.

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Old The Royal Melbourne Hospital
Photo courtesy of The Royal Melbourne Hospital Organization

Former “The Royal Melbourne Hospital” (1912-1944)

Melbourne Hospital has been rebuilt due to demands are growing tremendously as the city of Melbourne became populous. After it was rebuilt, the building changed its name to The Royal Melbourne Hospital. At that time, the hospital occupied the entire city block bound by Swanston, Lonsdale, Russell and Little Lonsdale Streets which shows how the hospital is really huge shown from photo above.

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Entire Block has been occupied

Former “The Queen Victoria Memorial Hospital” (1944-1987)

When The Royal Melbourne Hospital move to another site, the building was occupied by The Queen Victoria Memorial Hospital wherein based in history, the work pioneered were more on women’s and children’s health.

Current “Queen Victoria Women’s Centre” (1986 – present)

The only building left which supposed to be for demolition is Queen Victoria Women’s Centre. The rest of the building has refurbished and become commercial space. The building still standing today because women in Victoria fight and claim the site. And with that I got a chance to see this building that main goal is all for women like me.

The Building Tour

I was walking along Lonsdale Street to see if I can still discover another building before I end my Saturday. And there I found Queen Victoria Women’s Centre. It attracted me as I thought that its another historical building based on its exterior design. I crossed the road and went inside the building.

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Queen Victoria Women’s Centre

I decided to visit the building as I know that I had more than an hour left before the event be over for the day. During the open house event, the building’s ground floor, rooftop and 4th level with balcony had been open to the public.

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At the hallway, I found exhibits in both sides to enjoy. Then, I went straight to the rooftop as I followed other visitors. It still kind of refreshing to be in a rooftop of the building again even though I had been in Council House 2 rooftop, though QVWC (Queen Victoria Women’s Centre) has just 4 floors and not so high, visitors and myself still enjoyed the scenery. At the rooftop I saw the dome of State Library of Victoria not far from the building,  some view of the city from the top and the two cupolas of the building.

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State Library of Victoria Dome

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Cupolas closely visible at the rooftop

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Street View

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At the Rooftop

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4th Level of QVWC – The Original Ward

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Model of the building

After touring the building, I ended my day with lots of learning and discovery. This is one of the reasons I love Melbourne, the city has rich history through its building. The event helped me understand how the city developed to the way it is now.

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Queen Victoria Women’s Centre

Notes:

1. Plan to visit Queen Victoria Women’s Centre ?
Address : 210 Lonsdale St, Melbourne, Australia

Ground Floor with Exhibits are open to public during opening hours 9:00am – 5:00pm / Mon – Fri

If you really wanted to see other parts of the building for free, the right opportunity is during Open House Melbourne which happens in one weekend of July every year, to check if the building is participating in Open House Melbourne event please check here.

2. Public Transportation Ticket – Use Myki (Melbourne Ticketing System), please check here for more details.

3. Directions

Using tram

Use tramTracker Apps or even just Google Maps (use directions) and there are tram routes available
Route: 1, 3/3a, 5, 6, 8, 16, 64, 67, 72 –> get off at Stop 10 Bourke Street Mall/Bourke Street or Stop 8 Melbourne Central Station Route

Using train

Visit the official Public Transport Victoria website to be able to use the Journey Planner for the next train schedule.

Ride from any station and get off at Flinders Street Station or Melbourne Central Station

From Flinders Street Station, get off at St Kilda Road Exit and continue walking along Swanston Street and turned right at Lonsdale Street, walk few more meters and the building can be found.

From Melbourne Central Station, get off at Swantons Street Exit and continue walking along Swanston Street and turned left at Lonsdale Street, walk few more meters and the building can be found.

Structure : Melbourne Town Hall

Structure (Post#9) : Melbourne Town Hall

One of the noticeable building at the heart of Melbourne CBD is Melbourne Town Hall which built in 1867. The building has its grandeur architectural design not only because of its impressive exterior style but also because it composed of many rooms that displays how majestic the town hall itself. The photo is part of Melbourne Town Hall Photo Collection 2013.

