Melbourne’s best and fairest trade versus heritage

One day in September the best and fairest.

Spring is a special time and the bigmen fly in Melbourne. The Agriculture and Horticulture Show heralds the coming summer caped of by the Spring Racing Carnival.

How things have changed.

Show bags are not longer free and the content is not what they use to be.

Looking back Melbourne also is certainly not what it use to be. Much of its traditions and heritage has changed, not necessary for the better. Thank god we still have the footy and the Brownlow, even if a Victorian team is no longer a certain winner it is good to know that the Grand is still held in Melbourne.

One of Melbourne’s greatest heritage assets is under threat. The Carlton Gardens, which forms part of Melbourne’s and Australia’s only World Heritage Building site is once again under threat of over-development and miss-use. Melbourne’s Museum should never have been built on this site. It most certainly has compromised the significance and integrity of this World Heritage site.
Likewise the Melbourne Flower show is a serious threat to the well being and integrity of the Carlton Gardens, gardens that have been under severe biological and horticultural pressure as a result of the long period of draught. The Garden and Flower show is enjoyed by many and according to the State Government attracts 100,000 visitors. Whilst the setting is transformed and provides a picturesque traditional backdrop the Garden show the event is in reality nothing more then a trade show.

It’s relocation to another site would not harm the event but may save the gardens.

Sadly the show can not be located at the new exhibition buildings complex. “Jeff’s Shed” was another disaster in Melbourne’s planning and like the Museum and the Casino and Federation Square, in reality, another one of those past mistakes that continues to add to the lack of Melbourne’s success. For some unknown reason the Garden and Flower show cannot be re-located to the Agriculture and horticulture showgrounds. (If only the exhibition center was relocated to that site. The State Government in its lack of wisdom has decided that the Flower show is more important then the gardens itself.

The Government is not responsible for the drought but it is responsible for the management of the effects of the draught

What is not as well known is that it was John Brumby that advanced the Royal Exhibition Building‘s nomination for World Heritage.

At the time John was supportive of the local community, academics, town planners, the City Council and the local community, all who opposed the relocation of the Museum to this world heritage listed site. John should think once again about his decision to support the Flower show ahead of Melbourne’s only World Heritage site. Perhaps the show should be relocated on a rotating basis with the Alexander Gardens or better still the show grounds where it should have been in the first place.

Melbourne’s best and fairest trade versus heritage

One day in September the best and fairest.

Spring is a special time and the bigmen fly in Melbourne. The Agriculture and Horticulture Show heralds the coming summer caped of by the Spring Racing Carnival.

How things have changed.

Show bags are not longer free and the content is not what they use to be.

Looking back Melbourne also is certainly not what it use to be. Much of its traditions and heritage has changed, not necessary for the better. Thank god we still have the footy and the Brownlow, even if a Victorian team is no longer a certain winner it is good to know that the Grand is still held in Melbourne.

One of Melbourne’s greatest heritage assets is under threat. The Carlton Gardens, which forms part of Melbourne’s and Australia’s only World Heritage Building site is once again under threat of over-development and miss-use. Melbourne’s Museum should never have been built on this site. It most certainly has compromised the significance and integrity of this World Heritage site.
Likewise the Melbourne Flower show is a serious threat to the well being and integrity of the Carlton Gardens, gardens that have been under severe biological and horticultural pressure as a result of the long period of draught. The Garden and Flower show is enjoyed by many and according to the State Government attracts 100,000 visitors. Whilst the setting is transformed and provides a picturesque traditional backdrop the Garden show the event is in reality nothing more then a trade show.

It’s relocation to another site would not harm the event but may save the gardens.

Sadly the show can not be located at the new exhibition buildings complex. “Jeff’s Shed” was another disaster in Melbourne’s planning and like the Museum and the Casino and Federation Square, in reality, another one of those past mistakes that continues to add to the lack of Melbourne’s success. For some unknown reason the Garden and Flower show cannot be re-located to the Agriculture and horticulture showgrounds. (If only the exhibition center was relocated to that site. The State Government in its lack of wisdom has decided that the Flower show is more important then the gardens itself.

