Myer Mural Hall

If you’re a Melburnian, Myer is sure to have a place in your memories. Even though I only rarely shop there now, I was excited to hear that the recently reopened Mural Hall was on the program for Melbourne Open House on the weekend. I don’t think I ever went there as a child, but I’m sure my grandma would have been there once or twice for fancy events.
Amazingly, there were no queues to get in to the hall – we just walked in to join the other 50 or so people wandering around peeking out from behind corners like this.

No, not really. It was more like they were wandering around with their mouths open in awe. Here’s why.

Stunning, yes? The hall was opened in 1934 and I think was used for functions and then later as a cafeteria until maybe about 10 years ago when it was closed for refurbishing. I think you’ll agree they did a good job!

There are 10 murals by Napier Waller depicting women based on various themes, such as drama, literature and history.

This one is “fashion through the ages”. Love the red dress!

I think my favourite one is “sport” – this lady makes badminton look so elegant!

And if I got to look this cool while playing golf, I’d give it a shot.

Although I think I’ll stick with our modern bikinis for swimming…

The room itself is Art Deco, so is absolutely gorgeous. Imagine making a grand entrance on this staircase.

There are mirrors all around the room that highlight its curves and flowing architecture…

… and of course you can also take your photo in them and get the whole room in the background.

The Mural Hall is probably only going to be open for fancy functions, such as high teas once a month (they cost $70!!) so I’m glad we got to see it for free. However, if you’re on the sixth floor of Myer shopping for TVs or gadgets, you can still see this.

It’s not a good shot thanks to the reflection but it’s an old section of the cash tube system that was used at Myer pre-electronic cash registers.
Here’s a picture of how it used to look – notice the pipes curving up on the side of the cash register?

I took a photo of the explanation of how this pneumatic system works – hope you can read it? I had a giggle thinking of Mr Lampson’s first attempts at a transfer system involving throwing cash wrapped in handkerchiefs around the shop… slight OHS issue? What if you’re crap at throwing and catching like myself?? Potential for a LOT of humour but a LOT of injuries too…

I was trying to explain to the Japanese friend who I went with how the system worked, thinking that in modern, futuristic Japan this sort of thing would have been long gone, but she said “Do you mean like what they have in love hotels?” Apparently (until recently? even now) they use/d this system instead of credit cards as it allows greater discretion and anonymity!

We went to a lot of other places for Open House but I won’t bore you with those details, save to say that we saw police horses nudging giant beach balls around an arena, a concrete dome that was once a gym for visiting sailors, cheesy pics of previous Moomba monarchs, and row upon row of card catalogues in catacombs where two finches labelled by Charles Darwin were found.
But perhaps the most impressive sight of all was this rainbow over Flinders Street Station as I was heading home!