Museum Victoria Home Marvellous Melbourne
Home Early Days Gold Rush Town 1880s Boom Powered City City of Contrasts Postwar City

Postwar City — the 1950s

Host to the Olympic Games in 1956, Melbourne was transformed in the years that followed. Buildings grew taller, traffic got thicker, and new arrivals brought new ideas.

Many old buildings, with their stone gargoyles and cast-iron lacework, tumbled under the wrecker's ball. The central city rang with the din of jackhammers. Glass and steel skyscrapers reached into the air — symbols of enterprise.

Immigrants from continental Europe brought their distinctive cultures to the city. New flavours were added to the arts. European-style cafes gave the city pockets of sophistication.

But Melbourne was still a '9 to 5' city. Hordes of cars from the suburbs jammed city streets in rush hours. As soon as offices emptied, streets were deserted.

Nevertheless, the blueprint of today's Melbourne was in place.


Collins Street
magnifyCollins Street from Russell Street, 1967

© Museum Victoria Australia