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Still Expression : Melbourne Town Hall – Organ Playing

Still Expression (Post#5) : Melbourne Town Hall – Organ Playing

During my visit in Melbourne Town Hall’s Main Hall, there is someone playing the historical and largest organ pipe in southern hemisphere. Piano or organ playing was once my dream to be. The photo is part of Melbourne Town Hall Photo Collection 2013.

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Interior : Melbourne Town Hall – Main Hall

Interior (Post#7) : Melbourne Town Hall – Main Hall

I can probably say that the Main Hall or auditorium of Melbourne Town Hall is the grandest and most impressive room of all. It is the largest room which can handle at least 2000 people for an event. This hall is also hosting the historical and largest pipe in southern hemisphere. I admired this room not only because of the pipe organ which is the jewel of the room and the town hall itself, but because of the grandeur of the interior of the hall. I felt that the design of the room is already a proof of its more than a century history. By just looking on its eye-catching decorated ceilings and magnificent chandeliers, anyone will be amazed. And when I moved to another seat just to see the whole balcony and the walls with drawing designs, all of it depicts how grand the room is. These photos are part of Melbourne Town Hall Photo Collection 2013.

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Pipe Organ (Largest in Southern Hemisphere)

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Ceilings, Chandeliers and Stencil Walls

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Ceilings

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Stencil Walls

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Balcony

Interior : Melbourne Town Hall – Yarra Room

Interior (Post#6) : Melbourne Town Hall – Yarra Room

Another room to see inside Melbourne Town Hall is Yarra Room. This room again displays how impressive and elegant the town hall is. It can accommodate up to maximum of 150 people if the event is cocktail. Historically, it is a former Council Chamber of the city. These photos are part of Melbourne Town Hall Photo Collection 2013.

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Interior : Melbourne Town Hall – Council Chambers

Interior (Post#5) : Melbourne Town Hall – Council Chambers

One of the impressive room to be found inside Melbourne Town Hall is Council Chambers which is part before of old city court. The room showcases how the ceilings has been beautifully decorated, how refined the wood panels has been carved and how glass windows has been colored and drawn its mallet used by H.R.H the Duke of Edinburgh to lay the foundation stone of the town hall in 1867. Overall, the room is categorized as combination of Italian and English Renaissance style. These photos are part of Melbourne Town Hall Photo Collection 2013.

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Council Chambers

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Ornate Ceilings

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Carved Wood Panelling

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Stained Glass with Mallet of H.R.H the Duke of Edinburgh

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Council House 2 (CH2) – Australia’s First Six Star Green Star Rating Building

I was walking in Little Collins Street towards Swanston Street, when I found that Council House 2 was part of event because of the Open House Melbourne Flag stands on its ground which a common sign to recognize if the building is participating in the event.

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At Little Collins Street towards Swanston Street, CH2 Building at the right

During the Open House Melbourne event, I learned that there is an existing green building located almost at the heart of Melbourne CBD, I am talking about none other than Council House 2 or CH2 building. This stands along Little Collins Street near Swanston Street. Based on history, before CH2 was built, there was a dated building that was nearing its end lifespan. And because of it, the ambitious plan to build a new office building started and that was how the idea of CH2 begun.

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Council House 2 (CH2)

One of the great discovery or learning that I had about this building was, CH2 is the first purpose-built office building in Australia to achieve the six star Green Star certified rating, where the minimum is one star and the maximum is six. And the more profound about it was, the building was designed even before the Green Star rating system and Green Star Design office has been launched.

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While listening to facilitator that explaining the feature of the building

During the event, the building opens to the public the ground floor foyer, level 6, level 8 offices and roof top terrace. When I visited the building, there were couple of guides at the entrance and near the elevator to inform us that we have to go to the designated floors for the event. I can’t remember anymore which floor I was assigned and attended with other visitors to had our introductions and to listen to the features of the building. One thing that I felt while listening was my adoration that they will spend money to design a building to become a green building.  But, in the explanation of the speaker, I realized, the building is sustainable on its own, as its main feature are reduction on energy and water consumption which actually one of the main expenses of a building. I remembered how the building is flexible because it can adjust to the season of Melbourne, both for summer and winter season where energy is mostly used, and with that said it able to take advantage the season to even save energy and water resources.

