Blessed with beautiful blue skies, 17 of us caught the train into the city. First obligatory stop was for coffee in one of our popular laneways. That done and all powered up we explored the beautiful banking chamber and lobby of the historical Commercial Bank of Australia. Originally constructed in 1891 for the chambers of the Commercial Bank of Australia, this is one of the most magnificent Victorian versions of an Italian Baroque interior in Melbourne. When you enter the lobby from Collins Street, it is impossible not to be caught up in the sumptuous, theatrical ambience of the place. And to think that this building only narrowly escaped the wrecking ball during 1970s demolition spree!
Next up was just across the road. The ANZ Gothic Bank stands majestically on the corner of Queen Street and Collins Street. It comprises two buildings: the former English, Scottish and Australian (ES&A) Bank on the corner and the former Melbourne Stock Exchange, fronting Collins Street. In 1923 the two buildings were renovated and combined, becoming known simply as the ‘Gothic Bank.’ Both are superb examples of the gothic revival style, albeit in contrasting ways. The former ES&A Bank is an exercise in graceful restraint, whereas the former Stock Exchange reflects the exuberance of the 1880s’ banking boom. In recent times, they were restored as part of the construction of the ANZ World Headquarters.
Next up was exploring the labyrinth of narrow stairs, tight corridors and rooms at the Mitre Tavern were a few of the Probarians partook in an Ale for old times sake.
Few people who enjoy the ales here are aware of the fact that this cosy cottage style pub spawned the name of the Mitre 10 hardware chain. Two of the founding members were drinking at the Tavern when inspiration struck: ‘mitre’ is a hardware term. The ’10’ – well, it had a nicer ring to it than Mitre 2.
Next our magnificently manipulative Ron convinced the Grill Steak Seafood Restaurant at 66 Hardware Lane to offer us a $15.00 lunch plus alcoholic drink, thank you Ron. Upstairs we went, the noisy seniors had the whole room to themselves – great service and great food!
Next we explored The Royal Arcade and saw Gog and Magog, The Block Arcade and saw the Tapping Man, then off to visit Melbournes iconic Lane Art in Higsons Lane, Hosier Lane and ACDC Lane then home.
Thank you Ron for leading us on such a memorable adventure.