Designed by 19-year-old architect John James Clark in 1857 (also responsible for The City Baths, The Supreme Court, and The Royal Mint among other buildings), the Old Treasury Building was financed by wealth sourced from the Victorian Gold Rush between 1852 to 1862. Constructed using bluestone from Footscray and sandstone from Bald Hills Quarry in Baccus Marsh, the building is a primary example of Australian Renaissance Revival architecture, featuring Italian palazzo details. The building is three storeys high, 200 feet wide and has three main entrances. Completed in 1862, the Old Treasury Building housed gold vaults which held gold bullion and was home to the Treasury Department of the Government of Victoria. Also residing in the Old Treasury Building were the offices of Victorian politicians and leaders including the Governor, the Premier, the Treasurer and the Auditor General. To this day, the Governor of Victoria, currently former judge Linda Dessau, holds weekly meetings in the Executive Council Chamber to sign off legislation. Once the official treasury offices relocated to 2 Treasury Place in 1878, the building was dubbed ‘Old Treasury.’
In 2009, the Old Treasury Building opened several permanent exhibitions including Victorian Archival Treasures, which presents the history of Victoria through original documents, photographs and artefacts depicting ‘Indigenous Victorians and first white settlement in 1835, Ned Kelly and Criminals, Victorian Democracy, Victorians at Work and the Gold Rush.’ Other exhibitions include Built on Gold, which allows you to step into the vaults and discover Victoria’s history of gold; Growing up in Old Treasury, which explores the life and home of the Old Treasury’s caretaker John Maynard and his family; JJ Clark; The Governor; Solider On; and The Melbourne Panorama where you can view a 360-degree historic photographic panorama of the City of Melbourne taken in 1862.
The Nicholas Cage thriller Knowing was filmed in a variety of locations around Melbourne, despite being set in sister city Boston, with one sequence featuring the Old Treasury Building. Other landmarks include Melbourne Museum and Parliament House.