Collection Online
oil on canvas
71.8 × 92.2 cm
Place/s of Execution
Melbourne, Victoria
inscribed in brown paint l.l.: Henry Burn 1861.
Accession Number
Australian Painting
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Gift of John H. Connell, 1914
Gallery location
Gallery 5
Level 2, NGV Australia
Subjects (general)
Cityscapes Daily Life Travel
Subjects (specific)
Australia (nation) carriages (vehicles) cathedrals (works by context) equestrians Melbourne (inhabited place) pedestrians street scenes Victoria (state)

The riches of the gold rush bankrolled the development of Victoria, and the Museum of Art was also the beneficiary of this flush of riches pulled from the ground. Henry Burn’s scenic picture of Swanston Street gives charming insight into Melbourne in 1861, the year the Gallery was founded. Here is a city on the rise. The hotel on the corner will later become Young & Jackson’s; St Paul’s Church will be transformed into St Paul’s Cathedral; tombstones on the site of the coroner’s office are spaced across the area that we now know as Federation Square that, at the time, also backed onto the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages, from where the bride and groom in the carriage have presumably just come; and the wide expanse of Swanston Street bustles with a burgeoning population of Melbournians – and their little dogs.


FRAME: Original, maker unknown, surface not original