‘Hop on’ and ‘Hop off’
If you enjoy city sightseeing on foot in Melbourne CBD, take a stroll down Swanston Street from Flinders Street to the State Library of Victoria, it is definitely worth a visit. On the way is another historic building, the Melbourne City Hall, free tours are available. The State Library is about six blocks from Flinders Street Station. If walking is not for you ‘hop on’ the city circle tram which is a free service for tourists and visitors to the city. Hop off at Melbourne Central, just around the corner is the State Library of Victoria. You can’t miss it.
State Library of Victoria
A landmark and cultural icon, the State Library of Victoria is a magnificent 19th-century building with some of the city’s most beautiful heritage interiors. City sightseeing and culture all in the CBD area of Melbourne.
The State Library has an interesting glass domed ceiling, a highlight of the La Trobe Reading Room at the library. The Library interior, warm and welcoming and obviously very popular for reading and study. It has a couple of free Art Galleries to browse and study early Australian Art, not to mention the State Library collection of two million books, plus pictures, newspapers,maps, and manuscripts.
Don’t miss two free permanent exhibitions on at the moment: ‘Ned Kelly’s armor’ in the changing face of Victoria, and trace the history of books in ‘Mirror of the World’. Free guided tours of the library are also available
‘Mirror of the World’ Exhibition
Since I love books, I enjoyed a quick look at the ‘Mirror of the World’ exhibition which provides an overview of the history of books and printing from the middle ages to the present time.Some of the exhibits I particularly liked, an exquisite piece of cuneiform writing on a clay tablet; manuscripts from ancient times carved on large pieces of wood; beautifully illustrated books in Gothic print, books on early botanical and scientific illustrations of plants and birds,a merger of science and art. I would have liked more time to browse this fascinating collection. This exhibition is in the Dome galleries overlooking the La Trobe Reading Room on Levels 4&5, (take the lift).
The Exhibition finishes on Tuesday 31 December 2013. Cost is free.
Opening times: Monday to Thursday: 10am–9pm. Friday to Sunday: 10am–6pm
Location: 328 Swanston St, Melbourne CBD, Victoria.
Nearest train station: Melbourne Central Nearest tram stop: Cnr. Swanston & La Trobe streets
Melbourne City Baths 1860 – City CBD
Still on city sightseeing, we passed this interesting building as we headed to the RMIT. I love the architecture of this historic old building, and surprised to see that it is the Melbourne City Baths. They are still in use today. The baths first opened in 1860, and provided health and fitness services to the Melbourne community for more than 140 years. Pretty amazing.
The interior of the Melbourne City Baths is now state of the art with all facilities and services available, including a large swimming pool, gymnasium and cardio studio.The Baths also has a spa, sauna, squash courts, massage services, fitness groups and Pilates classes, Lap lane availability and Aquatic education classes, all this right in the heart of Melbourne CBD. It is worth a look inside even if you don’t have time for a swim or a workout.
History – Melbourne City Baths
The history of the Melbourne City Baths proved interesting. Built in an Edwardian Baroque style, and considered of architectural and historical significance to Melbourne. The Baths sit on a triangular site between Swanston Street, Victoria and Franklin streets, the site reserved for a public bath facility in 1850 by the Melbourne city Council. On first sight the baths reminded me of the ‘Moorish Revival’ architecture of the old Forum Theatre on the corner of Flinders and Russell Street in the CBD area (near ACMI and Hosier Lane).
The aim of the baths initially to stop people from bathing in the Yarra river. The Yarra had become very polluted by the 1850’s. The pollution believed to be the cause of an epidemic of typhoid fever which caused many deaths in the city. Despite the best efforts of the Melbourne City Council people continued to swim in the Yarra River and drink the water.
Interestingly, in the early years men and women were strictly separated at the baths, even to having separate street entrances to enter the building. Mixed bathing introduced at the city baths in 1947 saw a considerably increase in the use of the public baths by both men and women.
Address Melbourne City Baths 420 Swanston Street Melbourne CBD, VIC 3000
Next stop for city sightseeing – ‘hop on’ ‘hop off’ at Melbourne Central for the Old Shot Tower and RMIT Design Hub…
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