The Government is not responsible for the drought but it is responsible for the management of the effects of the draught

What is not as well known is that it was John Brumby that advanced the Royal Exhibition Building‘s nomination for World Heritage.

At the time John was supportive of the local community, academics, town planners, the City Council and the local community, all who opposed the relocation of the Museum to this world heritage listed site. John should think once again about his decision to support the Flower show ahead of Melbourne’s only World Heritage site. Perhaps the show should be relocated on a rotating basis with the Alexander Gardens or better still the show grounds where it should have been in the first place.

Melbourne’s best and fairest trade versus heritage

One day in September the best and fairest.

Spring is a special time and the bigmen fly in Melbourne. The Agriculture and Horticulture Show heralds the coming summer caped of by the Spring Racing Carnival.

How things have changed.

Show bags are not longer free and the content is not what they use to be.

Looking back Melbourne also is certainly not what it use to be. Much of its traditions and heritage has changed, not necessary for the better. Thank god we still have the footy and the Brownlow, even if a Victorian team is no longer a certain winner it is good to know that the Grand is still held in Melbourne.

One of Melbourne’s greatest heritage assets is under threat. The Carlton Gardens, which forms part of Melbourne’s and Australia’s only World Heritage Building site is once again under threat of over-development and miss-use. Melbourne’s Museum should never have been built on this site. It most certainly has compromised the significance and integrity of this World Heritage site.
Likewise the Melbourne Flower show is a serious threat to the well being and integrity of the Carlton Gardens, gardens that have been under severe biological and horticultural pressure as a result of the long period of draught. The Garden and Flower show is enjoyed by many and according to the State Government attracts 100,000 visitors. Whilst the setting is transformed and provides a picturesque traditional backdrop the Garden show the event is in reality nothing more then a trade show.

It’s relocation to another site would not harm the event but may save the gardens.

Sadly the show can not be located at the new exhibition buildings complex. “Jeff’s Shed” was another disaster in Melbourne’s planning and like the Museum and the Casino and Federation Square, in reality, another one of those past mistakes that continues to add to the lack of Melbourne’s success. For some unknown reason the Garden and Flower show cannot be re-located to the Agriculture and horticulture showgrounds. (If only the exhibition center was relocated to that site. The State Government in its lack of wisdom has decided that the Flower show is more important then the gardens itself.

The Government is not responsible for the drought but it is responsible for the management of the effects of the draught

What is not as well known is that it was John Brumby that advanced the Royal Exhibition Building‘s nomination for World Heritage.

At the time John was supportive of the local community, academics, town planners, the City Council and the local community, all who opposed the relocation of the Museum to this world heritage listed site. John should think once again about his decision to support the Flower show ahead of Melbourne’s only World Heritage site. Perhaps the show should be relocated on a rotating basis with the Alexander Gardens or better still the show grounds where it should have been in the first place.

Rob honoured by the Crown A Right Royal Stuff Up

The theft and destruction of Melbourne’s Crown Jewel at the hands of Rob Adams

If ever there was a excuse (As if we need anther excuse) for Australia to become a Republic it is the news that Melbourne City Council extravagant “Design Me a Job” Rob Adams is included in the Queens Birthday Honours list.

The Age’s Clay Lucas reports that Rob Adams has “Turned the City Around“.

Cow tailing Rob

In 1996 Rob Adams sat back and watched the City decline and go through one of its major planning mistakes in its limited history. Rather then fight for his beliefs Rob Adams soon cow towed to the destructive wishes of the Kennett Government and Mark Birrell in particular when the then state Government decided to hand over prime river frontage to Crown Casino that now dominates much of Melbourne’s cultural precinct.

Along with the Casino land grab Melbourne’s Museum was shifted from “Center Stage” to the Carlton Gardens. Instead of the Museum making a positive contribution to the City of Melbourne it has become a burden to the City and continues to compromise Melbourne’s World World Heritage Site. Both the Museum and the Royal Exhibition Buildings have languished and suffered ever since thanks in part to Rob Adams who was very much at the forefront of this major planning disaster.

