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5 New Buildings to See in the Open House Melbourne Weekend

Home > Melbourne > Architecture | Community Events | Exhibitions | Historic Houses | Tours | Lists
by Fiona Anderson (subscribe)
A Melbourne based writer who is a travel junkie, dedicated foodie and emerging photographer.
Event: -
Willsmere and Collingwood Doll's House join Open House
The popular Open House Melbourne Weekend takes place on 30-31 July 2016.

With over 140 buildings set to open their doors to the public this year, it's worth planning ahead to ensure you get the best from your Open House experience. Making the weekend even more interesting, Open House's footprint this year extends beyond the central city into metropolitan Melbourne.

Note that bookings where required are available from Monday 18 July.

Here are five new buildings that have been added to the program this year and are well worth a visit.


Established in 1870, Willsmere is a rare and mostly intact 19th century former lunatic asylum, and an architectural marvel of Melbourne. The Italianate building features innovative 'ha-ha' walls that retained views without the feeling of being enclosed.

Open House Melbourne Weekend 2016
Willsmere - former lunatic asylum

In 1993 Willsmere was converted to private residences with the addition of townhouses, however it retains a heritage listing. The central administration block comprises a three-storey building with attic Mansard roof and cupola, with two double-storey wings extending to each side which include four-story Mansard roofed towers, and courtyards lined with iron columned verandas.

Tours of the public areas - grounds, museum and library - will take place from 10am to 4pm on Saturday and Sunday 30-31 July. Click here to obtain your ticket (small booking fee applies).

Abbotsford Convent

Formerly the Convent of the Good Shepherd, Abbotsford Convent has had a most interesting and varied life. Featuring medieval French ecclesiastic architecture, the former convent has had custodianship ranging from from the Wurundjeri people to the early Melbourne pioneers and La Trobe University.

Purchased by a property developer in 1997, the site was threatened but saved by a massive public campaign. It is now a multi-arts precinct that houses over 100 studios, two galleries, and cafes.

Open House Melbourne Weekend 2016
The Abbotsford Convent is now a multi-arts precinct

Tours of the artist studios, heritage gardens and buildings take place from 10am-4pm on Sunday 31 July. Click here to secure your tickets (a small booking fee applies).


Headquarters of the Victorian Branch of the Returned & Services League of Australia (RSL), this iconic building has graced Collins Street since the 1930s. The building houses an extensive collection of military art and memorabilia.

Open House Melbourne Weekend 2016
ANZAC House is open for self guided tours on both days of Open House

Self guided tours of the ground floor gallery and the wood panelled Boardroom, as well as the first floor and President's Room, are available between 10am and 4pm on Saturday and Sunday 30-31 July.

5x4 Hayes Lane Project

This is a unique dwelling, set on a tiny footprint of just five by four metres. The 5x4 Hayes Lane Project encourages discussion around sustainable living, and demonstrates how to achieve it through best practice design and living.

Open House Melbourne Weekend 2016
5x4 Hayes Lane Project - built on a footprint of just 4 x 5 metres

The tours take place between 1pm and 4pm on Saturday and Sunday 30-31 July. Click here to book your tickets (small booking fee applies).

Collingwood College Doll's House

The Doll's House, built in the 1880s, is possibly the smallest house in Victoria. It consists of two rooms and is only 2.5 metres wide. It was occupied until 1978.

The Doll's House shows the history of the working class in Victoria, providing evidence of the living conditions experienced by slum dwellers before strict planning controls were introduced.

Open House Melbourne Weekend 2016
The Doll's House, possibly the smallest house in Victoria

Tours are available on Saturday 30 July between 10am-1pm. Click here to secure your place (small booking fee applies).

For more information about what's on as part of the Open House Melbourne Weekend, click here.
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Why? Tour these 5 buildings that are open for the first time as part of Open House Melbourne Weekend
When: Saturday & Sunday 30-31 July 2016
Phone: (03) 8648 8612
Where: Check the event program for location details.
Cost: Some events free, others attract a small booking fee
Your Comment
I wasn't aware Melbourne had an open house program but thanks for the info.
by Gayle Beveridge (score: 3|7217) 1186 days ago
Foodi Photoh Classie
by Event Listing on 18/07/2018
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