August 08, 2016

A History of Collins Street

Running east to west in Melbourne’s CBD is one of the most famous streets in Australia: Collins Street. Today, it is home to the Novotel Melbourne on Collins hotel and some of the best shopping in the country. Numerous original Victorian buildings still grace Collins Street today among modern retail stores and high-end boutiques. The Novotel Melbourne is a perfect getaway for families, couples, and individuals alike.

Numerous prestigious financial institutions line portions of Collins Street, marking its historical financial importance. However, many Melbourne residents aren’t aware of its rich and storied history.

Humble Beginnings in the 1800s



Surveyor Robert Hoddle mapped the original road, and it was named for Lieutenant-Governor David Collins. Collins was one of the area’s earliest settlers, founding Sorrento and going on to become the first governor of Tasmania.

The mid-1850s brought improvements to Collins Street, including the installation of bluestone curbs, a drainage system and gas-fuelled street lights. Around 1875, the elm trees that have graced the street today were first planted, and a cable tram line was established.

By the 20th century, many doctors had set up shop on Collins Street. The Melbourne Club on Collins became a cultural draw, and the city’s artists gravitated toward Grosvenor Chambers. It also became Melbourne’s financial centre, and between Elizabeth and King Streets you’ll still find many banks and financial businesses. Retail stores were established between Elizabeth and Swanston, planting the seeds for present-day development.

A Mid-Century Rejuvenation of Collins Street



By the late 1950s, a redevelopment of Collins Street was underway. Unfortunately, quite a bit of historic architecture was lost; however, numerous historic churches remain as well as some Victorian style commercial buildings. The Block Arcade, Alston's Corner and many bank buildings offer a glimpse into the past.

Collins Street Overflows with Retail and Entertainment Options



Present-day Collins Street is home to stores offering just about every major brand you can name. Retail centres include Block Arcade, Collins 234, Georges on Collins, Collins Place, Centreway, and the newly opened St. Collins Lane located under the hotel. Prada, Armani, Tiffany & Co., Louis Vuitton, Coach, and TAG Heuer are just a sampling of the flagship stores established on Collins Street. An abundance of dining options, theatres, and entertainment venues offer something for everyone.

The Novotel Melbourne on Collins is surrounded by the history and grandeur of Melbourne’s roots. With so much to explore just steps away from the hotel, it’s the perfect home away from home. Novotel Melbourne is a family-friendly hotel, with modern decor and conveniences. For a memorable dining experience, take advantage of Lane Restaurant and Bar, featuring Melbourne’s best produce and local wines in a prime location overlooking iconic Collins Street.