While listening to the speaker, one thing that call my attention in the office building were the indoor plants located almost in each table desk and surrounding area, the speaker explained that the plants even help to maintain the good quality of the air inside the office. I was pretty much amazed, I felt like I want to work in similar environment, because I myself contained in an office where no fresh air is circulating because the whole building is closed and the air from human myself and from ventilation are the air that I am breathing, but CH2 allows air from the outside.

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Office hallway

After well explanation of the features of the building, we were guided to go to the rooftop of the building, here I got a chance to see the inner view of the city from the top which I haven’t done before while I was in Melbourne. The rooftop has garden and there we saw as well the huge turbines that has the important role in making the building as efficient in its cooling, heating and even in energy conservation.

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Rooftop of CH2

While I was in the rooftop, I wish and dream that there was similar building back home in my country, wished if they also consider in creating a green building. In Melbourne, if this kind of building already exist, I can see that it’s already changing the game in developing new buildings, maybe it’s not the same as CH2 but most likely, partial of the design of the building will be inherited as its design has so many benefits to the building and its occupants.

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Inner view of the city from CH2 Rooftop

Truly the CH2 building is a green building. A worthwhile visit in one the buildings in Melbourne.

Notes:

1. Plan to visit Council House 2 or CH2 ?
Address : 240 Little Collins Street, Melbourne
The building is not open to public in a daily basis as the building is an office building, but if you really wanted to see inside of it, the right opportunity is during Open House Melbourne which happens in one weekend of July every year, to check if the building is participating in Open House Melbourne event please check here.

2. Public Transportation Ticket – Use Myki (Melbourne Ticketing System), please check here for more details.

3. Directions

Using tram

Use tramTracker Apps or even just Google Maps (use directions) and there are tram routes available
Route: 1, 3/3a, 5, 6, 8, 16, 64, 67, 72 –> get off at Stop 11 – Town Hall / Collins Street or Stop 10 Bourke Street Mall/Bourke Street
Route: 112, 109, 48 –> get off at Stop 6 –  Town Hall / Collins Street

Using train

Visit the official Public Transport Victoria website to be able to use the Journey Planner for the next train schedule.

Ride from any station and get off at Flinders Street Station or Melbourne Central Station
From Flinders Street Station, get off at St Kilda Road Exit and continue walking along Swanston Street and turned right at Little Collins Street.

From Melbourne Central Station, get off at Swantons Street Exit and continue walking along Swanston Street and turned left at Little Collins Street.

Discovery : Council House 2 (CH2) – Turbines

Discovery (Post#10) : Council House 2 (CH2) – Turbines

If windows of the buildings helps to replace hot air during night purge and concrete ceilings helps to keep the environment cooler for specific time, these turbines that are visible up close at the rooftop of the building helps to withdraw the hot air coming from the inside if too much heat received by the building. These turbines also generates certain amount of energy to be used again by the building. These photos are part of Council House 2 Photo Collection captured last July 2013.

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Discovery : Council House 2 (CH2) – Vaulted Concrete Ceilings

Discovery (Post#9) : Council House 2 (CH2) – Vaulted Concrete Ceilings

The vaulted concrete ceilings of each floor in Council House 2 building has its purpose on its own. These concrete ceilings provides cooling ventilation in a specific time of the day to maintain the comfortable temperature inside the offices. How does these concrete ceilings able to do that? As Council House 2 has its night purge which happens at 1AM up to 5AM, where windows are open to cool down the internal air and thick concrete ceilings to release the heat that it received during the day, since concrete ceilings has been cooled during night purge, it keep the cool temperature in the morning until noon which is a natural process of cooling system. A very cheap way to cool the environment. These photos are part of Council House 2 Photo Collection captured last July 2013.

