The building is former Mechanic’s Institute and also called as The Athenaeum. This is a combination of Library, Museum and Art Gallery, Meeting Places and even a Live Theatre. This structure is almost as old as Melbourne since it’s the home of oldest public institution. This photo captured last July 2013 and part of The Melbourne Athenaeum Photo Collection.
Something To Look At (Post#4) : The Athenaeum – A Bit of History Through A Stone
The snapshot below depicts important years in the history of The Melbourne Athenaeum building. The Athenaeum which is another name of the building is significantly been part of Melbourne History as it serves specific first things in the city itself. I was totally amazed when I realized how really old the building is and just thinking that it will soon celebrate its second centennial on 2039. This photo captured last July 2013 and part of The Melbourne Athenaeum Photo Collection.
The first building that I had a chance to visit during Open House Melbourne event last July 2013 was The Melbourne Athenaeum, also called as The Athenaeum. It was mentioned that the building is as old as Melbourne itself. It was built in 1842 to house the first Mechanics’ Institute (the first name of the building) in Victoria. First President was Captain William Lonsdale whom supervised the founding settlement of Port Philip, now named as Melbourne and first Patron Superintendent of Port Philip, Charles La Trobe who become first lieutenant-governor when Victoria become a separate colony at that time. The building is the home of the oldest public institution in Victoria. It is also significant as the site of the first Melbourne Council Meetings from 1842 to 1852.
The building in 1842
The building in 1874
The building in 2013
When the building was renovated in 1924, the large hall become a modern theatre and it became one of Melbourne’s premier picture theaters, screening films and live theatre. The Athenaeum housed Melbourne’s earliest museum and art gallery and was venue of the lectures by Mark Twain (American writer, humorist and lecturer) and Sir Redmond Barry (Doctor of Laws and Judge of Supreme Court in Victoria).
When I entered the building there were receptionist and guides that welcomes visitor of the building and they gave some directions which area of the building is open for the visitors. At the time of my visit, the open for public is Athenauem Library, the reading room on the mezzanine floor, the foyer, as well as the exhibition “The Melbourne Athenaeum in Pictures”. The live theatre was closed and I never got a chance to see inside of it.
Below are some parts of the building that I had a chance to see.
Photo Exhibits within The Foyer
When I walked inside the building, I felt excited when I saw the kind of interiors inside the building. At first I know nothing about the library but through looking in its different photos exhibited from the hallway up to the reading room, I discovered how historic the building is.
The Library and Reading Room
Reading Room in 1918
Reading Room in 2013
When I was in reading room, one thing caught my attention, I knew it was a classic though not yet sure if I was correct, it’s the elevator. And I was more amazed when I learned that it still working at the time of my visit.
The Historic Lift
The famous lift in the library was established in 1930 which still in operation as of the moment and one of only two of its vintage in Melbourne. It decorative interiors based on history as Interwar Neo-classical or classical revival.
Stairs to Comedy Club (Athenaeum Theatre Two)
1. Plan to visit The Melbourne Athenaeum ?
Address: 188 Collins Street, Melbourne
Library – To use the library, membership is required. Please check membership information here. Or visit the official website of the library here.
Theatre – To watch shows and to see the theatre, visit its official website here.
The building open in a daily basis but with a fee (either through membership for the library or tickets for theatre, gallery or museum), but if you really wanted to see inside of it 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.
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
Route: 112, 109, 48 –> get off at Stop 6 – Town Hall / Collins Street
Arts and Craft (Post#4) : Art Nouveau Bronze Lamp Holder
I was trying to find more information about the artist of this brass lamp-holders shaped like angels but I wasn’t lucky. This lamp holder complimented the interior of the building which categorized as Renaissance Revival Style. This photo captured last July 2013 and part of The Melbourne Athenaeum Photo Collection.
Interior (Post#4) : The Athenaeum – Renaissance Revival Style
The Melbourne Athenaeum considered to have a Renaissance Revival Style which depicts on some snapshots that I got during the visit in the building at Open House Melbourne event. These photos captured last July 2013 and part of The Melbourne Athenaeum Photo Collection.
Discovery (Post#7) : The Athenaeum – Historic Lift
The famous lift in the library inside The Melbourne Athenaeum Library was established in 1930 which still in operation as of the moment and one of only two of its vintage in Melbourne. These photos captured last July 2013 and part of The Melbourne Athenaeum Photo Collection.