Planners, politicians and Architects at the time all criticised the relocation of the museum stating that the Museum need to be part of Melbourne Arts precinct and that the relation to the Carlton Gardens would be a mistake. Rob Adams at the time also agreed and argued that the museum should be incorporated into an expanded Federation Square Development.

As soon as push came to shove – Rob Adams, threatened with exclusion from involvement in major projects, soon capitulated to the demands of the State Government and in the process compromised his own professional standing . Rob Adams and the then City Council under the leadership of Lord Mayor, Ivan Deveson and Deputy Lord Mayor, Peter McMullin, refused to even call on the State Government to subject the Museum development to a proper planning review.

The Museum and the Federation Square project suffered as a result of Adams and the Council’s capitulation. The outcome for Melbourne could have and should have been better for Melbourne. An Opportunity lost forever.

You either believe in a proper planning process or you don’t.

The Federation Square Project, in which Rob Adams played a major role, went though a shame a planning review. A classic case of pulling the cart before the horse with the review being held after the project design was decided. Once again compromising Rob Adams professional reputation.

The Queens Birthday honours could single Rob Adams departure as the City undergoes major restructure and reorganisation.

Whilst Adams has done some good work, and Melbourne paid top dollar for the work and designs he oversaw, he will always be remembered for the day he bent over and sold out the City of Melbourne in the process.

Rob honoured by the Crown A Right Royal Stuff Up

The theft and destruction of Melbourne’s Crown Jewel at the hands of Rob Adams

If ever there was a excuse (As if we need anther excuse) for Australia to become a Republic it is the news that Melbourne City Council extravagant “Design Me a Job” Rob Adams is included in the Queens Birthday Honours list.

The Age’s Clay Lucas reports that Rob Adams has “Turned the City Around“.

Cow tailing Rob

In 1996 Rob Adams sat back and watched the City decline and go through one of its major planning mistakes in its limited history. Rather then fight for his beliefs Rob Adams soon cow towed to the destructive wishes of the Kennett Government and Mark Birrell in particular when the then state Government decided to hand over prime river frontage to Crown Casino that now dominates much of Melbourne’s cultural precinct.

Along with the Casino land grab Melbourne’s Museum was shifted from “Center Stage” to the Carlton Gardens. Instead of the Museum making a positive contribution to the City of Melbourne it has become a burden to the City and continues to compromise Melbourne’s World World Heritage Site. Both the Museum and the Royal Exhibition Buildings have languished and suffered ever since thanks in part to Rob Adams who was very much at the forefront of this major planning disaster.

Planners, politicians and Architects at the time all criticised the relocation of the museum stating that the Museum need to be part of Melbourne Arts precinct and that the relation to the Carlton Gardens would be a mistake. Rob Adams at the time also agreed and argued that the museum should be incorporated into an expanded Federation Square Development.

As soon as push came to shove – Rob Adams, threatened with exclusion from involvement in major projects, soon capitulated to the demands of the State Government and in the process compromised his own professional standing . Rob Adams and the then City Council under the leadership of Lord Mayor, Ivan Deveson and Deputy Lord Mayor, Peter McMullin, refused to even call on the State Government to subject the Museum development to a proper planning review.

The Museum and the Federation Square project suffered as a result of Adams and the Council’s capitulation. The outcome for Melbourne could have and should have been better for Melbourne. An Opportunity lost forever.

You either believe in a proper planning process or you don’t.

The Federation Square Project, in which Rob Adams played a major role, went though a shame a planning review. A classic case of pulling the cart before the horse with the review being held after the project design was decided. Once again compromising Rob Adams professional reputation.

The Queens Birthday honours could single Rob Adams departure as the City undergoes major restructure and reorganisation.

Whilst Adams has done some good work, and Melbourne paid top dollar for the work and designs he oversaw, he will always be remembered for the day he bent over and sold out the City of Melbourne in the process.

