Experience No.023 in Australian Traveller’s 100 Greatest Australian Gourmet Experiences  
Always go to Melbourne’s Queen Victoria Market hungry. It’s an unbelievable place to simply wander and taste test – and a visit to the Wholesale vendor stalls is a particularly great way to start the day. Cheese, fruit, breads, cakes and more will be shoved under your nose for a sample.

In the 1960s the markets were the site of several shootings by the “Honoured society” – a group trying to muscle illegal Italian immigrant growers out of money.

Market precincts include Fruit and Vegetables, the Deli Hall, Meat Hall, Organics, Elizabeth and Victoria St shops and the Wine Market. Only closed on Monday and Wednesday each week, it’s any given Sunday that sees the market open up for more bric a brac items, with plenty of authentic Australiana souvenirs available. 

Officially opened in 1878, there have been vendors on this site for more than 130 years. A cemetery in a former life, much of the market sits on some 9000 buried bodies – and there’s an equally murky history behind the stalls. In the 1960s the markets were the site of several shootings by the “Honoured society” – a group trying to muscle illegal Italian immigrant growers out of money (by upping commissions). A Royal Commission and merchant registration put an end to the scandal but the memories live on. 
Foodies can brush up on their market history on the two-hour walking tour that takes in fruit, vegetables, meat, fish and dairy halls for $35. 
 
Where: Elizabeth St, Melbourne. (03) 9320 5822, www.qvm.com.au       
 
Did you know: There are at least two stallholders at the Vic Markets that sell live chickens and ducks – but only on Fridays and Saturdays. 
 
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