Experience Melbourne as you never have before by taking a Strange Tour. The audio tour directs you to the scenes of the secrets, where you listen to re-enactments of events that remain mysterious today.
Each secret takes a few minutes to listen to, with about ten minutes walking time between each. It took me a little over two hours to complete the tour at a leisurely pace.
Disappearance of the Parliamentary Mace
The first secret takes place in 1891, behind a small window in Bourke Street, not far from Parliament House. This risqué story speculates about how the original parliamentary mace disappeared, providing a very saucy explanation. Thrilling, but could be embarrassing to listen to depending on who you're sharing your headphones with.
The scandalous disappearance of the original parliamentary mace was rumoured to have happened behind these very windows.
The Suspicious Origins of Dim Sim Next, you are whisked to Chinatown, 1926. Down a dank, smelly alleyway lay the back entrance to one of Melbourne's then most popular Chinese restaurants. I won't ruin the secret for you, but suffice it to say you will never look at a dim sim the same again. When I went there, there was a crew of fluorescent vest clad workers hosing out a bin, so listening to this creepy secret made their actions seem very suspicious.
The alleyway in Chinatown where the second secret takes place. I recommend standing on the footpath across from it, as exhaust vents line its walls.
Lawlessness threatened Melbourne in 1923, as riots broke out and police officers went on strike. The vibrant Bourke Street mall today, where you are sent for this secret, gives no clues as to the goings on inside the former police recruitment centre located there.
Secret three takes you to the old Buckley and Nunn building.
Boy in the Tower It is 1964 and the Beatles are in Melbourne- but this secret takes place above the throngs of excited fans filling Swanston Street, in the Manchester Unity tower. A shaky-voiced teenager tries to take revenge on the band for stealing the heart of his girlfriend.
A perfect vantage point for an attempted assassination.
Gargoyles Know Secrets Out of all the secrets in the tour, this one is certainly the cutest- told from the perspective of the two gargoyles guarding the Gothic Bank (just above the ANZ Banking Museum). The two year old gargoyles have borne witness to corruption unknown over their stony career.
Last Minutes of one.tel A modern secret, taking place in the year 2000: the demise of major telco, one.tel. This story gives an insight into the final dramatic moments in their call centre, up on the 38th floor of the Rialto. Although, the voice of the frustrated customer service officer sounds suspiciously like the prostitute embroiled in the first secret over a hundred years before...
The Tasty Nightclub in Flinders Lane was a gay clubbing hotspot in the nineties. However in 1994, its patrons were subjected to humiliating stripsearches during the infamous police raid. Learn about what happened- and how the nightclubbers got their revenge- in the final secret of the tour.
The former Tasty Nightclub's entrance- now adjoining Glick's bakery for some after-tour snacks.
The tour concludes not far from Flinders Street station- a convenient choice to get home.
Seven-day access to all seven secrets costs $30, or 24 hour access to individual secrets will cost you $7 per secret. For a five dollar discount on the $30 tour, enter the voucher code NATABDISC5 on the 'Get Started' page.
The tour must be streamed using an internet enabled mobile device. For Android phones, you need to download a free streaming app to listen to the secrets (instructions are provided once you purchase access to the tour). If you have an iPhone, no app needs to be downloaded first and you're ready to go as soon as you purchase access. You can listen to the secrets as many times as you like in the time your link is active for, so it is worth checking your mobile can stream the files before you go.
Natasha's Strange Tour experience was courtesy of True Secrets.