Monday, February 23, 2015

White Night Melbourne

If you live in Melbourne you are very lucky to be in a place where there is always something happening. There are lots of big events, especially sporting events, but there are often big cultural events too ranging from big name international concerts, to film and literary festivals, art exhibitions and more. One event that has brought a lot of these elements together over the last 3 years is an event called White Night. I haven't been the previous 2 years but this year I was determined to g and so I gathered some friends together for dinner and then went and enjoyed just a tiny part of the spectacle.

So what is White Night? The event was based on something that has been run in Paris for a while called Nuit Blanche, and White Night is now run in various cities around the world. Here's how the website describes it:

The event runs from 7pm to 7am, and visitors will be able to experience the visual art, exhibitions, spectacular illuminations, music, theatre, special dining experiences, film, design and performances on display in venues and major cultural institutions right across the city centre.
Sounds good right? I certainly thought so and so did an estimated crowd of around 450000 other people! Despite such large numbers it didn't really feel that crowded. I have certainly felt way more crushed at New Years Eve events in the city. There were more than 90 different things that you could see and do, the vast majority of which were free and with the displays lasting all night it did mean that you didn't all have to be in one place at one time. Unfortunately, whilst the event lasted all night, I certainly can't anymore but we gave it a good go. We chose to start the night out with dinner with friends at a nice Italian restaurant that I had been wanting to try for years and then headed into the city. It was a very warm night and be the end of the night I had certainly walked far enough to build up a ladylike glow, but  had so much fun! I don't know why I had been reluctant to go before, maybe because of the crowds, but I certainly will be going back again at some point in the future if the event continues.

One of the interesting themes for this year related to Alice in Wonderland in celebration of the 150th anniversary of it's publication and so I thought I would share some of those photos with you all.

We started at the State Library, one of my favourite places in the city at the best of times both because of the building itself but also the inside of the gorgeous dome. I have posted lots of pictures of both the exterior and interior before (one of the posts is here). There were Alice related projections on the front of the building, and hordes of people viewing them. We then went inside the dome and saw it in a whole new light. I love going to the dome. Normally it is the gorgeous light filled place that I love to go to the top viewing gallery and look down on the people below who are busy working away at desks that have old fashioned green reading lamps. This time we were on the ground floor in darkness looking up at the image that was projected on the walls all around us whilst accompanied by haunting music.

There were a number of other Alice in Wonderland themed events but we really wanted to just focus on a few things so that we could really appreciate what we saw rather than feeling we had to rush from one thing to the next. Our next stop was on Flinders Street. The Forum is one of the more interesting buildings in the city and it lends itself perfectly to being used as the base for these kinds of projections. These buildings looked amazing and then there was a drumming band really adding to the atmosphere.

Last stop on our trip down the rabbit hole was one that on the side of one of the main train stations. It is an iconic Melbourne landmark even without being used as a canvas.

It wasn't all about Alice in Wonderland. The other building that we went to was a bit out of the way but it was well worth the effort to get there. The Exhibition Building is an important building in Australian history, being the home of the first parliament following the creation of Australia as an independent country. It is a gorgeous building located in lovely parkland (although that wasn't as important given that it was dark). Rather than share photos, I thought I would share a video showing just some of the effects. The theme was 4 Elements and featured dancers and music that matched the seasons. It was amazing!


  1. What cool event! I Thanks for sharing the photos -- looks like there was a lot to see. I've never heard of this event, but then I don't live in a cool city ... or in any city at all, for that matter. I'm not sure I would have lasted all night either.

    1. There was loads to see Beth. We didn't even scratch the surface really.

  2. What a fantastic night! One day I'll get to Nuit Blanche in Paris, maybe I'll make it to Melbourne's version before that? The Forum looks fantastic- I know that building very well, as I often stay nearby. I love all the Alice vibe.

    1. It would be totally amazing to be in Paris for Nuit Blanche Louise!!