The year was 1932 and, between the two world wars, Melbourne had just built a 13-storey masterpiece in a record 10 months - the art deco Manchester Unity building at the corner of Collins and Swanston streets.
On the evening of Monday December 12, with the push of a button by Victorian premier Sir Stanley Argyle, this architectural miracle lit up like a Christmas tree. ''For the first time,'' reportedThe Argus, ''the ornamental turreted tower, and the flag surmounting it, leapt out of the dark in dazzling splendour, illuminated by hidden floodlights from all sides.''
Well, 80 years later it is all going to happen again. On the eve of the AFL grand final, accompanied by 21st-century fireworks, the Manchester Unity will light up the night sky thanks to a project led by a dentist with a great passion for the building - and the funds to indulge it.
Kia Pajouhesh, son of Iranian migrants, bought the first floor of the MU in 2003 and has spent the past nine years buying and restoring large sections.The new lighting installation will illuminate the full exterior - and both the inside and outside of the tower - each evening from grand final day onwards.
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