Rob honoured by the Crown A Right Royal Stuff Up

The theft and destruction of Melbourne’s Crown Jewel at the hands of Rob Adams

If ever there was a excuse (As if we need anther excuse) for Australia to become a Republic it is the news that Melbourne City Council extravagant “Design Me a Job” Rob Adams is included in the Queens Birthday Honours list.

The Age’s Clay Lucas reports that Rob Adams has “Turned the City Around“.

Cow tailing Rob

In 1996 Rob Adams sat back and watched the City decline and go through one of its major planning mistakes in its limited history. Rather then fight for his beliefs Rob Adams soon cow towed to the destructive wishes of the Kennett Government and Mark Birrell in particular when the then state Government decided to hand over prime river frontage to Crown Casino that now dominates much of Melbourne’s cultural precinct.

Along with the Casino land grab Melbourne’s Museum was shifted from “Center Stage” to the Carlton Gardens. Instead of the Museum making a positive contribution to the City of Melbourne it has become a burden to the City and continues to compromise Melbourne’s World World Heritage Site. Both the Museum and the Royal Exhibition Buildings have languished and suffered ever since thanks in part to Rob Adams who was very much at the forefront of this major planning disaster.

Planners, politicians and Architects at the time all criticised the relocation of the museum stating that the Museum need to be part of Melbourne Arts precinct and that the relation to the Carlton Gardens would be a mistake. Rob Adams at the time also agreed and argued that the museum should be incorporated into an expanded Federation Square Development.

As soon as push came to shove – Rob Adams, threatened with exclusion from involvement in major projects, soon capitulated to the demands of the State Government and in the process compromised his own professional standing . Rob Adams and the then City Council under the leadership of Lord Mayor, Ivan Deveson and Deputy Lord Mayor, Peter McMullin, refused to even call on the State Government to subject the Museum development to a proper planning review.

The Museum and the Federation Square project suffered as a result of Adams and the Council’s capitulation. The outcome for Melbourne could have and should have been better for Melbourne. An Opportunity lost forever.

You either believe in a proper planning process or you don’t.

The Federation Square Project, in which Rob Adams played a major role, went though a shame a planning review. A classic case of pulling the cart before the horse with the review being held after the project design was decided. Once again compromising Rob Adams professional reputation.

The Queens Birthday honours could single Rob Adams departure as the City undergoes major restructure and reorganisation.

Whilst Adams has done some good work, and Melbourne paid top dollar for the work and designs he oversaw, he will always be remembered for the day he bent over and sold out the City of Melbourne in the process.

So What John So puts Melbourne’s Historic Gardens at risk

John So rejects professional advice recommending that the Annual Melbourne Flower Show be relocated to protect Melbourne’s Exhibition Gardens which is already under stress as a result of the drought.

The City Council’s horticultural experts have recommended that the Gardens be relocated to a more suitable alternative site so as to protect the Gardens and Trees.

Local Residents agree and have been calling for the commercial garden show to be moved.

The organisers of the Flower show are more interested in profits then Melbourne’s Parks and Gardens.

John So who has no expertise or understanding of horticulture has rejected the recommendations raising yet again concern over John So’s suitability to protect Melbourne’s Parks and Gardens.

Melbourne is in drought and our parks and gardens are under serious threat and John So, rather then acting to protect the historic trees has now seriously placed them at greater risk. A risk that can not be justified.

If the show is not recolated then the public bococtt it in order to demonstrate their opposition to John So’s irresponsible and reckless action.

Flower show stays despite tree fears
Source: The Age
Clay Lucas, City Reporter
January 15, 2007

Lord Mayor John So has resisted calls for the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show to be moved from Carlton Gardens because of fears its thirsty elms could be harmed by the event.

Melbourne City Council’s water spokesman Brian Shanahan yesterday called on the show, which is likely to attract 125,000 visitors, to be moved.

Cr Shanahan said the show in April would put great stress on the stricken gardens.

The gardens are one of nine heritage-listed parks the council wants exempted from stage 3 restrictions, because of the poor health of some elms and oaks.

It is believed the flower show’s organisers, the International Management Group, will have to apply to City West Water for an exemption to water commercial displays — a move that could stir indignation among Melbourne gardeners who can water their garden only two days a week.

