Rialto Precinct - Historic Area


Collins, Willam, King Streets and Flinders Lane,, MELBOURNE VIC 3004 - Property No B7244

File Number




Statement of Significance

The Rialto Precinct Historic Area consists predominatly of two streetscapes of major significance linked by a key corner building; together with the remnant of a small private square as an enviromental area. The block formed has been described (Bulter 1976) as the 'centre of primary production companies in Melbourne'. These are impressive speculative commercial facades to Collins Street with stores to the rear and to King Street, carefully designed to provide excellent 'off street' loading for produce, in close proximity to the Yarra wharves and quayside, to railway termini and all of the supportive industries which have, over several re-generations of the area (through wool, grain and general shipping storage to dairy producers in the twentieth century), comprised an homogenous group of functions related to primary industry. This represents the movement of the commercial centre of Melbourne from the Flinders Street waterfront to Collins Street West. The splendid Collins Street streetscape contains the most popular collection of buildings in Melbourne, particularly the group from the Rialto to the Olderfleet. This latter group represents the most intact and striking examples collectively, of the late 1880-90s boom period commercial buildings of Melbourne. The style range from freely adapted Venetian Gothic to the Classical and represent the period in the richness of their decoration. The more classically frenestrated commercial warehouse facades of King Street have definite similarities within themselves, but it is the indispensible linch-pin of the corner Robbs Building which forms the key element, binding securely the two streetscapes as though leaves of a broad hinge, into one unified urban composition. This is why the retention of Robbs Building within the Historic Area is essential.
Classified: 01/10/1973




Commercial Precinct