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Melbourne experiences and attractions

Royal Exhibition Building - World Heritage Site

Melbourne’s Royal Exhibition Building is one of the world's oldest remaining exhibition pavilions, originally built for the Great Exhibition of 1880. It housed the first Commonwealth Parliament from 1901, and was the first building in Australia to achieve a World Heritage listing.

Designed by architect Joseph Reed, who also designed the Melbourne Town Hall and the State Library of Victoria, the eclectic design was said to be inspired by many sources including the Florence Cathedral, elements from Byzantine, Romanesque, and Italian Renaissance buildings; and several buildings from Normandy, Caen and Paris. During a visit to Victoria in 1984, Princess Alexandra, Queen Elizabeth II's cousin, bestowed the royal title on the building and it has been referred to as the Royal Exhibition Building ever since.

To fully understand its significance in Melbourne’s history, take a guided tour which starts at the Melbourne Museum next door. The surrounding Carlton Gardens are also Heritage-listed as a striking example of late 19th century gardens. The International Flower and Garden Show, the largest in the Southern Hemisphere, is held here every autumn, erupting in an indoor and outdoor extravaganza of floral colours and design.