IMG, which pays an annual fee of about $100,000 to run the show in the gardens, would not comment.

The show has been in the Carlton Gardens for the past 11 years and has long infuriated residents, who say it hurts trees and plants.

Last year, thanks to support from Cr So, the five-day show was given another two years in the gardens.

Council has come out several times this week to say the city’s trees are in a dire state because of the drought.

Cr So, who will meet with Environment Minister John Thwaites on Friday to discuss water issues, said the show was too important to move.

“The Gardens and Flower Show is a signature Melbourne event and must stay in the Carlton Gardens,” he said.

Carlton Gardens Group convener Margaret O’Brien said the show would cause the removal of emergency drip systems set up in the gardens, further endangering the struggling trees.

Ms O’Brien said the show should be moved to another venue such as the Showgrounds, the Exhibition Centre or Birrarung Marr.

So What John So puts Melbourne’s Historic Gardens at risk

John So rejects professional advice recommending that the Annual Melbourne Flower Show be relocated to protect Melbourne’s Exhibition Gardens which is already under stress as a result of the drought.

The City Council’s horticultural experts have recommended that the Gardens be relocated to a more suitable alternative site so as to protect the Gardens and Trees.

Local Residents agree and have been calling for the commercial garden show to be moved.

The organisers of the Flower show are more interested in profits then Melbourne’s Parks and Gardens.

John So who has no expertise or understanding of horticulture has rejected the recommendations raising yet again concern over John So’s suitability to protect Melbourne’s Parks and Gardens.

Melbourne is in drought and our parks and gardens are under serious threat and John So, rather then acting to protect the historic trees has now seriously placed them at greater risk. A risk that can not be justified.

If the show is not recolated then the public bococtt it in order to demonstrate their opposition to John So’s irresponsible and reckless action.

Flower show stays despite tree fears
Source: The Age
Clay Lucas, City Reporter
January 15, 2007

Lord Mayor John So has resisted calls for the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show to be moved from Carlton Gardens because of fears its thirsty elms could be harmed by the event.

Melbourne City Council’s water spokesman Brian Shanahan yesterday called on the show, which is likely to attract 125,000 visitors, to be moved.

Cr Shanahan said the show in April would put great stress on the stricken gardens.

The gardens are one of nine heritage-listed parks the council wants exempted from stage 3 restrictions, because of the poor health of some elms and oaks.

It is believed the flower show’s organisers, the International Management Group, will have to apply to City West Water for an exemption to water commercial displays — a move that could stir indignation among Melbourne gardeners who can water their garden only two days a week.

IMG, which pays an annual fee of about $100,000 to run the show in the gardens, would not comment.

The show has been in the Carlton Gardens for the past 11 years and has long infuriated residents, who say it hurts trees and plants.

Last year, thanks to support from Cr So, the five-day show was given another two years in the gardens.

Council has come out several times this week to say the city’s trees are in a dire state because of the drought.

Cr So, who will meet with Environment Minister John Thwaites on Friday to discuss water issues, said the show was too important to move.

“The Gardens and Flower Show is a signature Melbourne event and must stay in the Carlton Gardens,” he said.

Carlton Gardens Group convener Margaret O’Brien said the show would cause the removal of emergency drip systems set up in the gardens, further endangering the struggling trees.

Ms O’Brien said the show should be moved to another venue such as the Showgrounds, the Exhibition Centre or Birrarung Marr.

So What John So puts Melbourne’s Historic Gardens at risk

John So rejects professional advice recommending that the Annual Melbourne Flower Show be relocated to protect Melbourne’s Exhibition Gardens which is already under stress as a result of the drought.

The City Council’s horticultural experts have recommended that the Gardens be relocated to a more suitable alternative site so as to protect the Gardens and Trees.

Local Residents agree and have been calling for the commercial garden show to be moved.

The organisers of the Flower show are more interested in profits then Melbourne’s Parks and Gardens.

John So who has no expertise or understanding of horticulture has rejected the recommendations raising yet again concern over John So’s suitability to protect Melbourne’s Parks and Gardens.

