What a beautiful and fascinating exhibit the Myer Mural Hall turned out to be. Not being originally from Melbourne, I was surprised by majesty of these highly decorated walls that were commissioned in 1934 as a tribute to women and their achievements throughout history.
The hall itself has a distinctive Parisian influence and sports exquisite parquetry floors and 18th century styled mirrors. The image of a grand European ballroom is created by its high ceiling, original leadlight windows and a grand sweeping staircase.
Located on the sixth level of the of the Bourke Street Myer Emporium, the Mural Hall is 150ft long and 60 ft wide with a height of 24ft and has a dining capacity of 1,000. Originally commissioned by Sidney Myer to host fashion parades, its sweeping staircase leads up to the two dressing rooms overlooking the magnificently decorated walls and three glittering chandeliers.
Overshadowing the magnificence of the hall itself are the murals themselves created by Napier Wallis from country Victoria. Having lost an arm in the war, Napier had to learn to sketch left-handed. He completed the murals in 1935.
The eight original murals depict the history, events and influence of art including drama and dancing, the personalities of opera, sport, literature, beauty and fashion. Displayed for 71 years, the Myer Mural Hall has been recognised as having one of the most famous art deco interiors in Australia.
The mural titled "Dancing through the Centuries" lists many of the English Old Time dances and "Actresses and Drama" takes you from medieval times to present day. There are murals of the "Beautiful Women of History" and "Personalities of Opera". Each panel tells a story which will keep you intrigued for some time.
Although not directly connected with the famous murals, on exiting, you'll be directed past the black and white early photo of the old perfumery/chemist section and onto photos and information on the incredibly clever, now antiquated cash register system.
The Lamson pneumatic system, named for its inventor, was used to carry cash around the store prior to the age of credit cards. Cash and a sales note were deposited into a decorative tube and transported to the store's cashier. Customer's change and receipt were returned via the same method. The tubes were made in Australia by Lamson, whose company still produces modern versions of this system.
This is a must to visit and I have it on my list of things to do. I think the open house events are marvellous and await the next year events with hope that more people take the opportunity to visit the interesting places open.