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Top Heritage & Historical Sites - Melbourne & Surrounds

Home > Melbourne > Day Trips | Family | Free | Historic Houses | Places of Interest | Lists
by Gypsy Rose (subscribe)
I love travelling, discovering hidden gems & food. Experience the journey on Instragram! @gypsy_compass. Owner of do check it out for grazing platters and more :)
Published June 19th 2018
This list is not only for history buffs
Whether you are a history buff, enjoy architecture, love experiencing something different or just simply want to do something, then the list below is filled with heritage & historical sites across Melbourne and surrounds. From buildings to iconic sites, there is something for the inner historians inside of us all!

1. Abbotsford Convent
Where: 1 St Heliers St, Melbourne
Details: With its 11 historic buildings and the gardens listed as heritage, this is one heritage and historic gem you do not want to pass up on visiting! The former Convent of the Good Shepherd was the most important Catholic institutional complex constructed in Victoria and today it is home to over 100 studios, two galleries, cafes, a bandroom, outdoor cinema, a radio station, a school, and amazing gardens. Visiting is a must for its history, Medieval French ecclesiastic architectural character as well as its historic landscape. Click here for the website.

Image Courtesy from National Trust of Australia (Victoria) Facebook

2. Altona Homestead
Where: 128 Queen St, Altona
Details: Altona Homestead was the first to be constructed in the area in 1842. It is filled with rich history, serving as a residence, holiday housing for a local company and civic offices for council meetings from 1957 to 1968. In 1988, it was restored to preserve the importance of Altona history. Altona Homestead is opened for the public first Sunday of the month 2pm-4pm, every Saturday 10am-12pm & every Tuesday 11am-2pm. Click here for the website.

Image Courtesy from Altona Homestead Facebook

3. Brighton Bathing Boxes
Where: Dendy Street Beach, Dendy St & The Esplanade, Brighton (Brighton Beach)
Details: Located 30 minutes from Melbourne CBD, this is certainly one heritage site not to miss visiting as 82 distinctive bathing boxes and a row of uniformly proportioned wooden structures line the foreshore at Brighton Beach. They were built over a century ago and they remain pretty much almost unchanged. Click here for the website.

Image Courtesy from Visit Victoria Facebook

4. Como House & Garden
Where: Cnr Williams Rd & Lechlade Ave, South Yarra
Details: Being a stone throw's away from Melbourne's shopping mecca, the historic mansion features an impressive collection of antique furniture and one of Melbourne's finest gardens. The 160 year old mansion is a glimpse into the privileged lifestyle of the former owners, one of Australia's wealthiest pioneer families and it reveals the life and times of Melbourne's aristocracy as well as offering an insight into the Gold Rush, Depression and the two World Wars. Click here for the website.

Image Courtesy from National Trust of Australia (Victoria) Facebook

5. Flinders Street Station
Where: Cnr Flinders & Swanston Streets, Melbourne
Details: This station is loaded with history, stand underneath the clocks of Melbourne iconic railway station, or take a train for an outer-Melbourne exploration, join a tour to learn more about the history of this grand building, or go underneath the station to see the changing exhibits that line Campbell Arcade. Click here for the website.

6. Cooks' Cottage
Where: Fitzroy Gardens, Wellington Pde, Melbourne
Details: Built in 1755, Cooks' Cottage is the oldest building in Australia and is a popular Melbourne tourist attraction. The cottage was built by the parents of Captain James Cook and was originally located in England and bought to Australia by Sir Russel Grimwade in 1934. There is amazing history behind this attraction and is certainly worth a visit! There are guided and self-guided tours available. Click here for the website.

Image Courtesy from Visit Victoria Facebook

7. Manchester Unity Building
Where: Cnr Swanston & Collins Streets, Melbourne
Details: The Art Deco architecture of this elegant, heritage-listed landmark was built in 1932 and it takes on a Gothic grandeur exterior. It is worth a visit inside. As you enter the ground-floor arcade, you will see the sand-blasted designs on black marble tablets and friezes, decorative cornices as well as tiling and the ornate elevators. Click here for thet website.

8. Montsalvat
Where: 7 Hillcrest Ave, Eltham
Details: Located on 5 acres, these charming mud brick cottages are of Australia's oldest artists' colony. Today it is still an artist's landmark as it is a sanctuary to artists with studios, art exhibitions, music festivals and a restaurant offering fine French provincial fare. Click here for the website.

Image Courtesy from Montsalvat Facebook

9. Melbourne Town Hall & Grand Organ
Where: 90-120 Swanston St, Melbourne
Details: This is a magnificent heritage building in the heart of the city and it features rich history and features including its auditorium, council chambers and the grand organ. The grand organ features some 10,000 pipes and it is something of a huge secret in Melbourne. It is the largest of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere and you are able to visit this incredible feature of Town Hall as you literally walk through the instrument on guided tours. There is rich history at Town Hall, including the grand organ, it is certainly worth a visit to learn more about the history at this heritage site. Click here for the website.

