Melbourne is home to Australia’s most fabulous female detectives
Hit TV series showcases Melbourne's 1920s and 1960s architectural gems
The feisty, fun and fashionable crime-solving world of Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries has crossed decades in a new spin-off series – Ms Fisher’s Modern Murder Mysteries, streaming now on 7Plus – and Melbourne has the locations to match.
Every Cloud Productions’ Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries is one of Australia’s most successful television series, with a devoted fan base around the world. Set in Melbourne in the 1920s, the murder mystery tales feature Essie Davis (Game of Thrones, The Babadook) as Miss Phryne Fisher, an independent woman with a taste for adventure and a keen instinct for solving crimes.
Fans are loving the spin-off series, which is set in Melbourne in the 60s and sees Phryne’s niece Peregrine following in her aunt’s footsteps. But it’s not just Australian audiences who adore these fabulous female detectives. Miss Fisher quickly hooked US audiences when began streaming in North America on AMC-owned Acorn TV in 2013. The streaming service recently announced that it will also exclusively premiere Ms Fisher’s Modern Murder Mysteries and the upcoming feature film Miss Fisher and the Crypt of Tears in 2019.
The original Miss Fisher series features some of Melbourne’s finest stately Victorian architecture including Labassa, Rippon Lea and Como House, while the spin-off series showcases the city’s art deco and mid-century gems.
If you love a good ‘whodunit’ plus the opulence of the 1920s and the boldness of the 1960s, watch out for these Australian heroines and their magnificent hometown of Melbourne on a screen near you. In the meantime, read on to learn more about some of the series’ diverse architectural locations.
Hotel Windsor, Melbourne CBD
In the first season of Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, heroine Phryne Fisher stays at The Hotel Windsor when she moves to Melbourne. Located opposite Parliament House at the northern end of Melbourne’s CBD, this landmark of Victorian architecture is Australia’s only surviving grand 19th century city hotel.
Chosen to emphasise the 1920s period in which the series is set, both interior and exterior scenes were filmed at this location. The mid-week exterior shoot saw the street cleared and the cars and taxis in front of the hotel make way for 1920s automobiles.
Mandeville Hall, Toorak
Mandeville Hall is one of Melbourne’s most lavishly-decorated 19th century mansions and this film-friendly location has starred in many film and television productions, including the FOX Showcase production of Picnic at Hanging Rock starring Natalie Dormer, and the upcoming Ned Kelly feature film, The True History of the Kelly Gang, starring Russell Crowe.
The grandeur of Mandeville Hall provided the perfect backdrop for one of Phryne’s crime-solving capers in the second season of Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, with its rich ceiling friezes, wall fabrics, carved oak panels, Venetian glass doors and brilliant tilings.
Myer Mural Hall, Melbourne CBD
When the script for the first episode of 1960s-set Ms Fisher’s Modern Murder Mysteries had heroine Peregrine Fisher going undercover after a murder at a department store fashion show, the production designer looked no further than the iconic Myer Mural Hall.
Completed in 1933, the large rectangular space on the sixth floor of Melbourne’s largest department store is constructed in a Streamline Moderne style, an international style of Art Deco architecture that emerged in the 1930s. At the northern end of the hall, a pair of ‘mannequin’ stairs lead down from two balconies with sweeping curves and an abstract ribbon design balustrade.
Manchester Unity Building, Melbourne CBD
For the department store interior in Ms Fisher’s Modern Murder Mysteries, the arcade in Melbourne’s iconic Manchester Unity Building was the perfect location. Pressed-copper lift doors, mosaic floors, a gracious elevator and monogrammed wrought-iron balustrades have been preserved in time in this art deco masterpiece, which was built in 1932.
The production made the most of the building’s many assets, including the 1930s-era décor in the ground floor café and the beautiful glossed-wood escalator.
Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries Season 3 and Ms Fisher's Modern Murder Mysteries were supported through Film Victoria’s Assigned Production Investment program.