Melbourne is in drought and our parks and gardens are under serious threat and John So, rather then acting to protect the historic trees has now seriously placed them at greater risk. A risk that can not be justified.

If the show is not recolated then the public bococtt it in order to demonstrate their opposition to John So’s irresponsible and reckless action.

Flower show stays despite tree fears
Source: The Age
Clay Lucas, City Reporter
January 15, 2007

Lord Mayor John So has resisted calls for the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show to be moved from Carlton Gardens because of fears its thirsty elms could be harmed by the event.

Melbourne City Council’s water spokesman Brian Shanahan yesterday called on the show, which is likely to attract 125,000 visitors, to be moved.

Cr Shanahan said the show in April would put great stress on the stricken gardens.

The gardens are one of nine heritage-listed parks the council wants exempted from stage 3 restrictions, because of the poor health of some elms and oaks.

It is believed the flower show’s organisers, the International Management Group, will have to apply to City West Water for an exemption to water commercial displays — a move that could stir indignation among Melbourne gardeners who can water their garden only two days a week.

IMG, which pays an annual fee of about $100,000 to run the show in the gardens, would not comment.

The show has been in the Carlton Gardens for the past 11 years and has long infuriated residents, who say it hurts trees and plants.

Last year, thanks to support from Cr So, the five-day show was given another two years in the gardens.

Council has come out several times this week to say the city’s trees are in a dire state because of the drought.

Cr So, who will meet with Environment Minister John Thwaites on Friday to discuss water issues, said the show was too important to move.

“The Gardens and Flower Show is a signature Melbourne event and must stay in the Carlton Gardens,” he said.

Carlton Gardens Group convener Margaret O’Brien said the show would cause the removal of emergency drip systems set up in the gardens, further endangering the struggling trees.

Ms O’Brien said the show should be moved to another venue such as the Showgrounds, the Exhibition Centre or Birrarung Marr.

The Dome by Arnold Zable published 26 September 1996

MELBOURNE ROYAL EXHIBITION BUILDINGS PROPOSED STATE MUSEUM

10 years on and we reflect on the campaign to oppose the relocation of Melbourne’s Museum from the city center to the Royal Exhibition Buildings, Carlton Gardens.

The State Museum in its current site is struggling to attract visitors and is in financial difficulty. The Museum will soon need to expand but has no where other into the park to go. The predictions and concerns of Trevor Huggard, Miles Lewis, myself and others have been proven right.

It was 10 year-ago when Peter McMullin, Ivan Deveson and Rob Adams sold out their integrity under threats by the then Premier of Victoria, Jeff Kennett, to back off from supporting the campaign to have the museum relocated back into the city center. Peter McMullin lost the Deputy Lord Mayors post the following year and failed to be reelected to council in 1999 and 2001. Ivan Deveson lost support and did not stand for re-election in 1999. Rob Adams is still with the City Council but with his reputation stained as a result of his actions.

The Age, the Herald Sun and the people of Melbourne all expressed opposition to the proposed development. In 1999 Jeff Kennett lost office.


[archive publication – a lost opportunity, poor planning and lack of integrity prevailed – Thanks to Bambo Rob and Clown Hall]

The Dome By Arnold Zable. Published 26 September 1996

We called it, simply, ‘the dome.’ We saw it every day, as we made our way from our single-fronted terrace, in Canning street, the three blocks south, to Lee Street Primary school. It was a constant in our lives, the southern boundary of our childhood world, distant, but clearly visible, especially from the open road, where we rode our scooters, raced our bikes, got up to no good, and played epic cricket matches between the Canning and Amess street boys.

The dome: In summers it seemed to shimmer in the crackling heat. On foggy mornings, it emerged, triumphant, from the mists. In late spring, when the poplars on Canning Street regained their leaves, it rose above an avenue of vibrant foliage. The Exhibition Buildings was the first wonder of our childhood world. It was majestic; free standing and unobscured, in a parkland setting. Its Florentine dome overlooked flower beds and shaded paths. It was our grand landmark, our neighbourhood icon. Sometimes we made it inside, under the dome, lured there by the latest show to come to the Exhibition Building. We were engrossed in collecting glossy brochures, and viewing the vast array of cars, boats, camping gear, or whatever, that crammed the exhibition halls. Just occasionally we glanced up and sensed the grandeur of this cavernous wonder, with its maze of galleries and arches, sumptuous ornamentation and towers.

