Past 2 Present: a snapshot of Melbourne's history

Past 2 Present: a snapshot of Melbourne's history
Mark BaljakJune 4, 2015

Such a simple idea that provides such an incisive look at Melbourne's history. Today's article is a shout-out to the increasing popular Past 2 Present which provides an impressive glimpse into Melbourne's past by comparing it to the present.

Covering metropolitan Melbourne, Past 2 Present generates a side by side compilation of dated and current images from the past two centuries. Buildings, significant places, infrastructure and day to day street level life are covered by creator Robert Smith via Facebook, flickr and tumblr.

Past 2 Present: a snapshot of Melbourne's history
A Spencer Street comparison. Image courtesy Past 2 Present

A prime example is the snapshot of Southbank above dated 1930 featuring the Robur Tea Warehouse. Built during 1887-1888 and designed by Nahum Barnet, the building appears dominant over the Spencer Street Bridge but now the 19th century warehouse is little more than a footnote on contemporary Southbank.

Another below sees how much (or little) Melbourne has changed over a century. While many parts of the CBD have lost iconic structures, certain pockets still endure as seen by the State Library of Victoria's image in comparison to that of Robert Smith's.

Past 2 Present: a snapshot of Melbourne's history
Flinders Street over time. Image courtesy Past 2 Present

As the adage states, "You don't know where you're going until you know where you've been."

It's well worth taking a few minutes to tour old Melbourne and gain a better appreciation for our city by visiting Past 2 Present.

Mark Baljak

Mark Baljak was a co-founder of He passed away on Thursday 8th of November 2018 after a battle with cancer. He was 37. Mark was a keen traveller, having visited all six permanently-inhabited continents and had a love of craft beer. One of his biggest passions was observing the change that has occurred in Melbourne over the past two decades. In that time he built an enormous library of photos, all taken by him, which tracked the progress of construction on building sites from across metropolitan Melbourne.

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