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Discovery : Council House 2 (CH2) Windows

Discovery (Post#8) : Council House 2 (CH2) Windows

During my tour within this building, I learned one of the best feature that this building has to offer compared with other regular office building not only in Melbourne but probably in the world is its windows. The building windows has double glaze, it has timber window frames (where timber is known as lower conductor heat to lessen the ‘heat bridge’ effect).

Head Bridge Effect – A thermal bridge, also called a cold bridge or heat bridge, is an area of an object (frequently a building) which has a significantly higher heat transfer than the surrounding materials resulting in an overall reduction in thermal insulation of the object or building. Reference: Wikipedia

There are recycled timber shutters as well that protects the building from the late afternoon sun, enable views out of the building and natural light to enter the building.  Other windows at the other side (no photos available) participates in nightly purge (opens at night until morning) to release the heat inside the building.

The western facade windows (second picture) with plants shown below has been designed as well to able to provide natural lights which participate in conserving the energy cost that the building will pay. What a brilliant idea !!! These photos are part of Council House 2 Photo Collection captured last July 2013.

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Chromatic Outlook : Opera House – Opera Box Style Balcony (No 138 Powlett Street)

Chromatic Outlook (Post#30) : Opera House – Opera Box Style Balcony (No 138 Powlett Street)

Because of opera-box style balcony, the building has been called as Opera House which was built in 1868, don’t make this one mistake with Opera House in Sydney, that one is different. Photo is part of East Melbourne Historical Houses and Building Collection 2013.

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Chromatic Outlook : Queen Bess Row (corner Simpson and Hotham Streets)

Chromatic Outlook (Post#29) : Queen Bess Row (corner Simpson and Hotham Streets)

It’s a three four storey houses of red brick with sandstone dressings and the first fully developed example building built in the Queen Anne Revival style. The building initially became The East Melbourne Trained Nurses’ Home and private hospital from 1890 until 1894. Then, it become apartment – first apartment block in Melbourne.

In 1920’s, the building were known as the following: Rubra Flats (72), Angus McArthur’s boarding house (74), and Cregh Flats (76). In 1936 No. 74 was known as Tudor Guest House.

In 1989, the building stop as boarding house and were sold in three separate houses in 1990.

Photo is part of East Melbourne Historical Houses and Building Collection 2013.

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Chromatic Outlook : Georgian Court (No. 21 George Street)

Chromatic Outlook (Post#28) : Georgian Court (No. 21 George Street)

Built as apartment in 1860, currently the building becomes Georgian Court Bed & Breakfast. The building survived for more than 150 years now. Quite impressive historically. Another discovery for this building is, it was city base home of famous Australian operatic soprano named Dame Nellie Melba (Melba was pseudonym from Melbourne). Photo is part of East Melbourne Historical Houses and Building Collection 2013.

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Structure : The Gothic House (No. 157 Hotham Street)

Structure (Post#7) :  The Gothic House (No. 157 Hotham Street)

An 1861 bluestone home dubbed The Gothic House. It was designed by architect Joseph Reed (who designed Melbourne Town Hall, State Library and Royal Exhibition Building) for deputy surveyor-general Clement Hodgkinson (who designed the Fitzroy and Treasury gardens). Photo is part of East Melbourne Historical Houses and Building Collection 2013.

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Chromatic Outlook : No. 49 George Street

Chromatic Outlook (Post#27) : No. 49 George Street

The building was once home of Melbourne’s first surveyor, Robert Russell in 1865. Photo is part of East Melbourne Historical Houses and Building Collection 2013.

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Robert Rusell is an architect and surveyor, active in Australia. He conducted the first survey of the site of the nascent settlement of Melbourne on the banks of the Yarra River in 1836, and designed St James Old Cathedral, the oldest building remaining in central Melbourne (albeit not on its original site). He was also a prolific and talented artist and his work is held by major libraries and galleries in Australia.

