Accommodation in Melbourne Australia | Rydges Melbourne Hotel | Local Area
18 Mar - 24 Apr 2016

Matilda the Musical

13 May - 12 Jun 2016

The Sound of Music

07 May - 05 Jun 2016

Singing in The Rain

23 Mar - 17 Apr 2016

Melbourne Comedy Festival 2016

11 Dec - 24 Aug 2016

Andy Warhol/Ai Weiwei Exhibition

20 - 21 Feb 2016

White Night Melbourne

04 Feb - 01 Mar 2016

Chinese New Year

12 - 13 Mar 2016

South East Asia Festival 2016

16 - 20 Mar 2016

Melbourne International Flower & Garden Show 2016

11 - 14 Mar 2016

Moomba Festival 2016

17 - 20 Mar 2016

2016 Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix

04 - 13 Mar 2016

Melbourne Food and Wine Festival 2016

05 Feb - 13 Mar 2016

Ghost The Musical

19 - 21 Feb 2016

Fat Freddy's Drop

24 - 24 Feb 2016

The Game

04 - 14 Feb 2016

Effie The Virgin Bride

07 - 13 Mar 2016

Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival 2016

19 Mar - 09 Oct 2016

Jurassic World The Exhibition

05 Mar - 10 Jul 2016

Marilyn Monroe Exhibition

26 - 26 Mar 2016

Ben & Holly's Little Kingdom

24 - 25 Mar 2016

Ross Noble, Brain Dump

25 - 25 Apr 2016


05 - 24 Apr 2016

Carl Barron, Drinking with a Fork

02 - 02 Apr 2016

The Summer Heights High Mr. G Singalong

07 - 16 Apr 2016

Tom Gleeson - Great

09 - 17 Apr 2016

Peter Helliar - One Hot Mess

12 - 21 Apr 2016

Lucia Di Lammermoor

13 - 22 May 2016

Good Beer Week 2016

Things To Do

Our CBD Melbourne accommodation options put guests in heart of culture, sports, shopping

Rydges Melbourne sits in the heart of the city’s vibrant theatre district and is close to a number of sports venues including Melbourne Cricket Ground (the MCG), Etihad Stadium, Rod Laver Arena and Melbourne Park. Our CBD Melbourne hotel is near Chinatown as well as exclusive Collins Street boutiques and world-famous Bourke Street Mall for Melbourne shopping.

Catching public transportation from our CBD Melbourne hotel is easy, with a bus stop right on Exhibition Street, Parliament Railway Station one block away on Spring Street and a tram stop on Bourke Street just 50 meters away. Our prompt and courteous concierges can help you catch a taxi right in front of the hotel and will accommodate any of your public transportation needs by providing useful and timely information.

Things to do in Melbourne CBD

There are many reasons to stay, explore and enjoy Melbourne’s CBD. Of course, ‘CBD’ stands for Central Business District but there is much more to this CBD than business – there’s stunning architecture, history, shopping, theatre and dining out plus something that is hard to define – ‘atmosphere’. Without even venturing across the Yarra River or to the many attractions on the city fringe there is plenty to reward… and all just a walk from Rydges Melbourne.

Let’s begin with the iconic Flinders Street Railway Station. Built in 1854, its main platform is the longest in the country. It’s a wonderful spot just to hang about and observe and absorb the passing parade. Across the road (corner of Swanston and Flinders) is St Paul’s Anglican Cathedral. It’s Gothic with a 96-metre spire, one of the best cathedral organs in Australia and the choir sings an evensong daily.

Livelier evensong might be heard from within Young & Jacksons hotel. This is an excellent pub and home to Chloe, the famous nude painted by 19th century French artist, J.J. Lefevre. Chloe is there in all her glory (modest by today’s standards), upstairs, during pub hours.

