opening the secret door.

Sunday 31 July 2011

I have a lingering childhood fantasy of finding a secret door in a place I know well and discovering a cavernous wonderland beyond. This weekend, a handful of buildings that I pass day to day, opened up to the public as part of Melbourne Open House. It was such a joy to fulfil my fantasy and discover some truly amazing hidden spaces. My two top picks were the Mission to Seafarers and the Myer Mural Hall.

The grand Art Deco interior of the Myer Mural Hall located on the 6th floor of the department store I've been going to almost all my life. Murals by Napier Waller, 1934.  I personally loved the exquisitely detailed chandeliers pictured bottom right. Photographs by me.

Mission to Seafarers. I suspect most Melbournians are unaware that this powerful, domed interior exists. Photos by me.

Whilst I reveled in the discovery of these spaces, I also longed to see two more spaces that were not open; the crumbling Flinders Street Ballroom (which I must walk under several times a week) and the alleged Flinders Street Bowling Alley.

The Flinders Street Ballroom, which has been in disrepair and vacant for years. Image via. Fingers crossed it will one day be restored.
Legend has it that there is an old Bowling Alley in the underpass between Degraves Street and Flinders Street station. The entry has since been boarded up but apparently it's still there. I haven't found any photographs of it so my inquisitive and imaginative mind is going to pretend it's like one of these spaces:

Bowling Saloon in Ballarat. Photograph by Vladamir Minakov via Panoramio
Bowling alley in the basement of the Frick Collection Museum in NYC. Image via Kottke

The Spare Room in Hollywood designed by the Studio Collective. Image via The Cool Hunter.


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