Reference: Wikipedia

Discovering Hiroshima Castle aka Carp Castle or Rijo Castle

From the brochure of the castle, I got to learned that the castle is also know with a different name. Hirsohima Castle is also famous as Carp Castle or Rijo Castle in Japanese. The area where the castle was built known to be Koi-no-ura (Koi Sea Shore) and “Koi” means Carp in Japanese. Good to know the origin of the castle name.

After strolling around Peace Memorial Park, we targeted other parts of the downtown but because most of the places to see are museums which require more time, we ended ourselves exploring the Hiroshima Castle. Before reaching the castle we passed Hiroshima Museum of Art. Then we crossed the underground walkway to the castle.

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And not far from the street where we emerge from the underground walkway, we saw the Second Compound or Ninomaru of the castle where the Main Gate and surrounded Turrets are located. We walked towards the said gate. Before we crossed the Gate Bridge to the Main Gate, we stopped for few photo shots moment.

Ninomaru (Second Compound)

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Bridge Gate, Main Gate and Turrets (Yagura)

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Moats that surrounds the castle from the Gate Bridge

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Omotegomon (Main Gate)

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Hira-Yagura (One-Layer Turret)

We crossed the bridge and entered the Main Gate. We walked a bit towards the middle of the compound and I looked around and observed. I saw a door located at the corner, part of Hall Turret (Tamon-Yagura) and I walked and climbed towards it. My family followed me and we took off our shoes then put it on the shoe cabinet available near the door. Next, we stroll the Hall Turret and there we saw different exhibits. At the end of Hall Turret is Taiko-Yagura (Two-layer Turret) where the drum at the second part and used before for Samurai sally out.

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Main Entrance and Hira-Yagura (One Story Turret) captured from inside of Ninomaru

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One of the drums at Taiko-Yagura (Two-Layer Turret) used for signals

After looking around at Taiko-Yagura and Tamon-Yagura, we walked back and reached inside the Hira-Yagura and the top of the main gate.

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Inside the Ninomaru Omote Gate  (the top layer of Main Gate)

 

Inside Hira-Yagura (One-layer Turret)

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Ruins of Ninomaru (basepoint to defend the gateway of the castle)

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Moats that surrounds the Castle. Scenery after crossing the walkway towards Main Compound (Honmaru)

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Moats that surrounds the Castle. Scenery while leaving the castle ground

Honmaru (Main Compound)

When we reached the Main Compound of the castle, the first thing we saw was Hiroshima Gokoku Jinja Shrine where we saw another stone gate similar to what we saw in Miyajima Island. The original shrine has already built in two locations, the shrine was also destroyed by atomic bomb. When the decided to rebuild it, it was rebuilt after the war within the ground of Hiroshima Castle. As per history, the purpose of building the shrine is to mourn the Hiroshima-Han victims during the Boshin War (Japanese Civil War).

 

 

Photos of Hiroshima Gokoku Jina Shrine

We moved forward nearing the castle tower, but before we reach the tower itself, we have other stuff that we saw within the ground of Hiroshima Castle. We found the location of ruins of Hiroshima Imperial Military Headquarters. After reading the brochures in my hand, I’ve got to understand, why Hiroshima was possibly the main target of atomic bomb attack, its because of the castle ground was a military base. And I also learned that the base was also use to infiltrate the plan of Allied forces during World War II, in a war like that, a military base can be a main target for attack.

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Hiroshima Imperial Military Headquarters Ruins

At the ground, we also  found a castle ground map that looks like inscribe in a metal piece and put in a stone.

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Hiroshima Castle ground map

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The original foundation stones where the Castle Tower was built

As we walked towards the castle, I got more excited, I knew it was not the original tower, because like other buildings in Hiroshima City, it was also destroyed during the atomic bomb attack. The castle location is in the corner most of the ground and in an upper layer that we need to climb few steps of the stairs. The restored castle tower shows what its look before the second world war, thus we enjoyed the photos outside before we decided to enter the tower. The castle tower now served as museum before the war. We paid the entrance fee and ready to explore the building. At first, I never realized how many floors the castle has and when we were strolling around it, I just learned that it has 5 floors. All floors has exhibits and I cannot really take photos because there’s portion of the exhibit not allowed to take shots. But as far as I remembered, I still sneaked some shots inside the museum thought it was not too many unlike other museums where photography is allowed.