Diagonally opposite is Federation Square, the contemporary focus for the city with its open spaces and modern art galleries. Further along Swanston is the MelbourneTown Hall and Collins Street. Turn left to the ANZ Banking Museum for the history of banking in Australia.

Don’t miss the Block Arcade (Collins Street) for stylish shopping in the country’s oldest arcade – or just enjoy a stroll to soak in the old world charm and perhaps indulge in a little Haig’s chocolate? Little Bourke Street is home to Chinatown and, arguably, by far the best selection of Chinese cuisine in the country. The Chinese Museum in Cohen Place (just behind Her Majesty’s Theatre), traces the history of the Chinese who arrived in the wake of the 1850s gold rush and established Chinatown.

Little Lonsdale Street is home to Melbourne Central, a spectacular blend of ultra-modern architecture with a huge glass cone, the largest freestanding glass structure in the world, enveloping an historic shot tower. Across Swanston Street, the State Library of Victoria has the largest collection of reference material in the State, historical and current, from newspapers to books.

The Old Melbourne Gaol (where Russell turns into Lygon Street) once dominated the Melbourne skyline. Between 1842 and its closure in 1929 it was the scene of 133 hangings, including bushranger Ned Kelly. This is the main reason that ghost tours of the gaol are popular.  Displays include death masks and histories of famous bushrangers and convicts.

To the east of the city, Parliament House (Spring Street) is an imposing building with a wide sweep of stairs leading to the street. Tours run several times a day on weekdays and the public galleries open when parliament is in session. Behind, St Patrick’s Cathedral, built between 1858 and 1897, is a fine example of Gothic Revival architecture and the largest church in Australia. From here you can visit Fitzroy Gardens and Captain Cook’s Cottage.

Her Majesty’s Theatre

Melbourne is undoubtedly Australia’s ‘theatre’ capital, and on more than one level. Maybe it is the climate, maybe it is just tradition but Melbournites are true lovers of live theatre, whether it be ballet, opera, contemporary drama or comedy. Attending the theatre is as much part of Melbourne’s fabric as ‘attending the beach’ is in Sydney. It is also because the best theatrical productions happen in Melbourne – and that happens because the producers know that there are discerning audiences wanting to see them. And then there are the actual theatres – the architecturally stunning structures that are steeped in atmosphere and history that add another special dimension to any evening or matinee performance. One theatre steeped in history and atmosphere is the wonderful Her Majesty’s Theatre. It is located on the corner of Exhibition and Little Bourke Streets, just across the road from Rydges Melbourne.

Her Majesty’s Theatre is often described as “the most important theatre still standing in terms of its contribution to Australian theatre”. Architecturally, it is an amalgam of English and French influences. It opened in 1886 as the Alexandra Theatre, in honour of the Princess of Wales. The name changed to Her Majesty’s in 1900 when taken over by theatre group, JC Williamson’s. A fire in 1929 destroyed the auditorium, but the theatre reopened in 1934 as a modern, technologically advanced theatre. An acoustic consultant was even engaged – a first in Australia.

Over its life, Her Majesty’s stage has been graced with internationally renowned performers like Dame Nellie Melba (1911), Anna Pavlova (1926) and Dame Joan Sutherland (1965) but it is a theatre that defies genre. Over the years the stage has been a comfortable home for opera, ballet, drama, musicals, comedy, pop, rock and cabaret.  A look back over the last 12 years shows the variety of performances with shows/acts like Cabaret, Hair, The Nutcracker, Marcel Marceau, Tina Arena, Madama Butterfly, Bananas in Pyjamas, Carl Barron, Talking Heads, La Boheme, Lenny Henry, Queen, Mamma Mia, Ten Tenors, Russian National Ballet, Oklahoma!, Pam Ayers, Billy Elliot, Chicago, Mary Poppins, A Chorus Line, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Strictly Ballroom.

