Australia's oldest arcade is Melbourne's Royal Arcade with its timeless beauty and Renaissance Revival architecture. This beautiful piece of history draws admiration from locals and tourists alike.
In 1837 Joseph Moore bought the land on which the Royal Arcade stands for 20 pounds ($10)and later sold it to Simon Staughton for 650 pounds ($325). Charles Webb won a competition held in 1868 to design the arcade and construction began the following year in June. It was completed by May 1870 and was officially opened by Lord Mayor Charles Amess.
Gaunt's Clock is one of the most drawing features of the arcade which is flanked by two giant statues of the mythical figures Gog and Magog which have struck chimes every hour since 1892 and can be heard resounding throughout the arcade.
The sign 'neath the clock reads as follows:
(Left side) These two 7-feet giants have been striking the time on Gaunt's clock since 1842. They were carved from clear pine and modelled on the figures erected in Guildhall, London, in 1708 to symbolise the conflict between the ancient Britons and the Trojan invaders.
(Right side) Mythology tells of the giants Gog and Magog (also known as Corineus and Gogmagog) having been captured in battle by the Trojans and made to serve as porters at the gateway of an ancient palace on a site later occupied by the Guildhall. It is traditional for Gog to stand to the north and Magog to the south.
The statues were carved by Mortimer Godfrey and were modelled on statues in London’s Guildhall which were built in 1708 to replace those lost in the Great Fire a generation earlier.
Melbourne's arcades are indoor shopping streets and were built wide to accommodate the gently swaying voluminous crinolines of the Victorian ladies who shopped the lanes in the late 1800's, their maids behind them to carry their purchases.
Facing north towards the Bourke Street entrance, you can see the natural light that streams through the glassed roof supported by graceful Victorian lacework.
Some colourful wares caught our eye as we strolled around the arcade. My friends and I had had a ladies lunch earlier and as we stood in front of the Barbie poster we all sucked our muscles in and wished for a figure like that!
The Royal Arcade along with Melbourne's Block Arcade is on the Victorian Heritage Register and like our lanes is a tourist icon.
Today's Quote: Whoever said money can't buy happiness simply didn't know where to go shopping ~ Bo Derek
Melbourne Daily Photo
Hello, I created this blog because Melbourne is my city and I want people to see what a beautiful place it is. So come with me on a journey of discovery as we traverse the dining precincts, the culture, the laneways and hidden gems that make Melbourne marvellous.