Melbourne Aquarium 1930 - 1953

Melbourne Aquarium 1930 - 1953

We were surprised to see on a DVD about old trams, an advertising hoarding in Carlton for a Melbourne Aquarium except it was the 1930's.

As the cable tram rounded the corner from Nicholson Street into Gertrude Street, the sign is seen in the gardens of the Royal Exhibition Building. The other sign appears to be advertising the Motor Show.

A little bit of research uncovered.. The wing of the Royal Exhibition Building once housed Melbourne's aquarium burnt down in 1953. This was found on the Wikipedia web site for Royal Exhibition Building.

Clearly, not the Melbourne Aquarium that opened in the city in 1999.

Melbourne Aquarium 1930 - 1953

A fire that destroyed the aquarium at the Exhibition Building in 1953 inspired courageous acts of heroism both from firefighters and the public.

The blaze erupted after 6pm on Wednesday, January 28, just as thousands of workers were flocking home for the day.

Dozens of civilians joined the colossal effort to fight the inferno, while even children scurried up ladders to deliver extinguishers to firefighters on the walls of the aquarium.

As The Argus reported, rescuers dashed through choking fumes to release the terrified birds and carry them to other cages out of the danger area.

Sadly, thousands of irreplaceable fish in the 60-yearold aquarium died as red-hot sheets of corrugated galvanised iron from the roof crashed into the fish tanks.

But the three seals escaped, and many birds including a peacock were rescued by volunteers. "Volunteers helping the firemen broke from their tasks and tried to coax the blackened seals from the water," The Argus reported. "The terrified seals were still circling the pool long after the fire was out. "One peacock escaped and was still wandering around the blackened ruins at dusk." These youths were photographed by The Argus as they tried to catch the peacock.

Ned Kelly's armour, perhaps the most famous of the aquarium's exhibits, was spared.

The fire caused damage estimated at £100,000, the equivalent of more than $3.5m today.

A change of wind direction saved the rest of the Exhibition Building.

The fire brigade chief, Mr LP Whitehead, stressed it could have been far worse, describing the Exhibition Building as a "building built to burn" and "Melbourne's No 1 fire trap".

This article is from the August 14, 2020 issue of The Herald Sun Digital Edition.
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Commuting by Cable

Commuting by Cable - Marvelous Melbourne and its cable cars between the two wars; also included vintage footage of Melbourne Port Philip Bay Ferries.

❊ Venue | Location ❊

 Royal Exhibition Building [ view ]
 9 Nicholson Street Carlton Victoria 3053 View Map
 Telephone: 13 11 02 | +61 3 9270 5000

9 Nicholson StreetCarltonVictoria

❊ Web Links ❊

Melbourne Aquarium 1930 - 1953

Commuting by Cable (DVD)

Picture 2

❊ Also See.. ❊

Sea Life Melbourne Aquarium

Disclaimer: Check with the venue (web links) before making plans, travelling or buying tickets.

Accessibility: Contact the venue for accessibility information.

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Melbourne Aquarium 1930 - 1953