South Melbourne Town Hall restoration

South Melbourne Town Hall is closed to the public as part Council’s renewal project for this site. We'll share updates about the building's restoration and reopening on this page.

Location

208-220 Bank Street, South Melbourne

Cost

Council’s budget for this project is $16 million over the six years (2018 and 2024) including make safe, investigations, design and construction. A more accurate cost estimate will be developed as part of completion of the design and updated following construction procurement.

Why are we doing this?

South Melbourne Town Hall is a 140-year-old building, that shapes the character of Emerald Hill, helps tell the story of the City’s history, and provides a focal point for community gatherings and events.

The building is in fair condition overall but due for major restoration and renewal. It requires some repair, due to a collapse of part of the ceiling in 2018 that triggered the fire system, causing water damage.

We are currently planning these restoration works as well as the scheduled routine maintenance and life cycle replacement works that will follow.

Project update

The initial (detailed) design is nearly completed. The designers (NBRS & Partners) have started discussions with the relevant statutory authorities:

  • The Municipal Building Surveyor
  • Heritage Victoria
  • Fire Rescue Victoria
  • CitiPower

After these discussions and engagement with the Australian National Academy of Music (the Town Hall's primary tenant), a new version of the design will be available in October 2022. 

The impact

Since June 2020, South Melbourne Town Hall has been temporarily closed to the public as part Council’s renewal project for this site.

Following further structural investigation completed in December 2020, the site will remain closed until the completion of rectification works to ensure the safety of the building.

The scope of works has been defined and we can commenced design, review, approvals, and delivery. Works anticipated to be completed in 2023.

We appreciate the inconvenience this closure might cause and thank you for your patience.

While the building is closed, limited access is being facilitated by Council on an as-needs basis. Please call ASSIST on 03 9209 6777 with any access enquiries.

We will work closely with heritage experts and Heritage Victoria to ensure that the work complies with all heritage requirements and is respectful to the building’s architecture and heritage features.

Objectives

The project seeks to ensure the long-term future of this great community asset – making it safe, accessible, and financially and environmentally sustainable.

The project focuses on the repair or renewal of these key building areas:

  • Structural – repairing the roof and other structural components that currently mean the building is not considered safe for regular operation.
  • Fire – replace the site’s existing fire systems and services – these are considered to be at the end of their useful life and require renewal.
  • HVAC – replace the site’s existing HVAC systems – these are considered to be at the end of their useful life and require renewal.
  • Electrical – upgrade the internal electrical switchboards and infrastructure associated with the building as it is considered to not be compliant with current standards.

In order to undertake the repairs across these four key areas, these areas of work will be undertaken:

  • Compliance – given the volume of work that is required to be undertaken, it is necessary to bring the whole building up to current compliance on a broad range of matters (i.e. accessibility, sustainability performance, etc.)
  • Future-proofing the building – Council will seek to make some limited changes to the building in order to ensure that the building is set-up in a way that ensures it is more flexible for management of potential future tenants.
  • Heritage – Any and all works at this site need to consider and be undertaken in a way that minimises its impact on the significant heritage value and visual amenity of the building.

Reports

Please find a list of recent inspection reports and documents about South Melbourne Town Hall building and the restoration project below.

If you'd like to find out more or to see historical records, please contact the Asset Management team by calling ASSIST on 03 9209 6777.