• The old Kyneton Hospital, which opened in 1853 and closed 160 years later. PIC: Nils Versemann

  • The Queenscliff landmark (1862) is the only black lighthouse in the southern hemisphere, one of three in the world. PIC: ribeiroantonio

  • The 1850s extension of the Old Melbourne Gaol. PIC: Mertie/Creative Commons

  • A cell window in the Old Melbourne Gaol. PIC: ChameleonsEye

  • The flour mill at Newstead, built in 1869, is now a private residence. PIC: Kim Britten

  • The Victorian College for the Deaf on St Kilda Road, Melbourne, was opened in 1868. PIC: Donaldytong/Creative Commons

  • The National Wool Museum, Geelong, was established in one of the city's old wool stores. PIC: Supplied

  • The NGV's St Kilda Road gallery opened in 1968, a modern day take on Melbourne's bluestone face. PIC: Buffy Gorrilla

  • The bluestone entrance to Pentridge Prison, Coburg, was completed in the late 1850s. The prison closed in 1997. PIC: Creative Commons

Bluestone. Victoria would not be Victoria without it, and Melbourne would look very different without its historical laneways or its dark and brooding colonial edifices.

Think St Patrick’s Cathedral and the Old Melbourne Gaol, and the modern bluestone incarnation that is the National Gallery of Victoria. 

But where did bluestone come from and why are Victorians so attached to it?

“For me, as someone who has spent most of her life in Melbourne, it’s very part of the fabric of the city that I grew up in,” says Stephanie Joy Trigg, a humanities professor who has studied Victoria’s signature stone for years, assessing its historical and cultural significance.

“Someone commented to me that with all those laneways and kerb stones it’s as if this city is framed by bluestone.”

In this audio report, Buffy Gorrilla explores Victoria’s bluestone story.

Interviewed are:

 Professor Stephanie Joy Trigg

Melbourne Lord Mayor Robert Doyle

Stonemason and cutter Steve Behncke, of Ballarat Stone

 Heritage consultant Rohan Storey

Home renovator ‘Nigel’