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Block Arcade

Peter Maltezos's picture

Text from Walking Melbourne

The National Trust guide to the historic and architectural landmarks of central Melbourne

Block Arcade

280-286 Collins Street


Melbourne’s most opulent and loved arcade was designed by architects Twentyman & Askew for a company associated with the notorious ‘landboomer’ Benjamin Fink. It replaced the fire damaged Georges Drapers, and was constructed in two sections: the Collins Street leg in 1891 and the Elizabeth Street leg in 1893. The facades are fine examples of High Victorian, combining an impressive gravity with elaboration. Named after the popular term for that section of Collins Street, it was completed just as the land boom collapsed, and did not fill its intended role as a luxury shopping arcade until the 1900s, a role it still maintains. The popular Hopetoun Tearooms has been a favourite for nearly 100 years, and the ornate shopfronts, wide mosaic tiled floor and octagonal hall make this one of Melbourne’s most beautiful 19th century interiors.


Two Edwardian postcards below and many of my own shots following.


The ceiling of the old Singer (sewing machine) shop below and after, the ornate mirror of the Hopetoun Tea Rooms.


The next two down show the Elizabeth Street façade.

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Peter Maltezos's picture

Block Arcade, Collins Street in 1908.

I collect, therefore I am.

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Development & Planning

Tuesday, December 12, 2017 - 00:00
City of Port Phillip will this week indicate that it has sufficient reason to object to two pending projects in Port Melbourne. 17 Rocklea Drive and 365-391 Plummer Street are both within the Wirraway Precinct of Fishermans Bend, and both projects are under the authority of the Minister for Planning.

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

Saturday, December 9, 2017 - 00:00
Spring Street has released details of a large shutdown of the Pakenham/Cranbourne and Frankston lines which will allow workers to complete major upgrades to the rail infrastructure. The work is required to allow for the introduction of the new High Capacity Metro Trains (HCMTs) and will involve upgrading power & catenary, signalling and communications equipment in the Dandenong (Pakenham/Cranbourne) corridor.

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.