Dust off the oldest pair of pants you have because we’ve just unearthed the best Melbourne itinerary for our city’s biggest history buffs. You’ll find no Top Paddock or Madame Brussels on this list, just unadulterated old stuff in old buildings (no doubt filled with old people). From museums to historic structures, we’ve got them all.
Here’s everything to do in Melbourne if you’re a history buff.
You can’t nosedive into a day of history in our city without first making mention of the Melbourne Museum. This little number is a cesspool of fun facts and interesting anecdotes of times gone by. Check out ‘Melbourne Now’ to orient yourself on our city’s history, and also the fantastic First Peoples and Vikings exhibitions.
National Gallery Of Victoria
The only thing better than history is free history. The ever-luxe NGV on St Kilda Road still maintains multiples floors of free exhibitions all year round. You can even jump on a free tour each day at 11am, 12pm, 1pm and 2pm if you don’t trust yourself not to poke the oil paintings. There’s centuries worth of artwork between these walls (plus a beautiful gift shop if you’re looking to drop a few dollars on some stunning postcards).
State Library Of Victoria
Not only is the State Library’s building a piece of Melbourne’s history itself, but did you know that the famous library also has exhibitions? At various times throughout the day, this structural icon hosts free tours, which means there’s no excuse not to pop your head in and see what all the fuss is about.
Ian Potter Museum Of Art
For you north siders, in case the trip to the NGV takes too much adventuring out of your day, there’s a museum of art hidden in one of our favourite universities. Melbourne University is home to the Ian Potter Museum of Art where you can ogle a vast collection of treasures from the ancient world. While you’re there, make sure to wander around the campus itself as some of its oldest buildings date back as far as the 1850’s.
St James Old Cathedral
Want to feast your eyes on the oldest building in Melbourne? Head straight to St James Old Cathedral in West Melbourne, on the corner of King and Batman Street. It’s still an active Anglican church today, so if you want the full religious experience, pop on over at 10am on a Sunday morning.
Koorie Heritage Trust
The Koorie Heritage Trust at Federation Square brings together Koorie peoples, cultures and communities from the literal and figurative fringes of Melbourne and puts them in one public place where they can be enjoyed. You can even book a guided tour of Melbourne with a local guide who’ll educate you on Australia’s oldest continuous culture.
The Immigration Museum is a great place to immerse yourself in Melbourne’ rich history. This particular museum tells Melbourne’s story through the experiences of people from all over the world who have migrated to Australia. You can learn about why people made the journey, what it was like to arrive here, and the impact on indigenous communities. All-in-all, it’s a very thought-provoking experience that’ll probably fill you with many different emotions as well as a newfound appreciation for your permanent residency.
After a day of romping through our historic city, you’ll no doubt have a hankering for a skinny cap and a stack of fritters. For the cherry on top, head over to Rogue District Cafe in Brunswick, which is set in an old bluestone cottage that used to be home to the Pentridge Prison jail warden (so make sure you pay before you leave).
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Image credit: State Library Of Victoria | Shawn Ang