Image Courtesy from Melbourne Town Hall Grand Organ Facebook

10. Nicholas Building
Where: 27-41 Swanston St, Melbourne
Details: Take the veteran lifts to floor after floor of studios, galleries and curiosities in this heritage-listed creative hub. There is many admiration to enjoy here. Click here for the website.

Image Courtesy from Nicholas Building Association Facebook

11. Nelson Place
Where: Nelson Place, Williamstown
Details: Step back in time and walk the streets of Melbourne's oldest suburb! Nelson Place's heritage streets sit alongside tree lined parks, museums including a serving WWII ship, thriving retail and hospitality shops. There is something for everyone including playground, tennis courts and three heritage walking tours providing a glimpse into the past. Click here for the website.

Image Courtesy from Nelson Place Williamstown Facebook

12. Old Melbourne Gaol
Where: 377 Russell St, Melbourne
Details: Built in the 1800s, this multi-award goal is one of Melbourne's oldest surviving buildings and is one of the city's major attractions. Step inside the imposing bluestone institution, a site of over 130 hangings, a world where some of Australia's most infamous criminals were held, including bushranger Ned Kelly and notorious gangster Squizzy Taylor. There are tours available as well as an experience where you will be 'thrown' into a prison cell to get an experience of how prisoners felt inside the cells as well as night/ghost tours. Click here for the website.

Image Courtesy from National Trust of Australia (Victoria) Facebook

13. Royal Exhibition Building
Where: Cnr Nicholson St & Victoria Pde, Carlton
Details: This building is one of the world's oldest remaining exhibition in the world and it was originally built for the Great Exhibition of 1880. Later it housed the first Commonwealth Parliament from 1901 and it was also the first building in Australia to achieve a World Heritage Listing in 2004. It is no wonder that the Royal Exhibition Building made it on this list! There are tours available departing from Melbourne Museum and events are held here too. Click here for the website.

14. St Michael's Uniting Church
Where: 120 Collins St, Melbourne
Details: This unique church is in the heart of the city and it is not only unique for its relevant, contemporary preaching but for the unusual architecture! Click here for the website.

Image Courtesy from St Michael's Uniting Church, Melbourne Facebook

15. St Patrick's Cathedral
Where: Cnr Gisborne St & Cathedral Pl, East Melbourne
Details: Admire the splendid sacristy and chapels within as well as the floor mosaics, brass items and the gargoyles and spires. Click here for the website.

16. St Paul's Cathedral
Where: Cnr Flinders & Swanston Streets, Melbourne
Details: Take a tour and admire the magnificent organ, the Persian Tile and the Five Pointed Star of the historic St Paul's Cathedral. Click here for the website.

17. Werribee Mansion
Where: Gate 2, K Rd, Werribee
Details: This mansion is a living, breathing postcard of 19th century in Australia. The Mansion was built by wealthy sheep farmers and the Italianate-style architecture with Victorian period interiors are as inspiring today as it was when completed in 1877. There is a formal garden too, which is free entry and the winning Victoria State Rose Garden, which is located within walking distance of Werribee Mansion. It certainly worth checking out. Click here for the website.

Image Courtesy from Parks Victoria Facebook

18. The Scots' Church
Where: Cnr Collins & Russell Streets, Melbourne
Details: Look up and admire the 120-foot spire of this historic church; it was once the highest point of the city skyline and it is decorated with Gothic architecture and stonework which is quite impressive. Click here for the website.

Image Courtesy from Scots' Church Melbourne Facebook

19. Shrine of Remembrance
Where: Birdwood Ave, Melbourne
Details: This is Melbourne's most iconic landmark and Victorians have been coming here since 1934 to honour the service and sacrifice of Australian men and women in war and peacekeeping. For Open House Melbourne, the Shrine will offer further engagement for families with the Shrine Kids program to assist children to understand the purpose of the Shrine and the history behind the building itself. Click here for the website.

20. Old Treasury Building
Where: 20 Spring St, East Melbourne
Details: The Old Treasury is regarded as one of the finest public buildings in Australia. It was completed in 1862 and was the major government office in Melbourne throughout the 19th century and was the second parliament House as the centre of state affairs. Amazingly it was designed by a 19-year-old architect, John James Clack, and it is considered to be one of the finest examples of Renaissance Revival architecture in Australia! Today it is a museum which houses three permanent exhibits. Click here for the website.

Image Courtesy from Old Treasury Building Facebook

21. La Trobe's Cottage
Where: Cnr Birdwood Ave & Dallas Brooks Drive, The Domain, South Yarra
Details: La Trobe's Cottage was Victoria's first Government House and was home to Charles Joseph La Trobe, his wife Sophie and their children from 1839 to 1854. Charles La Trobe was responsible for many cultural aspects of Melbourne including the library, university, museum, hospital and extensive parklands. There are tours available. Click here for the website.

Image Courtesy from National Trust of Australia (Victoria) Facebook
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Why? Admire the heritage & history of Melbourne...
When: All year round
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