There’s also a little icon within the icon – The Maj Café. Over the years the theatre has commissioned caricatures of performers who have taken to the stage and the framed artworks adorn the walls. It creates a great atmosphere as well as a place of interest. Caricatures include Marlene Dietrich, Katherine Hepburn, Sir Noel Coward, Vivien Leigh and Luciano Pavarotti.

Here is a link to the official Her Majesty’s Theatre website for more info including what’s on. Because Her Majesty's dates so far back, there are no lifts in the building for wheelchair access but the two doors closest to Little Bourke Street are level with the footpath, so there are no steps to make wheelchair or walker access difficult. There is a special needs hotline where patrons with a disability can call and get individual attention. The number is (03) 9662 9571.

Regent Theatre Melbourne

Melbourne is spoilt for magnificent theatres, both contemporary and traditional. The Regent Theatre is one that is steeped in history, is architecturally stunning and one that stages cutting edge contemporary musicals and theatre. The 2,162 seat Regent Theatre is at 191 Collins Street, a short walk from Rydges Melbourne.

The Regent Theatre was opened in 1929 and was one of Victoria’s largest cinemas during the inter-war period, complete with an amazing Wurlitzer Organ. The Regent is regarded as perhaps the best example of the combined Spanish Gothic and French Renaissance revival styles in Melbourne. Lavish and opulent, it was built as two entertainment venues. The Regent Theatre upstairs catered for 3,500 patrons while the Plaza Ballroom was designed for dining and dancing. However, it was soon converted to a cinema creating Australia’s first duplex. Disused since closing in 1969, it was meticulously renovated, refurbished and returned to its former glory to re-open in 1996.

As theatres go, The Regent is a ‘survivor’. It has survived a fire, a flood, twenty-six years in darkness and many threats of demolition by blinkered bureaucrats to turn the magnificent building into a car park or a tabaret. The 1945 fire gutted the cinema, destroying the auditorium and the organ. It was reconstructed, including a new organ, and re-opened in 1947, making it one of the last ‘picture palaces’ to be built in the country. 

Ironically, the National Trust’s refusal to list the Regent because it was not ‘significant’ gave those in favour of demolition weight to their argument but it is now listed by the National Trust and on the Victorian Heritage Register. There have been some fabulous recent productions including The Lion King, King Kong, We Will Rock You, Sunset Boulevard, Wicked, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Love Never Dies, Grease and Cats. All productions have been given that extra special ‘something’ for patrons by being staged in such a sensational venue. Arguably it is the survival/revival of historic theatres like The Regent that has made Melbourne Australia’s undisputed performing arts capital.

While Rydges Melbourne is perfectly located for accommodation as well as a pre-theatre dining experience, if you like seafood, Box on Collins is even closer – right next door at 189 Collins Street. This excellent restaurant was obviously a laneway (it is narrow and long) and it is the only way to gain lift access to the theatre. Even if you don’t dine, patrons in wheelchairs or with mobility issues are still given a warm welcome by the restaurant staff and pointed in the right direction. If you do have special needs, on arrival you will be welcomed by the venue concierge, and directed to the accessible entrance. Accessible seating is allocated in the stalls where up to eight wheelchair users can be accommodated. An accessible unisex toilet is available in the stalls foyer.

The Regent Theatre is part of the Marriner Group (Regent Theatre, Forum Theatre, Princess Theatre, Comedy Theatre). Here is a link to the official website for more information and what’s currently on.

Old Melbourne Gaol

The Old Melbourne Gaol is one of Melbourne’s most rewarding attractions for atmosphere, history, ghost tours and gives a great return for a couple of hour’s investment.

The Old Melbourne Gaol is at 377 Russell Street (between Victoria and La Trobe Street, where Russell turns into Lygon Street). While no skyscraper, the building once dominated the Melbourne skyline, making it a symbol of authority. Between 1842 and its closure in 1929 it was the scene of 133 hangings, including bushranger Ned Kelly. This is the main reason that ghost tours of the gaol are popular. 