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Castle Tower (now a museum)

Each floor showcases different exhibits that portrays Hiroshima. At the first floor, there’s displays about Ancient Hiroshima, Castle History, its government, life inside the castle, its defense and even different castles in the world can be seen. At the second floor, the exhibits are more of castle town life and culture where it includes samurai versus townsfolk lifestyle. In the third floor, we saw different weapons and armors displays. The fourth floor currently displayed that time has a theme of life and progress of  Hiroshima Castle Town.

 

Some Exhibits displayed inside Hiroshima Castle Tower

We reached the final floor or fifth floor which called as Observation Platform. We stayed a bit in the floor because it offers a scenic views that surround the castle in many ways. Because the castle ground surrounded by trees and green plants and moats, I can sense how Japanese has great pride in their castle. Aside from having yagura or turrets that protects the castle grounds, there is moats that prevents the invaders to reach the castle  easily. If you are a strategist, it is a great place as well for military bases. And that’s what happened to Hiroshima Castle.

 

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Scenic snapshots that surrounds the castle ground and the moats from Castle Tower Observation Deck

Hiroshima – An Introduction To The Home of Two World Heritage Sites

Because Hiroshima is very far from Tokyo, I booked a domestic flight in ANA Airlines, where I found the cheapest price available at the time that I was booking the flight because I was able to maximize their offer price for foreign visitors.

After watching Sumo event and after spending time in Akihabara, when we reached the hotel, we immediately packed all our stuff back to our luggage since that night was the same as our last night in the hotel. We woke-up early in the morning as our flight was around 7AM and our airport was Haneda Airport, which is another airport located nearer in Tokyo compared to Narita Airport, the entry point we had in Japan.

From Kayabacho Station, we took Tozai Line to Nakano, transferred at Nihombashi, changed to Ginza Line to reach Shimbashi Station. At first we planned to take Monorail Line which mean we plan to go to Hammamutso station. When we were waiting at Shimbashi Station for the next train, we found out that the next train goes directly to Haneda Airport, I asked one officer in the train to confirm if the next train goes to Haneda Airport, and he confirmed it. We took the said train. When we were inside the train, my sister and I checked the next station that the train will stop by and we quite surprised because it seems it has too many stations on its route. Then, my sister and I keep monitoring the next train stop and we were thankful because it bypassed many stations, as time really matters for us in that situation because we were catching up with our flight schedule.

When we reached Haneda Airport it’s just right time, we’re not too early nor too late. The flight from Tokyo to Hiroshima took at least an hour and that flight actually saved us a bit of time. We touched down at Hiroshima Airport passed 8:20 AM in the morning and got off the plane passed 8:30 AM. Because we’re new, we did not realize that the bus schedule to Hiroshima Station is closer to our arrival schedule, therefore we were left behind even before we can buy our bus ticket (which can be get through automated machine) and we waited for the next schedule which was after an hour. When the next bus arrived, we boarded the bus immediately. The airport does not have train station and the only way to go to Hiroshima Station is through bus. The bus travel from the airport was around 45 minutes to reach Hiroshima.

At Hiroshima station, since it’s our first time again in another city of Japan, we really don’t know where to go to reach our hotel in the city. That problem was forgotten a bit after I saw the JR Train Line office at the station. I booked our ticket train from Hiroshima to Kyoto to reserved our seats the next day we travel. We scheduled to spend almost 2 days to go around in Hiroshima.

After booking the train ticket, we got off at the station and followed few people as we thought they were exiting the station. We ended up leaving the station in a wrong way. We passed the station docking area and underground way since we still did not realize where majority people goes when passing the station. We learned the right way later that day.