Royal Exhibition Building Dome

Royal Exhibition Building Dome

Royal Exhibition Building DomeQuestion: Is it possible to walk around the interior of the Royal Exhibition Building dome?

Answer: In 2012 it is not possible but according to news reports (below) visitors will again be able to promenade on the rooftop of the historic building and take in the city's changing skyline.

In the 1880s visitors were able to access the exterior of the dome from a promenade deck. Located 30 metres above the gallery level, visitors to the 1880 Melbourne International Exhibition paid 3 pence to climb 80 steep steps to access the promenade. There they could oversee the fast-paced development of Melbourne first-hand.

One visitor described the experience: At one's feet lies the city, with its well-planned and equally well-executed streets, its commendable buildings, its domes, its churches and its towers. Then the suburbs, green almost as the country beyond and the waters of Port Phillip... The sight was grand enough to be subduing... and as we filed down the apparently endless stairs it was the tune of silence.

Access to the promenade was improved in 1888 when Waygood & Company installed a lift to the dome as a working exhibit at the Melbourne Centennial International Exhibition. This improvement increased the popularity of the experience, so prices were increased to sixpence for adults and threepence for children.

Tours of the interior of the Royal Exhibition Building are held most days at 2pm, subject to availability. Please call 13 11 02 to confirm.

Rooftop walk plans


A funding boost for Melbourne's Royal Exhibition Building means visitors will again be able to promenade on the rooftop of the historic building and take in the city's changing skyline.

The $20 million injection, set aside in the federal budget, means Museum Victoria can now start planning to re-open the "roam the Dome"roof-top viewing area, which was open to visitors in the early 1900s so they could gaze over "Marvellous Melbourne"(for threepence a visit), but later closed.

In the heady days of Melbourne's first boom, visitors paid thruppence to climb 80 steep steps - men sweating in woollen waistcoats and women in long skirts- to promenade before the best views in the city, from the dome of the Royal Exhibition Building.

One visitor in the 1880s wrote: '' At one's feet lay the city, with its well-planned and equally well-executed streets. . . then the suburbs, green almost as the country beyond and the waters of Port Phillip.''

Nowa $20 million funding boost means visitors will again be able to stand on the rooftop of this remarkable building and take in the city's much-changed skyline. Museum Victoria wants to use the money, allocated in this year's federal budget, to maintain the building and to reopen the rooftop viewing area.

It also plans to extend a tunnel from the museum- dug in 2000 when its visitor car park was built - underneath the Exhibition Building. The tunnel would host a permanent exhibition about the building's history and connect with a lift inside that would whisk visitors up to the first floor, which could be used for displays on democracy in Australia, and upwards to the roof.

The Royal Exhibition Building is exceptional by any measure - it hosted the first Federal Parliament in 1901, was the first building to fly the Australian flag, and in 2004 it was the first Australian building added to the World Heritage list (Sydney's Opera House followed in 2007).

Built to host the 1880 Melbourne International Exhibition and promote the country's technological prowess to the world, it was also used as an emergency hospital for victims of the so-called Spanish influenza in 1919. Museum Victoria director Patrick Greene said he considered it to be the '' largest object in the museum's collection'' .

'' It's truly a people's palace, a place where you could ascend to the dome and look down on Marvellous Melbourne,'' he said.

But a large heritage building comes with a considerable maintenance bill; the polished spotted gum floor alone has taken four years to replace.

The push to re-open the dome has been a pet project of Melbourne MP Adam Bandt, who said few people knew it was the birthplace of the Australian nation (and admitted he may have attended an all-night dance party there in his youth).

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has been a supporter of the proposal to reinvigorate the building , and Mr Bandt liaised with her office for months to negotiate budget money, he said.

Environment Minister Tony Burke, who is responsible for heritage, said there were many worthy heritage buildings, but the Royal Exhibition Building hada unique social and political history. '' Nowhere else can tell the story that can be told here,'' he said.

Update


The Royal Exhibition Building is opening its rooftop to the public
By Rebecca Russo | timeout.com
Posted: Tuesday February 26 2019

The Royal Exhibition Building has been around for almost 140 years. Just take that in. One hundred and forty years! Sure, smaller sections of the building were demolished and ravaged by fire, but the main building, known as the Great Hall, has survived all these years. So it's high time this grand dame got a makeover.

A renovation currently underway includes southern fa├žade conservation works, conservation repairs to the dome, cupola and drum, as well as the restoration of the 1880s Dome Promenade, a platform set up around the central dome that you can walk around. Just think of the views!

The Australian government has given Museums Victoria a $20 million capital works project for the conservation of the building. Architects Lovell Chen and heritage builders HBS Group have already started on conservation works. They will also work on the building's basement, which will include a new public entry, as well as the installation of a lift, which will sit in the same location as the one installed for the 1888 Melbourne Centennial International Exhibition.

The hope is to set up daily access to the building which is often restricted to select events throughout the year, including the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show, the Dog Lovers Show and the Finders Keepers Market.

The Royal Exhibition Building was designed by Joseph Reed (who also did the Melbourne Town Hall and the State Library of Victoria) and was completed in 1880. It's one of the world's oldest remaining exhibition pavilions and was built to host the first official World's Fair in the Southern Hemisphere. Not only is the building impressive from the outside, the ornate decor of the Great Hall needs to be seen up close. Fun fact: the Royal Exhibition Building was the first building in the country to be awarded UNESCO World Heritage status (take that, Sydney Opera House!).

The redevelopment is expected to be completed in early 2020.

Dome Promenade Experience


In the 1880s, the Royal Exhibition Building's Dome Promenade was the place to be. Socialites would cluster on the 360-degree observation deck and admire Melbourne from the high vantage point. The promenade has been closed for more than a century, but will reopen at the end of 2017 following a $20 million refurbishment. The aim is to make it one of Melbourne's top tourist attractions.

"We think now is the time to revive it," says Dr Patrick Greene, CEO of Museum Victoria.

"Visitors will be able to see as far as The Dandenongs in one direction, the Great Dividing Range, and the You Yangs in the other.

"You can see everything that visitors could see back in 1888, apart from Port Phillip Bay because of the city's high-rises," he says.

"We think now is the time to revive it," says Dr Patrick Greene, CEO of Museum Victoria.

"Visitors will be able to see as far as The Dandenongs in one direction, the Great Dividing Range, and the You Yangs in the other.

"You can see everything that visitors could see back in 1888, apart from Port Phillip Bay because of the city's high-rises," he says.

For three pence, visitors could climb the 80 steep steps 30 metres up to the Promenade. According to Museum Victoria's records, one visitor at the time described the experience:

"The sight was grand enough to be subduing ... and as we filed down the apparently endless stairs, it was to the tune of silence."

Heritage consultant and architectural firm Lovell Chen has been appointed to head the building's refurbishment. The Melbourne-based office has also been involved in conserving the GPO and State Library of Victoria.

"The building's structure is showing a passage of time, the wall renders are weak and it doesn't comply with today's height legislation," Greene says.

"It's like a cathedral, there's always something that needs to be done."

Construction will commence in May 2016. The refurbishment is scheduled for completion at the end of 2017. The building will continue hosting events during that time. broadsheet.com.au


❊Venue | Location ❊


 Royal Exhibition Building [show]

⊜ 9 Nicholson Street   Carlton | Map
9 Nicholson StreetCarltonVictoria
13 11 02 | +61 3 9270 5000

→ Venue Calendar: View 7 Events

❊ Web Links ❊


Royal Exhibition Building Dome 

www.museumvictoria.com.au

Source: The Age

YOUR SAY: Plans to turn Royal Exhibition Building dome into tourist attraction









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