The gaol was used as a US military prison during World War II. Displays include death masks and histories of famous bushrangers and convicts. You can actually visit up to three sites at the one location – there’s the original gaol, the former City Watch House and, in school holidays, Court One in the Old Magistrate’s Court. The gaol was the winner of the 2010 Hall of Fame Victorian Tourism Awards and is open daily from 9:30am to 5:00pm except for Christmas Day and Good Friday.

If you visit the original gaol you can explore all three levels including the somewhat haunting execution area and see Ned Kelly’s death mask and revolver. A bit of trivia – while Ned was waiting to be hanged in 1880, his mother was serving a sentence in the women’s wing. You can join the Charge Sergeant on a tour of the cells when you visit the Watch House and you can take a night tour.

The night tours cost $38 for adults and $35 for concessions and each last an hour. You can opt for A Night in the Watch House that immerses participants in the criminal world that was the Melbourne City Watch House and inhabited by the likes of Squizzy Taylor, Chopper Read and various other unsavoury characters.(Note this tour includes: loud noises, confined spaces and is conducted in the dark. Recommended for 16 years and over).

The second option isGhosts? What Ghosts? The gaol is a grim place. It has a dark history. Stories abound of an unexplainable presence. Over many years, these stories come from visitors and staff alike. None have been proved. Many are compelling...  (Note: not recommended for children 12 years and under).

And there is the Hangman’s Night Tour. What stories would a hangman tell you if he was guiding you around the Gaol, where he was the master of the rope? What other stories from the dark side will find their way into this performance? Book the Hangman's Night Tour and find out… (Note: not recommended for children 12 years and under).

By day you can experience the Watch House Experience every half hour from 10:30am where the Charge Sergeant will assist you in experiencing the process of arrest. This is a 40-minute interactive role-play experience with adult themes so it can be a tad confronting for children. This is included in your admission ticket for the Old Melbourne Gaol – Crime and Justice Experience.

Here is a link to the official Old Melbourne Gaol website.

Victorian Arts Centre

The Arts Centre Melbourne is Australia’s largest performing arts centre and the home of world-class music, theatre, dance and opera. There are behind-the-scenes tours that take you backstage, through hidden passageways and technical contraptions, to the vast underground theatres and to see highlights from the immense Performing Arts Collection. You can trace the footsteps of famous performers, directors and choreographers and hear behind-the-scenes stories of major stage productions.

The Theatres and Exhibition Tour is a great way to explore Arts Centre Melbourne's exhibitions and the iconic Theatres Building where they reside. The Arts Centre Melbourne extends five floors underground and you can explore the labyrinth beneath the famous spire, including the grand State Theatre. You’ll also enjoy an insider’s look at the current gallery exhibition and significant works of Australian art throughout the foyers. The tour includes coffee and cake at Café Vic.

The Performing Arts Collection is Australia's largest and most important collection of performing arts history and traditions. Explore the major collecting areas of Circus, Dance, Opera, Music and Theatre, or browse the collection online by featured object type, including stage and costume designs, photography and programs.

Arts Centre Melbourne is home to a significant collection of paintings, sculpture, works on paper, photography and textiles. A rich and vibrant selection of paintings forms the basis of the Arts Centre's Public Art Collection. Hamer Hall and the three performance venues in the Theatres Building are all home to paintings by some of Australia's greatest post-war artists. The Public Art Collection celebrates performing arts through the work of some of Australia's most significant visual artists. In particular the collection looks to the ways in which artists are inspired by music, dance, theatre or opera and the creativity of performance.

The Contemporary Collection comprises donations, commissions, purchases and other works of art acquired by the public art collection after the initial acquisition period of the early 1980s. There is a particular emphasis from late modernism to contemporary art. The Foundation Collection comprises works of art of cultural, social and historical significance to the Arts Centre Melbourne.