As we grew older, the inner city skyline became more hard edged. Curves and church spires were dwarfed by rectangles and right angles. High rises cluttered the skies. Even then, the dome was still visible. Reduced in scale somewhat; but all the more precious, because it defied the times. It was a constant reminder that there are other possibilities. Other visions. Other ways to design a city.

The Royal Exhibition Building, the dome, and the Carlton Gardens, are now facing a far more lethal threat. In a decision that was made with no public consultation, no impact studies and no historical advice, the new Museum of Victoria lost its half-completed building on Southbank, and is to be built, instead, in the Carlton Gardens.

Not only will the proposed design destroy the free standing nature of the Exhibition Buildings, and not only will its massive bulk, which is over three times the area of the present buildings, impose itself on the gardens, but the dome will be obscured, from the northern view, by a projecting roof blade. According to Miles Lewis, professor of architecture at Melbourne University, this blade has been ‘conceived solely as a feature to compete with the Exhibition buildings dome.’

More disturbing is the brief for the museum design, which states, ‘it is also inevitable that at some time in the future additions to the complex will be required. The building needs to cater for expansion in both its internal planning and its external appearance.’ So the new museum may well pave the way for further intrusion into the Carlton Gardens.

This is far more than a local issue. The Exhibition building is a major part of our nation’s heritage. It was built to house the Great International Exhibition of 1880-81. It was the venue of the Centennial Exhibition of 1888. The first Federal Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia was opened here, in May 1901, with much celebration and ceremony. And it remains, along with the Eiffel Tower of Paris, one of the few structures that were built in the nineteenth century era of great exhibitions.

The Royal Exhibition building is a Victorian icon, and a national treasure. Trevor Huggard, former Lord Mayor, is lobbying the council to nominate it for World Heritage Listing. It is, according to Miles Lewis, the only building in Victoria with any prospect of achieving such an honour. This would mean a lot in terms of tourism and prestige. In fact the building is well placed for such as listing because in the 1980s it was restored to its 1901 concept of colour, design and art decoration.

A group of Melburnians who are enraged by this decision, are still trying, desperately, to get their message across. They first called their group, Defend the Dome. As the issues have broadened, they have renamed themselves, Defend our Heritage. Spokes-people like Anthony van der Craats, Mary-lou Jelbart and Trevor Huggard, continually point out, there are a number of far more preferable sites for the new museum, such as the vacant CUB site, Queen Victoria site, or the former police head quarters in Russell street. Building the museum on one of these sites, would help the inner city revive. It would place the museum where it belongs, as part of the cultural spine of the city.

And it would be a boon city businesses in the CBD, already in decline as the focus shifts to the casino complex on Southbank. Inner city businesses face a loss of revenue from a projected one million annual visitors to the new museum. It is only once in a life time that the opportunity comes to create a great new building for this purpose. Melbourne deserves a world class museum, where it belongs, in the heart of the city.

It is not too late to reverse this decision. The cyclone fences have gone up. The bulldozers are at work. But the contracts for the building have not been finalised. This is written as a plea to the premier, his government, his planning minister, those who hold the reins of power, that for the sake of our city, for the sake of future generations, stop, rethink, take a look at what you are doing.

You are destroying a place of grace and grandeur. You are destroying the peaceful ambiance of its surrounds. You are destroying the work and vision of our collective past. You are destroying aspects of our common heritage. Yes, our heritage. At the same time, you are consigning the new Museum of Victoria to the city fringes.

Stop it before it is too late. Institute a stay of execution. Set up a process of genuine public consultation and review. Allow the broader community to be informed. And, above all, spend some time in the gardens to absorb its serenity. Walk the road that leads to the dome, and contemplate what you are about to do. It is so obviously wrong.

