One of the most beautiful and I would say 'handsome' buildings in Melbourne is celebrating its 150th anniversary. The Old Treasury Museum is currently hosting a FREE exhibition entitled Gold and Governors.
I was fascinated to learn that the architect J J Clark was just 19 years old when he designed this icon of Melbourne. I think of many 19 year old's today - still studying, partying, looking cool and going .... in many cases they don't know where! Well J J Clark certainly knew where he was going in the 1850's! He joined the Colonial Architects office when he was just 14!
John James Clark arrived in Melbourne at the height of Victoria's most extraordinary expansion when many of our most beautiful and historic buildings were built in a 30 year period on the back of the gold rush. As its name implies the Treasury was built to store the massive amounts of gold arriving from the goldfields. Gold was stuffed to the rafters in the vaults.
The Renaissance Revival Treasury building launched him in his career and from there he designed some of Australia and New Zealand's finest buildings - including Melbourne's Royal Mint - 280 - 318 William Street and the Melbourne City Baths (what an old fashioned name) at 420 Swanston Street. The Treasury Building in both Brisbane and Auckland are also part of his 'portfolio'. He also designed Melbourne's Government House located right next to our Royal Botanic Gardens. It is interesting to note that both current and retired Victorian Governors have an office in the building.
|The Old Royal Mint (Wikipedia)|
|Government House abutting the Royal Botanic Gardens (Achim Klaustermeyer)|
The recently published Architect of the Australian Renaissance by Dr Andrew Dodd celebrates the work of J J Clark and is available to purchase at The Old Treasury Building.
Located in Spring Street right opposite the top of Collins Street I recommend a visit. This building and its contents are one of the hidden gems in this city - and one that many Melburnians have failed to celebrate or dare I say to visit.