The Arts Centre's impressive collection of sculpture came into being over several decades.A number of significant works were acquired through the William Anglis Art Fund, created by Diana Gibson in memory of her grandfather. Through the Fund, Inge King was commissioned to complete Forward Surge, the vast sculpture located on the lawn between the Theatres Building and Hamer Hall. The work serves as a powerful link between the two buildings, and is successful both viewed in its entirety from the distance of St Kilda Road, and at a local human scale, when walked through and around.

From international rock legends AC/DC to Australia's first superstar Dame Nellie Melba, Arts Centre Melbourne's exhibition program shares the stories of our most acclaimed performers, while also celebrating the rich history of lesser-known aspects of the performing arts. Exhibitions are free and open to the public for extended hours when performances are on in the Theatres Building (under the spire). 

Melbourne Aquarium

It’s official. Melbourne Aquarium is Melbourne’s most popular tourist attraction. It is home to over 10,000 animals including one of the world’s largest saltwater crocodiles, majestic King Penguins, sharks, prehistoric sea turtles, the world’s largest collection of seahorses and more. With interactive animal encounters, state-of-the-art displays and animal feeds the aquarium is educational, engaging and fun.

Melbourne Aquarium is located on the corner of Flinders and King Streets, on the Yarra opposite the Crown Entertainment Complex. It opens from 9:30am to 6:00pm daily (last entry 5:00pm) every day of the year. There are twelve ‘zones’ in the aquarium, each quite different and each with its own rewards.

You could begin the journey in Conservation Cove with some unique local species that celebrate the beauty of the oceans and its creatures.  There’s the Bay of Rays where you go beneath the surface of Port Phillip Bay to encounter some of the graceful marine creatures that usually reside well out of view, 200 metres below sea level. Mangroves and Rockpools invites you to explore the murky swamps and coastal mangroves to encounter the swamp-dwellers and touch beautiful sea stars and shark eggs.

In Coral Caves you go deeper into the ocean to a colourful array of coral species to be captivated by the serene sea jellies floating by. This is where you will find Nemo clowning around the anemones. At Shipwreck Explorer look through the rusty portholes of the abandoned wreck to see moray eels and some of the ocean’s most venomous animals like the Stone fish and Lion fish. Mermaid Garden is an underwater paradise that is home to huge stingrays, massive sharks and thousands of multi-coloured marine animals

Ocean Discovery shows the breeding programs for the juvenile Brown Banded Bamboo sharks and rehabilitating Sea Turtles. Crocodile’s Lair is designed to be one of the most captivating aquarium exhibits ever created with three spectacular viewing levels for a 360 degree jaw-dropping experience with Pinjarra, one of Australia’s largest saltwater crocodiles. Coral Atoll is a colourful underwater wonderland where the most magnificent tropical animals in the world swim right next to you in the floor to ceiling display.

Rainforest Adventure is the newest interactive experience with bizarre bugs, Lungfish, freshwater turtles, frogs, stick insects, hermit crabs and the smooth scaly Blue Tongue Lizards. The mystically-themed Seahorse Pier is home to the largest collection of sea horse and seadragon species in the world and Penguin Playground is fun for both the visitors and the penguins. You can’t help but smile watching the majestic King Penguins and the cheeky Gentoo Penguins slip and slide across the snow-covered ice. Interactive displays and stunning visuals educate and entertain. There are also daily feeds and talks from the keepers to help you discover more about the daily life of the adorable critters. 

SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium provides people in wheelchairs full access to all exhibits. Each floor of the aquarium is accessible via either a lift or ramp. Each level also has wheelchair accessible toilets.

Here is a link to the official Melbourne SEA LIFE website.

Chinatown Melbourne

Melbourne’s Chinatown dates back to the gold rush days of the 1850s, making it the longest continuous Chinese settlement in the western world. Chinatown's essential character and main focus is along Little Bourke Street with alleys that link the area to Bourke Street and Lonsdale Street between Swanston and Spring Streets.

