People Of The Rialto | Real Life Stories | InterContinental Melbourne

People Of The Rialto

People Of The Rialto


Real life forgotten stories collected from years of previous tenants and businesses who once lived and worked in the Rialto building

“People of the Rialto”, a collection of real life forgotten stories, secrets and mysteries collected from years of previous tenants and businesses who once lived and worked in the Rialto building.

Be transported back to when the Rialto was first built in 1891 and immerse yourself in the stories of those who had once been apart of Melbourne’s famous Rialto building. Discover how the Rialto played a significant part in Melbourne’s growth and uncover the forgotten stories of those who once resided between these walls.

Read more about series one, the forgotten stories of the People of The Rialto.

Series One - The Forgotten Stories

  • “The Female Vagabond of Melbourne”

    Miss Catherine Hay Thomson’s tale is impressive yet mysterious. An undercover investigative journalist who at night visited Melbourne brothels dressed as a man and during the day resided on level 4 of the Rialto building.

    Read more about the story of Rialto's “The Female Vagabond of Melbourne."

  • “The Rise of Melbourne’s First Hydraulic Lift”

    In the 1850's, Melbourne engineer Peter Johns gave rise to Melbourne’s first hydraulic lift in the Rialto. He then went on to install over 210 others and helped Melbourne reach architectural heights that were unimaginable in the past.

    Read more about the fascinating story of “The Rise of Melbourne’s First Hydraulic Lift."

  • “Rialto’s Saddest Tragedy”

    Samuel Meech worked tirelessly to construct the Rialto building before his tragic and mysterious demise on the afternoon of October 13th, 1898.

    His death remains a mystery and to this day, will forever be known as one of the Rialto’s saddest tragedies.

  • “The Metropolitan Board of Works Mastermind”

    The Metropolitan Board of Works was setup to provide water supply and sewage treatment functions to Melbourne and resided in the Rialto in 1891.

    It was their Chief Engineer William Thwaites ground-breaking concepts which revolutionised Melbourne’s now famous sewerage system and earned him the coveted title of "a genius for statistics".

  • "The Cheese Factory"

    In 1961, David Lavery started a family business making cheese which he named, David Lavery & Son.

    He rented a cheese storage area in Doyle’s Free Store located in the Rialto building off the now well known Flinders Lane.

  • “Rialto Lane’s Mysterious Visitor”

    During the night of November 18th, 1907, within the dingy pit of the Rialto building’s porch a circumambient musty smell of iron filled the air from the laneway below.

    That evening, Rialto Lane had a mysterious visitor whom the residents of the Rialto building were not expecting.

  • "A Man of Many Talents"

    Known as a man of many talents, Mr Theodore Fink had several accomplishments throughout the timeline of his Melbourne career, one of which crossed paths with our Rialto building in its very earliest days in 1890.

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