Museums Victoria unveils a new era for the Royal Exhibition Building

Museums Victoria today unveiled a 26-metre-tall Sylph of Spring, adorning the scaffolding over the front of the World Heritage listed Royal Exhibition Building.

The 26-metre-tall Sylph of Spring.

This magnificent figure is usually only seen by those inside the building, being a part of a decorative scheme designed by John Ross Anderson for the opening of Federal Parliament in 1901. An allegorical painting found on the interior of the Building's Dome, she has been reinterpreted and printed on to shade cloth, to beautify the construction phase of the Royal Exhibition Building Protection and Promotion Project. 

Lynley Crosswell, CEO of Museums Victoria said of the art installation, "The Royal Exhibition Building – one of only three World Heritage listed culture sites in Australia – will soon feature a new façade and rooftop deck offering magnificent views across the Melbourne city skyline.  We want the public to be as excited as we are of this transformation. The new scaffold artwork signals the beginning of the Building’s next chapter, spotlighting the opulence of the Building’s interiors and providing a backdrop worthy of the beautiful Carlton Gardens."

Royal Exhibition Building interior showing detail of dome and arches in the Great Hall area.
The interior of the Royal Exhibition Building's Dome.

The $20 million Commonwealth-funded project will help to preserve and secure the future of the Royal Exhibition Building.  Representing the only Great Hall from a major industrial exhibition to survive the nineteenth century, the Building and the surrounding Carlton Gardens were inscribed on the World Heritage list in 2004. 

As the Building's committed custodians, Museums Victoria have engaged specialist heritage builders HBS Group, architects Lovell Chen and AECOM’s management services for the redevelopment, with project deliverables including restoration works and the reintroduction of the 360-degree Dome Promenade, a popular attraction from the 1880 Melbourne International Exhibition and the 1888 Melbourne Centennial International Exhibition.  When complete, visitors will gain access to the Dome via a new lift installed in the same location as the original 1888 Waygood elevator.  The attraction will also include an exhibition showcasing unique stories from the life of this remarkable building. 

It is expected that the project will be completed by early 2020.

Interviews available with:

  • Curatorial and Project Management team, Museums Victoria
  • Architects, Lovell Chen

For more information contact:

A grey icon of a person
Bronwen Sewell
Community and Media Contact, Royal Exhibition Building
[email protected]
0478 401 003

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