The South West Aspect of the Main Hall from Victoria Street, 1880. Reproduced from a watercolour in Museum Victoria's Collection.
Image: Museum Victoria
Source: Museum Victoria
In October 2009, Museum Victoria, in collaboration with a number of partners, commenced a major project to reconstruct the 1880 garden layout of the western forecourt of the Royal Exhibition Building. Funded by a $5.3 million grant from the Victorian Government, the project was completed in February 2011.
The western forecourt has seen much change over the past 130 years. In 1880 it featured a circular drive and garden which were partly covered in 1888 by a temporary annexe built for the Melbourne Centennial International Exhibition. The circular garden bed was reinstated at the close of the Exhibition in 1889, and remained largely intact until the 1950s when the whole site was covered in asphalt.
World Heritage, World Futures: A Sustainable Conservation Project for the Royal Exhibition Building comprised three major phases:
- Phase 1: archaeological exploration
- Phase 2: installation of an underground water tank
- Phase 3: restoration of the 1880s garden
The funding for this project was provided from the Victorian Property Fund on the approval of the Minister for Consumer Affairs.