In our last post on Melbourne’s CBD, we enjoyed a great morning seeing some of Melbourne sites and learning about its history, finally stopping for lunch at Hardware Lane and recharging with some great Melbourne coffee.
Enjoy a walk in the park
Head north through Melbourne’s famous laneways and you’ll eventually find yourself in the famous Flagstaff Gardens; one of Melbourne’s most popular gardens as well as one of the most under-appreciated pieces of Melbourne’s history. Why the name “Flagstaff Gardens?” Take a look around when you’re there. You’ll notice that you’re actually at the highest point in Melbourne’s CBD. Pretend you have x-ray vision as you look through the modern office buildings to the harbour and realise that in the mid-1800s, you could see the ships coming into port. Now raise the 15 metre tall flag sitting in the middle of the gardens to signal to the dockworkers living in North and West Melbourne that a ship has come in and it’s time to get to work!
And onto the market!
From the gardens, it’s an easy walk to Queen Victoria Market. Queen Victoria Market (or just the Queen Vic) is the southern hemisphere’s largest open air market. To accomplish this, it took over Melbourne’s first cemetery in the late 1800’s. Somewhat morbidly, some say that many of Melbourne’s earliest settlers still lie beneath the concrete floor. While there’s plenty to see and shop for at the Queen Vic on any normal day (they have everything), they also host a variety of events from a night market, the Melbourne BBQ festival, to car boot sales and a weekly fashion market. There’s something for everyone at the Queen Victoria Market.
Finish the day in gaol (or jail?)
The Old Melbourne Gaol is a short walk east of the Queen Vic, and a great conclusion to an exciting day in Melbourne. The Old Melbourne Gaol was operational until 1929 and housed many of Victoria’s most infamous early criminals, including Ned Kelly. Don’t be surprised by some of the stories you hear here. After all, things were different back then and early Melbournians didn’t think twice about imprisoning the worst criminals with more petty offenders. It’s another great glimpse into Melbourne’s history! The gaol is generally open 9AM to 5PM, but if you’re running late after a busy day (and prefer to get some dinner beforehand) there are night tours on many nights of the week. While you’re free to explore the gaol on your own during the day, the night tours tend to get a little spookier. Either way, it’s lots of fun.
It’s been a long day so it’s time to head home. While Melbourne Central Train Station is nearby, there are, of course, plenty of GoGet cars nearby if you want to get home quickly. After all, after the gaol you’ll find yourself in the northern portion of the CBD/the southern portion of Carlton! Whatever way you choose to get home, it’s been a full day, and you now know a bit more about Melbourne history. Enjoy.