Cole's Book Arcade was a massive three-storey bookstore in the heart of Melbourne opened 1883. But this was a bookshop with a difference. It had a fernery, a wonderland with funny mirrors, a music department, a lolly shop, a lending library...there were secondhand books for sale, a Chinese tea salon, even a live monkey display! The arcade was the embodiment of one man's vision and humanitarian ideals: Edward William Cole.
Constructed in 1867,the Darlinghurst Reception House was to help the expanding city cater for the needs of the psychiatrically impaired (lunatics) rather than tossing them into gaol.Located on the corner of Forbes and Burton Streets, Darlinghurst,it was constructed opposite the Darlinghurst Gaol and next to the Police Station. The gaol was at the rear of the Supreme Court of NSW.