Arnold Zable is a Melbourne based writer. In the 1970s he taught a course in urban and environmental politics at Melbourne University.

Comment made in 1996 in relation to Jeff Kennett, Premier of Victoria 1992 – 1999

We have a state government that loves to congratulate itself on its great works, and on the way it is transforming the city. But the reality is, that it is intruding into our parks and gardens, making crucial decisions with little consultation, and without regard to overall strategic planning. And in the process it has left a lot of people feeling powerless, disenfranchised and unwilling to speak out.

The article by Arnold Zable printed above records a significant turning point in the history of the Royal Exhibition Buildings in Melbourne and it’s nomination for World Heritage, the development of Melbourne’s Museum and the campaign to have the Museum of Victoria relocated.

It records part of the missing chapter in the history of the Royal Exhibition Buildings written by David Dunstan, historian.

IN 1996 a meeting between John Brumby, former leader of the Victorian State opposition, Trevor Huggard, former City of Melbourne Lord Mayor and Exhibition Buildings Trustee, Sigmund Jorgensen, Montsalvat Arts Foundation and Anthony van der Craats, Carlton Resident and community activist, took place in the Victorian State Parliament to discuss issues of concern and opposition to the then proposed development of Melbourne Museum adjacent to the Royal Exhibition Buildings.

It was at this meeting that John Brumby first proposed and supported the listing of the Royal Exhibition Buildings on the World Heritage List in hope that the nomination would cause Jeff Kennett, Premier of Victoria 1992-1996, to rethink the proposed development of Melbourne’s Museum in the Carlton Gardens. At the time Jeff Kennett opposed the World Heritage Listing.

In 1979 history has recorded that Jeff Kennett, as a Liberal State Minister, proposed the demolition of the Royal Exhibition Buildings. Whilst he managed to demolish the Royal Ball Room he was unsuccessful in his desire to see the Royal Exhibition Buildings demolished.

The National Trust’s expert building committee opposed the design and development of Melbourne’s Museum citing that the development was not in keeping with the scale, design and significance of the site. Dr Miles Lewis, Architectural Historian and member of the National Trust’s historic building committee express serious concern at the failure of the Kennett State Government to subject the proposed development to a proper planning process and assessment.

The Board of the National Trust, who had an on going business relationship and close association with the Museum of Victoria, overturned, to the dismay of it’s members, the recommendation of the Trust’s expert committee.

In December 1996 Anthony van der Craats, was elected to the Board of Directors of the National Trust of Australia (Victoria) in opposition to the determination of the Board to overturn the recommendation of the expert committee. He served as a Councillor of the National Trust for three years until 1999. He was later joined by fellow activists Julianne Bell and Mary-lou Jellbart both who were elected to the Board of the National Trust in 1997 and 1998 respectively.

Whilst the community campaign to stop the Museum development in 1996 was unsuccessful, John Brumby, who later became Victoria’s Treasure in late 1999, recommended and approved the nomination for World Heritage Listing.

The Royal Exhibition building is Australia’s first building to listed for World Heritage. There continues to be ongoing concern and issues related to the Museum which was built adjacent to the Royal Exhibition Buildings prior to the World Heritage Listing.

The following persons deserve recognition for their contributions for the preservation of this magnificent historical Melbourne Icon.

Trevor Huggard, former Lord Mayor of Melbourne and Member of the Exhibition Trustees;
Linton Lethlean, former Director Exhibition Trustees, who faithfully restored the Royal Exhibition buildings to its original deign;
Mark Duckworth, former Melbourne City Councillor and member of the Exhibition Trustees
David Dunstan, historian who wrote the history of the Royal Exhibition Buildings;
Miles Lewis, for his endless work and professionalism in supporting the nomination for World Heritage and his tireless contributions to the preservation of Melbourne’s history;
Mary-Lou Jellbart, Arts Broadcaster and former Councillor National Trust of Victoria;
Carlton Community who have been its protector and neighbour without whom the Carlton Gardens and the Royal Exhibition Buildings would not exist today.