The Lost City of Melbourne + Director Q&A



None scheduled.


Melbourne in the 1850s was the fastest growing city in the world. “They dreamt big, they built big….it was a city jumping out of its skin”. As Melbourne grew, it became an epicentre of film culture and its hotels, restaurants and cafes became world renowned. Coupled with the city’s grand Victorian architecture, it was a first-class destination for travellers. But, in the 1950s, with the impending Olympic Games, Melburnians felt a deep-seated feeling of embarrassment that they might be perceived as backward on the world’s stage. Our buildings were deemed too Victorian, too old fashioned and the demolition blitz began. Whelan The Wrecker was brought in to demolish the old city and over the next twenty years we lost many treasured buildings. With the introduction of television, the same year as the Olympic Games, the audiences for our cinemas were decimated and they too were felled by the wrecker’s ball. When Melbourne was primed to lose the Regent Theatre to make way for a city square, the population was galvanised into saving what they still had left. Using a treasure trove of rare and stunning film archive from the NFSA and photography from the likes of Mark Strizic & Wolfgang Sievers, this is a story of Melbourne… The Lost City of Melbourne.