1934-35 Centenary of Victoria and Melbourne

The joint Victorian and Melbourne Centenary celebrations were held between October 1934 and June 1935. They celebrated progress and community cohesion at a time when the world, including Australia, was in the midst of a severe economic depression.  


In 1934, the centenary firstly commemorated Edward Henty’s Portland settlement in November 1834, which led to the founding of Victoria. While in 1935, the focus of the Melbourne Centenary celebrations was John Batman’s pronouncement of Port Phillip as ‘the place for a village’ in June 1835.  The Duke of Gloucester opened the celebrations in front of an estimated 500,000 people that lined the decorated streets of Melbourne.



Over this time hundreds of events were held across Melbourne and Victoria. Special centenary celebrations of the Royal Agricultural Show, the Melbourne Cup and other sporting events were staged. Sir Russell Grimwade purchased Captain Cook’s Cottage at Great Ayton in Yorkshire and he had it carefully measured, drawn, labelled, packed up and moved to its new home in the Fitzroy Gardens.


Sir Macpherson Robertson showed great generosity. He funded an international air race and more permanent mementoes including MacRobertson Girls High School in South Melbourne, the MacRobertson Bridge over the Yarra River at Grange Road, the National Herbarium at the Botanical Gardens and the MacRobertson Fountain near the Shrine of Remembrance.  His gifts to Melbourne are still appreciated and in use today.


To recognise the part played by women in the foundation of the state of Victoria, the the Pioneer Women’s Garden was built in the King’s Domain


The Shrine of Remembrance, arguably one of Melbourne’s most important public monuments was completed and dedicated in 1934. For many it was the crowning glory of the centenary celebrations.


In the book, Victorian and Melbourne Centenary Celebrations published in 1936, we find messages for Victoria and Melbourne from many nations around the world, including this surreal quote from Benito Mussolini:


“Italy and the Fascist Government send their greetings and cordial wishes. It is with legitimate pride that the Commonwealth of Australia remembers to-day the work accomplished by its strong and tenacious population which in only one century reached the present prosperity. It is with sympathy and admiration for the progresses obtained in every branch by the State of Victoria and its capital that the Italian nation associates itself with the actual celebrations”


A successful event during the celebrations was the Centenary Floral Pageant. The City of Box Hill float above won first-prize.

Development & Planning

Wednesday, December 13, 2017 - 00:00
Journal Student Living's move on 500 Swanston Street headlines a fresh drive of student accommodation projects looking to call Carlton home. The $60 build would be Journal's second Melbourne project after 18-32 Leicester Street which is in the hands of Icon Construction. Journal Student Living is backed by South African company Redefine Properties.

Policy, Culture & Opinion

Monday, November 20, 2017 - 12:00
The marriage of old and new can be a difficult process, particularly when the existing structure has intrinsic heritage value. In previous times Fitzroy's 237 Napier Street served as the home of furniture manufacturer C.F. Rojo and Sons. Taking root during 1887, Christobel Rojo oversaw operations though over time the site would become home to furniture manufacturer Thonet.

Visual Melbourne

Friday, August 25, 2017 - 07:00
The former site of John Batman's home, Batman's Hill is entering the final stages of its redevelopment. Collins Square's final tower has begun its skyward ascent, as has Lendlease's Melbourne Quarter Commercial and Residential precinct already. Melbourne Quarter's first stage is at construction and involves a new 12-storey home for consultancy firm Arup along with a skypark.

Transport & Design

Tuesday, December 12, 2017 - 12:00
When a site spans 19,280 square metres, it becomes a 'district'. That's the case according to the development team behind the Jam Factory's pending overhaul. Reporting on the project to date has focused on the close to 60,000 square metres of new commercial space that is earmarked for the site, but more importantly from a layperson's perspective is the extensive new public realm that is planned as part of the development.

Sustainability & Environment

Tuesday, October 24, 2017 - 12:00
Cbus Property's office development for Medibank at 720 Bourke Street in Docklands recently became the first Australian existing property to receive a WELL Certification, Gold Shell and Core rating. The WELL rating goes beyond sustainable building features with a greater focus on the health and well-being of a building's occupants.