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A Quiet Sunday Morning in Bourke Street

Christine Smith

Grovedale, Australia

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FEATURED in Canon DSLR 12-06-2013
FEATURED in Australian Capital Cities 15-06-2013

Camera: Canon EOS 50D, Lens: @ 31mm, ISO: 100, Aperture: f11, Shutter: 1/160

Taken looking up Bourke Street in Melbourne, Australia. The building with the clock tower is the old Melbourne General Post Office, now known as the Melbourne GPO. It is currently listed on the Victorian Heritage Register. The former purpose built post office building was redeveloped in 2004 and currently functions as a shopping mall. The architectural style of the building is Classical with French Second Empire influences. Its historical significance is also due to incorporating distinct sections built over a period of 48 years between 1859 and 1907, and multilayered architecture, as a result of the four floors being constructed at different times. It’s distinctive architectural element is the well known clock tower which dominates the intersection of the two streets. Its location is still used as a point of reference for the measure of distances from the centre of Melbourne. Melbourne’s first General Post Office was declared in 13 April 1837, shortly after the naming of the city, and was completed in 1852. In 1859 a design competition was held for a new building, but instead of selecting the winning entry, the government decided on the second placed design by the architect A.E Johnson. Works on the building continued until 1867 and by the end a two storey building was erected. In 1887 a third level and a clock tower were added on top of the existing building. In 1919 architect Walter Burley Griffin designed the remodelling of the sorting hall into a public hall, but his design was later altered by architect John Smith Murdoch of the Commonwealth Department of Works. In the years that followed the neo-renaissance style building became a great success and a city landmark. There were several propositions for various changes and additions to the building; however these proposals were mostly discarded. In September 2001 a fire severely damaged the interior of the building. However, since then the building has been restored, in part to the original look and feel. The ceiling was restored and a lighter shade of paint was chosen, the more modern design has a feeling of light and space that was not present in the former design. Cafes populate the outer colonnade while boutique shops fill the three floors of the building. The building now forms a major arcade running from Bourke Street through to Little Bourke Street.

Artwork Comments

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desktop tablet-landscape content-width tablet-portrait workstream-4-across phone-landscape phone-portrait

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