Bourke Street, Melbourne

Bourke Street, Melbourne

Bourke Street is a major street in the central business district (CBD) of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Bourke Street is named for Sir Richard Bourke, the Governor of New South Wales (and thus, of Melbourne as well) in 1837, when the Hoddle Grid was drawn up.


Bourke Street runs roughly from east to west and it bisects the CBD (known as the Hoddle Grid) along its long axis. Bourke Street runs between the parallel Little Collins and Little Bourke streets. There are two stretches of Bourke Street; the older CBD stretch and the newer Docklands stretch. The older stretch intersects with Spring Street to the east and Spencer Street to the west. The newer stretch is bounded by the Southern Cross Station (former Spencer Street Station) to the east and will intersect with the Collins Street expansion to the west in the future.

Commercial Zone

Bourke Street is a commercial zone lined by glass-paned skyscrapers, especially on the western stretch of the street. It is home to the new National Bank headquarters by the Victoria Harbour in Docklands, Commonwealth Bank Centre building, Bourke Place, Marland House, National Bank House and AMP Square.

Shopping Precinct

Bourke Street is a major retail shopping precinct, which along with the rest of the central business district attracts hundreds of thousands of locals and a large number of tourists every day. A central feature of this is the Bourke Street Mall, a pedestrian and tram-only strip between Swanston and Elizabeth streets. This is home to three major department stores - Myer (the world's largest), David Jones, Target (department store) and numerous chain stores such as Jetty Surf [] , HMV, adidas, The Body Shop, Supre, Sportsgirl and several large specialty stores. The historic neo-classical style GPO Melbourne, which is also on Bourke Street Mall, has been restored and converted to a high-end shopping destination after a fire partly destroyed it. It was reopened in early 2005. The mall had received a major facelift in preparation for the 2006 Commonwealth Games.

Bourke Street Mall is regularly used by buskers and street theatre acts. A common attraction every Christmas is the large Myer Windows, which are decorated in a different Christmas display every year.

Food Precinct

Bourke Street is becoming Melbourne's newest food precinct with a few sidelanes such as The Causeway, Market Lane, Crossley Street, Liverpool Street and the newly reopened Postal Lane being home to a number of chic cafes and restaurants. At the east end, Bourke Street is also part of Melbourne's Chinatown, the destination for Chinese cuisine. Bourke Street is also the place for fine-dining with the excellent Grossi Fiorentino, Bottega, Becco and the world renowned Flower Drum restaurants being among the restaurants having their premises either on or immediately adjacent, to this street.


Bourke Street has played a historically significant part in Melbourne's cinema industry. It was home to the city's first permanent cinema (although this was initially established near Princes Bridge), and by 1913 had developed into Melbourne's principal cinema precinct. In 1908, Arthur Russell began screening films at St. George's Hall, which was rebuilt as Hoyt's De Luxe Theatre in 1914, marking the beginning of the Hoyts cinema chain.

Bourke Street remained a centre for cinema-goers until quite recently. In 2005, the Hoyts cinema moved to larger premises at the Melbourne Central shopping centre. On 15 February 2006 the Village cinema closed down, leaving Village cinemas at nearby Crown Casino as the main Village branded city cinemas. The Chinatown Cinema, which inhabits the former Hoyts Midcity cinema, is the only cinema left in Bourke Street. Just off Bourke Street, the Greater Union cinemas and the newly expanded Kino Dendy cinemas continue to be cinema drawcards.

Tourist Attractions

A famous attraction within Bourke Street is the historic Royal Arcade, and in particular, its two ornamental clocks, featuring effigies of Gog and Magog.

Parliament House is situated at the intersection of Bourke Street and Spring Street, and along with St Patrick's Cathedral, forms a stunning vista looking east down the street.

Melbourne's Hard Rock Cafe was also found at the Spring Street end of Bourke Street. It closed its doors towards the end 2007, and its future location is still uncertain.

The Melbourne Fine Art Gallery is also located on the street.


A number of tram routes travel along Bourke Street and the Mall. These include tram routes 86, 95 and 96. At the west and east ends of the street are Southern Cross (formerly Spencer Street) and Parliament railway stations, and Flinders Street and Melbourne Central stations are a short walk from the Mall. A pedestrian bridge at the western end provides access Southern Cross Station, Telstra Dome and the Melbourne Docklands.

Landmarks - West to East


*The street helped coin the popular Australian saying "as busy as Bourke Street in the rush hour"
*Bourke Street is also the name of the primary piste at Mount Buller, being named after the Melbourne street.


External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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