The Rialto is steeped in history. It is definitely one of the highlights of the Open House event in Melbourne. Even if it’s to find out where the flushing toilets are.
From the pictures, you can see, the back of the building is the original structure. And the corrugated iron attachment was added later, when flushing toilets became available. The laneways at the bottom of the street, lead straight into the buildings so the horse and cart could deliver it’s good directly to the building.
These laneways then became a key focal point as the century turned. Property developers would buy these streets and charge other people to use them. This was quite handy until the Melbourne Council realised what was going on, and put a stop to it by either buying the property back or declaring them a heritage site to stop such nonsense! These beautiful streets give a glimpse of life in the yesteryear and it’s recommended that you take the time to relive the pathways yourself.
The big piston like structure on the outside of the building helped raise the goods from the footpath to entry points above. And all that with the power of STEAM!
What was the building used for? Now, now. Where would the fun be, if I spoiled it all for you. Trust me, you will be pleasantly surprised at the history of the Intercontinental Hotel at Rialto.