The contest between Sydney and Melbourne is also being fought out in a modern architecture. Sydney has its Opera house, but in reply Melbourne has its Eureka Tower.
This is reputed to be the highest building in the southern hemisphere, 92 stories high – and most of it residential. It is situated on the opposite bank of the River Yarra, and when we first saw it on a bright sunny day, we were stunned. We couldn’t resist going up to the observation floor at the top of the tower from which I took some magnificent photos of the city laid out before us.
It is often easy to forget that Melbourne is in fact a seaside city, and in this view looking south, you can see the sea in the distance
Melbourne is also a river city, and here you see the River Yarra winding through the town. Right in the centre is the Melbourne Cricket Ground said to be the biggest cricket ground in the world and one of the world’s biggest stadiums, holding over 100,000 people. It was here that the Ashes between England and Australia are regularly played.
Right, is a photo taken at the cricket ground with in the centre a statue of the fast bowler Dennis Lillee who decimated the English team in the 1970s.
And here is a view along the river with Freshwater Place and the Crown Casino hotel in the foreground and beyond some of the new residential blocks seen in detail below. Towards the top is the Bolte Bridge with the twin towers that are in fact an architectural folly.
Finally here is a view towards the centre of the town and the skyscrapers of the business centre. Right at the bottom is the Flinders Street railway station, then to the right is the new Federation Square (see below) which is built over the former marshalling yards of the railway station. Opposite the railway station is the Young and Jackson’s pub with the nude photo of Chloe, and then opposite it is the cathedral facing onto the City Square where our hotel was situated.
We then went on a riverboat down the river to see some of the new Docklands development. Here too there is some stunning architecture though the people of Melbourne do not seem to have woken up to this, and I can find no details of the web of what these buildings are.
However at the far end of the boat trip there is a fine bridge that carries the motorway over the River it is called the Bolte Bridge and was designed by Denton Corker Marshall but interestingly the two tall pillars in the centre which one suspect ought to hold the bridge up are in fact entirely ornamental and the bridge is a cantilever bridge. It still looks very fine.
Further upstream, one of the bridges hosts a series of abstract dancing figures which I couldn’t resist photographing.
The other modern building is the Federation Square opposite St Paul’s Cathedral, and built over the former marshalling yards of the Flinders Street Railway station. It was built to commemorate the centenary of the federation of Australia, in 1910, and was finally opened only a year late, in 2002. It has been named as the fifth ugliest building in the world, and it is the second most popular tourist attraction in Victoria.
This is really a follow-up to the failure of the City Square and it is certainly very lively and full of activity and it makes a very powerful statement of modern architecture. I don’t know whether I like it, however …
The building above is the home of the SBS, Australia’s answer to the BBC
The central plaza is normally crowded
And the central space is also popular
There are also quiet corners.
Finally here is another photo from the river with the Eureka Tower balanced out by the spire above the Victorian Arts Centre. We did not go into to the Arts Centre, but the spire is certainly very elegant.
And who wins out of Sydney versus Melbourne ? Well I’m going to flop out of this one and say I love them both.