The Municipal Arch, at the southern end of Princes Bridge, was one of several temporary arches erected in Melbourne to celebrate the opening of the first Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia in 1901.
The arch, designed by the architect Harold Desbrowe Annear, contained various patriotic references. One of these honoured the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York, visiting Australia at that time. The Duke, later King George V, opened the first Parliament at the Royal Exhibition Buildings.
Another element of interest on the Municipal Arch is the prow of a ship, visible above the central archway. This element, known as an acrostolium, follows the Roman tradition of displaying the prows of captured vessels, honouring naval victories. The oars of the acrostolium on the Municipal Arch are marked with the names of each of the States of the Commonwealth of Australia.
After the Federation celebrations had ended the arch was dismantled. A proposal to build a permanent arch at this location to mark the reign of Queen Victoria, who died in 1901, never came to fruition.
Photographer: Alec Jenkins
Source of Photograph: State Library of Victoria Picture Collection