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National Heritage listing for Queen Victoria Market

Published: Sunday, 22 July 2018

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THE HON JOSH FRYDENBERG MP
Minister for the Environment and Energy

MEDIA RELEASE

22 July 2018

NATIONAL HERITAGE LISTING FOR QUEEN VICTORIA MARKET

Queen Victoria Market – Melbourne’s pantry for almost 150 years – will be added to our National Heritage List, becoming the 114th place to be included in the list of Australia’s pre-eminent heritage sites.

“Queen Victoria Market has outstanding heritage value to the nation as the site of Melbourne’s first official burial place and as one of the great 19th century metropolitan markets in Australia,” Minister Frydenberg said.

“Today’s listing elevates the Market to the status of other National Heritage places such as the Melbourne Cricket Ground, Bondi Beach and the Australian War Memorial.”

An estimated 6500 burial sites remain under the Market’s sheds, stores and car park, on the edge of Melbourne CBD. The city’s first official cemetery, dating back to 1837, is believed to be the largest early colonial cemetery in Australia. It was the resting place for almost all Melbournians – settlers and Aboriginal people alike across all religious denominations – who died before 1854.

A section of the 1878 cemetery wall is the only above-ground evidence of the site that remains. These burials have national significance for what they have the potential to tell us of the diet, diseases, lifestyle and burial customs of early Melbourne society.

“This listing also celebrates the vibrant living culture and character of the Queen Victoria Market,” Minister Frydenberg said.

“For almost 150 years, it has sustained Melbourne, first as a meat market and then as a food and produce market.”

Before the advent of supermarkets, produce markets were commonplace across our cities, supporting Australia’s urbanisation by supplying meat, fruit and vegetables to city dwellers and providing work and income for recently arrived migrants. Over its long and continuous history of operation, the Queen Victoria Market has been transformed by revolutions in food distribution and retailing, from electricity and running water to refrigeration and trucking. 

“The colour, noise and traditions of market trading continue to this day within the Victorian-era structures, layout and fittings that make it such a grand old part of the Australian story,” Minister Frydenberg said.

Ends

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