Vault #6: Cultural Change

As Melbourne prospered during the gold rush, its cultural life flourished. Internationally renowned performers were drawn to the city by the prospect of large, affluent audiences. The great Shakespearian actor Gustavus Vaughan Brooke presented repeated seasons. Sopranos Anna Bishop and Catherine Hayes performed popular arias, and virtuoso violinist Miska Hauser dazzled audiences with his lighting technique. The Irish dancer and courtesan, Lola Montes created a sensation with her risque Spider Dance.

Sport became another popular leisure activity. Melbourne Cricket Ground opened as a commercial venture in 1856, and by Christmas 1861 the first touring English cricket side thrilled Melbourne crowds.

The colony's working people also developed a greater political awareness. Led by Melbourne's influential stonemasons, the city's building industry achieved an acceptance of the eight hour working day in 1856.