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Carlton Gardens

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by Courtney Symes (subscribe)
Courtney is a freelance fashion, art and design writer and content creator for - an online boutique specialising in quality gifts for men. Read more of Courtney’s work at
Published January 10th 2011
Carlton Gardens are centrally located near the Melbourne CBD on the corner of Nicholson and Victoria Streets and are a picturesque example of Melbourne's finest parkland. With the Melbourne Museum and IMAX Theatre located to the north of the gardens, a trip to either of these attractions would definitely be enhanced with a stroll through Carlton Garden's tranquil and immaculately maintained grounds.

The Royal Exhibition Building is the centre piece of the gardens and was built in 1879 for the great exhibition of 1880, which attracted a staggering 1.3 million visitors over eight months. Designed by Joseph Reed, one of the striking features of the building is the large dome which was inspired by Brunelleschi's 15th-century cathedral in Florence.

One of the oldest remaining exhibition buildings in the world, the Royal Exhibition Building is rich in history and was the first building in Australia to acquire World Heritage Listing in 2004. Following the 1880 exhibition, the building was also used for the opening of the first Federal Parliament on 9 May 1901. The Exhibition Building was the ideal venue for the large group of people that gathered for this event. In 1919 the building was even used as a temporary hospital for patients during the Spanish Flu pandemic. Over the years the building has become a Melbourne icon and continues to be used for numerous home, garden, motor, art, food and bridal shows as well as concerts and other events.

Upcoming events at the Royal Exhibition Building include:
The Ultimate Bridal Event, 15-16 January 2011
Australia's largest bridal event featuring fashion parades and over 200 exhibitors.

Victorian Hot Rod Show, 21-23 January 2011
An extensive display of various types of cars (classic and converted).

Rites of Passage Festival, 28-30 January 2011
Tattoo convention and art festival including some of the world's finest tattoo artists.

The Adventure Travel and Backpackers Expo, 19-20 February 2011
Featuring over 100 exhibitors offering professional advice on where to go and what to see.

Carlton Gardens consists of several formal gardens and avenues that retain their original 19th century styling. The gardens have also been 'accessorised' with three fountains and two small lakes throughout. A picnic and a wander through the gardens is a lovely way to spend a Sunday afternoon or mid-week lunch break.
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Why? the perfect place for a stroll or picnic without leaving the city
When: Anytime
Where: Corner of Victoria and Nicholson Streets
Cost: Free
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