Cities are premised on ideas. The built environment is a projection of formal and structural determinants such as trade, defence, changes in cultural, religious and ideological influences etc. Urban architecture is an appraisal of these values, and urban processes are the primary mechanism for transmission of patterns of plurality. Nineteenth century, and some twentieth century planners, assumed the large programmatic scope of these emulations could accommodate a range of urban needs, but initiated them primarily on general visual associations. These were often conceived in pictorial terms. The research argues that Australian cities rely extensively on applying imagery and collective histories from other, earlier cities in large instalments rather than breaking them up and applying smaller fragments in response to the specifics of urban analysis. The paper deploys Melbourne as a converging point described though some exemplary projects and critical agendas for the metropolis. The research emphasises the emergence, redolence and vitality of this architecture within its antipodean context. These precedents will be explored through the lenses of order, industry, arenas, social change, fragmentation, division, endlessness and multiples and tracked through a diversity of scales and chronologies. The paper attempts to describe and position the practice of architecture and urban design through the assimilation of collective histories, tracing its formal resonances and distortions as well as social and political agendas.