1865 Collins Street looking West from Spring Street


Collins Street taken in 1865, looking West from the intersection with Spring Street. Charles Nettleton captured this scene from the newly-erected Treasury Building.

The first crossroad is Stephen Street, later renamed Exhibition Street. The second crossroad is Russell Street, and you can make out the statue dedicated to Burke and Wills, leaders of the ill-fated expedition. In the house on the corner, with the garden, lived Dr Godfrey Howitt. It was his nephew, Alfred Howitt, who was chosen to lead the search and rescue mission to find out what had happened to the Burke and Wills expedition. He succeeded in finding King alive and brought him back to Melbourne to a hero's welcome, and then went back to Cooper's Creek (middle of absolutely nowhere) to gather the remains of Burke and Wills and bring them home. Alfred Howitt was a remarkable man and I urge you to read about him here http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/howitt-alfred-william-510

The magnificent monument to Burke & Wills stands in the centre of the intersection of Collins and Russell Streets. This bronze sculpture was created by Charles Summers in 1865, just four years after the tragic death of the expedition leaders.

Originally sited on the corner of Collins and Russell Streets, the increase in Melbourne's traffic and the laying of tram tracks led to the monument being moved in 1886 to a reserve in Spring Street, opposite Parliament House on the corners of Spring, Lonsdale and Nicholson Streets. In 1973 the monument was again moved, this time to Carlton Gardens while Parliament Station was constructed. Then in 1979 the monument was positioned in the new City Square on the corner of Swanston and Collins Streets. Its position directly above a waterfall caused some damage from corrosion. In 1994 the statue was restored and moved back to the corner of Swanston and Collins Streets in the City Square. 2017 saw the statue placed in storage whilst the Metro Rail Project is underway, and will not be seen again in public until around 2023 after the Project is completed, but its proposed location is still undecided.

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Photograph by Charles Nettleton.

This is a digitally retouched reproduction of the original held by the State Library of Victoria. All prints are reproduced without the HOTPRESS watermarks.

Our team of conservators have worked on a high resolution digital image in order to remove blemishes and artifacts such as stains, mould, scratches and damage caused by the handling of the original. We strive to provide authentic representations of the original work that are suitable for enlargements that retain the tones and character of the original.

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