Melbourne Photos

Cathedral Arcade

Almost hidden away in the bottom of The Nicholas Building is the Cathedral Arcade.

Cathedral Arcade, Melbourne

I can’t say I frequent the quaint shops in there — I just use it as a shortcut — but that ceiling is quite amazing.

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

8 replies on “Cathedral Arcade”

That is a nice curve for sure. I know my husband, being a carpenter, notices things like that, more so than myself. It’s very rare, these days to see something that complicated. Because an vaulted ceiling (I think that that is what it’s called) requires so much more craftmanship than many are willing to do these days.

Nice picture of it, btw.

Probably what impresses me more than the curve to it is the amount of light. Not even sure if it’s natural or artificial. Perhaps the latter as it seems pretty even all the way along.

Yes, actually that design would let in a lot more light than a flat ceiling. Likely some smart person thought “let’s let the maximum amount of light into this dingy tunnel”. And it seems to have worked

I’m in the same boat as Daniel, although I don’t really find it saves much time short-cutting from Swanston St to Flinders La through it.

If you want a trip that is amazing… catch the lifts in this building, just to go up to a Button shop, for example. They are so old that they have lift operators! And in one of the lifts they are completely covers in animal pictures (usually dogs). it is an amazing building, and worthy of it’s heritige listing.

The Nicholas building opened in 1925 or thereabouts. The main tenant at street level originaly was Coles Variety. An advertisement I have at home from 1926 was a full page spread in the new Sun about the opening. It was the first of three (to my knowledge) Coles Variety stores in the city centre. The other two were in Bourke Street (one is now part of David Jones, the other lasted much longer and is now Target, but began life as the now long extenct Mantons department store)

Coles in the Nicholas building, as the ad described, took up part of the ground floor and the entire basement, with the Cathedral Arcade I presume taking the remainder of the retail space on the ground floor. I guess the combination of the Coles and the arcadde near the station would have made it quite busy in its day. Today its sadly a grotty area – the basement became a McDonalds in part (remeber going there once when I was a kid) 30 or so years ago before moving closer to Flinders Street. Currently its Arthur Daley’s ‘Junk Emporium’ for lack of a better tern, complete with late 70’s McDonalds brown tiles on the floor and a change of ceiling where the old counter was.

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