Of course, the Sydney and Melbourne buildings were once the commercial heart of early Canberra.
They were and they actually remain to this day as a gateway to our CBD
And they tell visitors you have arrived.
Well I'm here in the Sydney and Melbourne buildings. I think two of Canberra's most important
landmark buildings. They talk about the early history of our city and demonstrate
the kind of civic pride that we need for these buildings within the city centre.
One of the really special things about the Sydney and Melbourne buildings is they
mark the gateway to Civic. Which is our main town centre our central business district.
This is the pedestrian heart of Canberra the most pedestrianized street
Part of the heritage value and the iconic status of the buildings is just
due to their scale and their visual interest
the facade the colonnade the terraces above they all contribute to something
that people remember and like
These buildings I believe have a place in the heart of many of the citizens of Canberra
There's a familiarity about them and I think there's a fondness about them
I remember the first time I came to Canberra as a child. Coming down
Northbourne Avenue and seeing these buildings and thinking about their distinctiveness.
So it's got little all these layers of history and I just think
it's got a lot of firsts I guess. It's where a lot of the first things that happened in Canberra.
Grocery shops, butchers, the first banks were in this area
Various bars and restaurants that have been here over the last 50 years.
The Sydney and Melbourne buildings have to a large extent being languishing for at least
the past two decades. It's a really long time, and the Canberra community really
is quite interested in seeing the urban renewal and
renaissance of this important part of Canberra's heritage and history.
They're fantastic assets for our city and they are crucial to the revitalization effort that we're
undertaking as part of the renewal of our city center.
So it needs input from the city as well as input from private owners, it has to be human-friendly
It has to be person-friendly and at the the moment you know it's sometimes quite a
harsh urban-area that you have to kind of get through, to get from one side of
the city to the other.
There aren't very many really old spaces in Canberra like
this so the fact that urban renewal is happening and that government's working
in partnership with the property owners and with the community
and actually getting things done is actually really exciting.
They're about this kind of coherency that gives them their strong character and then about the
richness and diversity of the occupation and the things that happen within them.
What's good about this, I think is that at a time when Canberra was brand new I
was literally sitting in the middle of a dust bowl.
I mean the road alongside us
now wasn't even paved until ten years after these buildings were finished.
At that time it stood for confidence. It told people at the time it was built that
we're here to stay. And sort of made it a bit Canberran and a bit Australian and
said well we're a big country it's a hot sun will make the colonnade nice and deep.
It'll look different at night than during the day and that's what the best
architecture does. It changes its meaning, it's character, its appeal, depending on
whether it's raining or sunny or nighttime.
So I think it's architectural important because it's such a simple answer and it's lasted
this amount without anybody feeling like I should knock it down.
Quite an achievement really, like not getting divorced.