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Black and white postcard, Rose Series, View looking down on Jacka Boulevard, the Vaults, the Sea Baths, 1950s- 60s cars drive on both sides of the road past the Sea Baths and Vaults. Catani Clock tower is visible on the Upper Esplanade.
Hand coloured photographic postcard showing the Vaults with colourful red awnings, and a large blue banner suspended horizontally from the Upper Esplanade saying Sennits Ice cream, 1930s.
An earlier view of the Lower Esplanade, 1900s, black and white photograph, a horse and buggy are visible on the road coming behind are groups of pedestrians. Crowds of people sit on the lawns running from the road and down to the water.
A more recent view of the Vaults, the arches are sealed up, and the wall and arched doorways are painted a uniform soft grey. Palm trees line the Upper Esplanade pathway.

St Kilda Vaults

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City Surveyor W. B. Downe 1891

Description

The beachside suburb of St Kilda has been a popular tourist destination for many generations. Visitors have promenaded along the Esplanade, swam in the baths, enjoyed ice-creams, frequented the many pubs and picnicked in the parks for over one hundred years.

In the 1890s, public transport on the Esplanade was upgraded with a new cable tramway replacing the old horse-drawn omnibus, managed by the Melbourne Tramway & Omnibus Company. The Upper Esplanade roadway needed to be widened to accommodate the new tram tracks. As part of the embankment works, provision was made for ten shops with arched ceilings facing onto the Lower Esplanade and built into the supporting wall—now known as the Esplanade Vaults.

What's On

Enjoy a rare opportunity to visit and explore the Esplanade Vaults fondly remembered by many as the kiosks, shops and cafes that served visitors to the St Kilda foreshore. But do the vaults have a darker side? Stories and eyewitness accounts abound, along with much speculation as to whether or not there are tunnels leading from the vaults to the Esplanade Hotel and the Palais Theatre. The visit includes an exhibition and projection of historic images of the area from the Port Phillip City Collection.

Images: (1) The Upper and Lower Esplanades, St Kilda. (2) St Kilda Melbourne, 1930s. (3) A view from the Upper Esplanade, 1900s. (4) The Esplanade Vaults, 2020s. All photos: Port Phillip City Collection.

Important Details

Time & Date

Saturday 27 July
Open access 10am-4pm

St Kilda Vaults are located on Jacka Blvd across the road from the Sea Baths. Access from the tram stop on the Upper Esplanade is via a pathway near the Catani Clock Tower down to the Lower Esplanade and Jacka Blvd footpath.

For access from the Catani Gardens and Sea Baths car park, cross at the pedestrian crossing in front of the Sea Baths and stay within the signposted route. There is a pedestrian management plan in place for the safety of visitors, Jacka Blvd is extremely busy, has a blind corner and, in parts, a narrow footpath. Please stay within the signposted route.

ACCESSIBILITY

Partially wheelchair accessible, Accessible parking nearby

St Kilda Vaults can be accessed from the Sea Baths carpark via the pedestrian crossing on Jacka Blvd. Access from the Upper Esplanade includes a downhill and uphill incline. The pathways and the vaults are accessible, with some uneven surfaces.

Location

18 Jacka Blvd, St Kilda VIC 3182

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