Old Pathology Building (Melbourne University) - 156-292 Grattan Street. PARKVILLE [Walking Melbourne Building Information]
Walking Melbourne

Old Pathology Building (Melbourne University): 156-292 Grattan Street, PARKVILLE

Old Pathology Building (Melbourne University)
Old Pathology Building (Melbourne University)
Old Pathology Building (Melbourne University)
Old Pathology Building (Melbourne University)
Old Pathology Building (Melbourne University)

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Building Profile

Name : Old Pathology Building (Melbourne University)


Address: 156-292 Grattan Street

Postcode: 3052

Construction Details

Built: 1885
Original use: Education
Current use: Education

number of floors : 2

Built in the Victorian period in the Neo-Gothic style

Notable features

The Old Pathology building is architecturally significant as a fine example of early English Gothic architecture, characterised by the use of lancet arches and attached buttresses. The choice of collegiate Gothic demonstrates University Councils resolution that all buildings be built in a consistent style. The later additions, including research laboratories, demonstrate the expansion of the universitys important research role in the 1950s.


The Old Pathology Building at the University of Melbourne, the south wing of which was originally constructed in 1885, was designed as the new medical school to accommodate the Department of Anatomy and Pathology. The University had established Australias first medical school in 1862, and the first Professor of Anatomy and Pathology was H B Allen, appointed in 1882. His collection of specimens for a museum of pathology was too large for the Melbourne Hospital and was transferred by deed of gift to the new Medical School. Allen was closely involved in the design process for the new building, designed by architects Reed, Smart and Tappin. The building was extended in 1900 to designs by Smart, Tappin and Peebles. The two storey building is in the Early English Gothic style, with emphasis on the lancet arch motif. The principle facades have bluestone plinths and are buttressed. The rusticated stone walls are contrasted by the smooth dressed stone of the window openings. The roof is steeply pitched and clad with slates. The north and west wings are constructed of brick with segmental and square headed windows with cream dressings. The south building still illustrates the original concept for the new medical school, including the spacious Museum of Pathology complete with clerestory windows housing Allens collection until the 1960s. The two storey gallery space has been converted into two floors. However, the windows, ceiling area, vents and columns remain intact above the false ceiling. In the 1930s, Peter MacCallum, a successor to Allen, established the Society of Pathology and Experimental Science. As a result five new research laboratories were added in the 1950s. The north wing, with a first floor added in 1908, was designed to accommodate a dissecting room, associated coffin and preparation rooms, and anatomy lecture theatre. Whilst the partitioning has been substantially modified, some original fittings and spaces remain to demonstrate the former layout of the wing.

Architect: Reed, Henderson & Smart

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