The discovery of gold in 1851 attracted Chinese immigration to Victoria on a large scale. Ships sailed to Australia from Hong Kong with their cargo of men who had come in search of the “New Gold Mountain”. The small but burgeoning community in Little Bourke Street provided for all the needs of the diggers – lodgings en route to the goldfields, food, equipment and medicine.

As gold dried up on the diggings, those who did not return to China went back to Melbourne’s Chinatown which, for those who stayed, represented the only community they had. Chinatown today predominantly extends along Little Bourke Street. The cabinet makers and lodging houses may now be gone but eating houses and top class restaurants take their place with the low-rise brick buildings retaining its historic character.

As well as being dominated by restaurants from fine dining to laneway and arcade noodle houses, the area is home to a number of Asian grocery stores, Chinese medicine and herbalist centres, bookstores, fashion boutiques and other retail outlets in arcades such as the Village Centre, The Target Centre and Paramount Plaza. True to its name and predominantly of Chinese ethnicity, you will also find Chinatown is cosmopolitan with other cuisines like Thai, Japanese, Malaysian, Vietnamese, Contemporary European and Australian.

The Chinese Museum and Visitor’s Centre is at the Rydges Melbourne end of Chinatown (behind Her Majesty’s Theatre at 22 Cohen Lane). The museum was established in 1985 as a not-for-profit institution to document, preserve, collect and research the history and culture of Chinese Australians. The Museum is in a late 19th Century five-level warehouse. It was built in 1890 by furniture manufacturers, the Cohen Bros. Since then the building has been home to many businesses including the Hamodava Tea Company, Kellow Motor Company, a taxi cab company and it was finally bought by Her Majesty’s Theatre to store costumes and sets. During the heyday of Melbourne musicals it was also used as change rooms for the large choruses.

In 1985 the Victorian government acquired the building and the museum rents it for a nominal fee. It is now a living part of Chinatown showcasing the heritage and culture of the Australian Chinese community. The building is also home to the Chinese Visitor’s Centre which runs audio and heritage tours of Chinatown. A visit is a great way to whet the appetite before enjoying a meal in arguably Australia’s best array of Chinese restaurants. Entry to the Visitor’s Centre is free and entry to the Chinese Museum has a small cost. There are often exciting temporary exhibitions. The Chinese Museum opens from 10:00am to 5:00pm every day (closed Good Friday, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day) and here is a link to the Chinatown Melbourne website.

Etihad Stadium

Etihad Stadium is a fabulous venue for all types of sporting fixtures events and concerts. It can easily change from hosting AFL matches to A-League football to one-off rugby league and rugby union matches to Big Bash cricket to an event like the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo to a concert like AC/DC. It is an all-weather venue and the retractable roof, 125m above the playing surface, takes eight minutes to open/shut. It is the only football venue in the Southern Hemisphere with a retractable roof.

The stadium has become somewhat of a flagship for the vibrant Docklands development where apartments, shopping centres, restaurants and bars just seem to organically ‘appear’. Construction on the then named ‘Victoria Stadium’ began in 1997 and was completed in 2000 at a cost of $460 million.

The ground capacity is usually around 53,000 to 56,000 people, depending on the configuration/event.  Over 70,000 people attended the 2014 International Convention of Jehovah’s Witnesses and big name concert acts like AC/DC, Coldplay, Eminem and Robbie Williams have topped the 60,000 attendance statistics.

If you would like to take a ‘Behind the Scenes’ tour of Etihad Stadium, they operate three times a day, Monday to Friday (most days). Tours depart at 11:00am, 1:00pm and 3:00pm and take approximately an hour. There is no 3:00pm tour on event days and tours do not run on public holidays. Tours cost $15 for adults, $12 concession and $8 children (14 and under) and take you to the AFL players’ change rooms, the players/coaches’ briefing room, the coaches’ box, the AFL umpire’s tunnel, the media centre and tribunal room.  To start the tour, meet at the Customer Services Desk inside Gate 2 at the top of the escalator. Tours Gift Vouchers are available.

