Melbourne had a brush with a unique form of entertainment in the late 19th century: the cyclorama. The Fitzroy Cyclorama, built in 1889, was one of the first two in the city.

Unlike its counterpart showcasing Melbourne's own history, the Fitzroy cyclorama offered a glimpse into grand historical events abroad. The first displayed painting depicted the famous Battle of Waterloo.

These giant, 360-degree oil paintings were housed in a specially built circular building on Victoria Parade (now the site of St Vincent's Hospital). Visitors would stand on a central platform, fully immersed in the illusion of the scene before them. For added realism, three-dimensional elements like trees and shrubs might be incorporated into the foreground.

Sadly, the cyclorama era was short-lived. The rise of cinema around the turn of the 20th century offered a more dynamic and immersive experience. By 1906, the Fitzroy Cyclorama closed its doors. The building itself would find new uses as a circus venue, boxing ring, and eventually, a cinema, before being demolished in 1928.

Today, the Fitzroy Cyclorama stands as a forgotten piece of Melbourne's entertainment history, a testament to a time when giant paintings offered a portal to grand historical events.

[Text courtesy of Gemini by Google.]

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