It was the gold rush in colonial Victoria that spurred the 1858–1862 construction of a Treasury Building in Melbourne. 150 years on, the heritage listed Old Treasury Building remains one of Melbourne’s most iconic and historically significant public buildings.
The Old Treasury Building is a legacy of Melbourne’s golden past. The gold pouring into Melbourne from the diggings led the city to become, for a period of time, one of the wealthiest cities in the world.
As well as being built to store the colony’s gold, the Old Treasury Building provided offices for Victoria’s political and administrative leaders. These included the Governor, Premier, Treasurer, Registrar, making it second only to Parliament House as the centre of state affairs in Victoria.
Designed by 19-year-old architectural prodigy John James Clark (1838–1915) the Old Treasury Building drew inspiration from classical and renaissance European designs. The result is now internationally acknowledged as Australia’s finest Renaissance Revival building and the country’s most important 19th century government building.
To coincide with the 150th anniversary the fascinating exhibition, Gold and Governors: 150 years of the Old Treasury Building provides visitors with a glimpse into the marvellous history of one of Melbourne’s finest buildings.
This exhibition showcases the extraordinary array of building records held in the collection of Public Record Office Victoria, exploring the design, construction and remarkable stories about the Old Treasuring Building by JJ Clark.
Gold and Governors illustrates the life and works of the young JJ Clark through a number of original works by the architect, including drawings, paintings and plans of the Old Treasury Building and a variety of his Victorian and interstate building designs which have been compiled from Public Record Office Victoria’s Collection as well as a number of lenders.
Associated with the exhibition will be a series of events including lectures and seminars, heritage walking tours, education programs and a launch of the biography of JJ Clark.
Gold and Governors: 150 years of the Old Treasury Building is on display at the Old Treasury Building from 17 April to 30 November 2012. For further information and to view opening times visit www.oldtreasurybuilding.org.au. Entry is free.
Exhibition curated by Dr Belinda Nemec and Dr Andrew Dodd, based on the research of Dr Andrew Dodd.
Caption: The Treasury Building, c. 1875. The terrace on the southern end has since been demolished. Collection of State Library of Victoria.