Etihad Stadium is fully accessible for mobility impaired and wheelchair patrons with 470 seats and wheelchair bays across all price categories, most alongside companion seats. Getting to Etihad Stadium is easy. If you travel by car, the stadium car park (2500 undercover spaces) is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. For train travellers, Southern Cross Station is adjacent to the stadium (a short walk across the Bourke Street pedestrian footbridge).  City trams run from La Trobe Street and Harbour Esplanade or hop off in the CBD (Spencer Street, Bourke Street or Collins Street) and walk.

There are eight ATMs in the stadium complex and a range of food and beverage outlets to suit all tastes and budgets. There are a number of quick service retail food and drink outlets (pies, burgers, fish & chips, roast chicken rolls etc) as well as specialty retail carts offering a premium range of traditional and international cuisines (gourmet sausages, salads, sandwiches, sushi etc). There’s the Locker Room Bar & Café for a comfortable and casual place to meet up before or after an event (with big screens to show the event), the EJ Whitton Bar for drinks with a view of the action and the more upmarket Arena View Restaurant.

Acmi Melbourne

ACMI Melbourne is a unique institution in the heart of the city, located in Federation Square. ACMI is the Australian Centre for the Moving Image and it celebrates the moving image in all its forms – film, television and digital culture. As a major cultural, tourism and learning attraction, ACMI is an integral element I Melbourne’s position as one of the world’s truly creative cities.

ACMI’s humble beginnings started in 1946 when the State Film Centre of Victoria was established. It included cutting edge services like lending mobile projection units to screen films to isolated audiences! Television arrived in Australia in 1956 and that gave another dimension to the ‘moving image’. The State Film Centre became involved in television production and also archived classic films like The Sentimental Bloke (1919) and On Our Selection (1920).

During the 1960’s the State Film Centre gave advice to local filmmakers on film treatments, production, scripts and distribution outlets. The 1970’s saw an increase in government funding and an increase in the numbers of talented local filmmakers like Peter Weir, Tim Burstall and Fred Schepisi. The 1980s saw a change in focus to provide Victorians with a new public presentation facility and the 1990’s launched a design competition for a Centre of Moving Image in Federation Square. In November 2002 the ACMI Cinemas were officially opened with an interactive exhibition space, Memory Grid, following two years later.

In 2008, ACMI set a new world record for attendance to the international exhibition Game On, surpassing the previous figure held by Chicago’s Science and Industry Museum. And, in 2010, attendance records to ACMI were broken during the presentation of Tim Burton: The Exhibition.  In 2009, with the support of the Victorian Government, a suite of new production and exhibition spaces were introduced, providing diverse, stimulating and creative opportunities to actively engage with screen culture. The centrepiece of the redevelopment, Screen Worlds: The Story of Film, Television and Digital Culture, is a permanent, free-entry exhibition charting the journey of the moving image and, in particular, Australia's engagement with screen culture as consumers and creators.

The major development project also incorporated a second exhibition space, two state-of-the-art production studios and a national screen culture resource centre in the Australian Mediatheque. In 2013, ACMI recorded its highest ever visitation, attracting more than 1.156 million visitors.

Which brings us to the exciting entity ACMI is today. There are always challenging, diverse and rewarding things happening, many of them free. Here is a link to the official ACMI website for what is currently happening in the space – talks, performances, workshops, films, exhibitions, festivals and events for all ages and interests. One of the really innovative and important areas is the creative workshops for kids. These offer a range of activities from kids’ flicks to puppetry workshops to animation to simply, ‘How to Make a Movie’. A three-day hands-on workshop could be the best $250 ever invested for a 9 to 12 year old with a dream to learn the basics of writing, directing, acting in and editing a short film.