Gasworks Arts Park is a vibrant arts precinct producing a range of high-quality arts programs, workshops and activities for all ages. Situated just three kilometres from the Melbourne CBD, Gasworks has hectares of parklands, theatres, gallery spaces, a café, as well as function and workshop spaces.
Gasworks houses two theatres producing over 200 performing arts events annually, three gallery spaces presenting 30 visual arts exhibitions each year and has sixteen visual artists studios on site.
Visit Gasworks website for full details of performances, spaces for hire, farmers market dates and more.
Brief history of the site
Formed in 1872, Gasworks Arts Park was originally the South Melbourne Gas plant. The plant began supplying gas to the surrounding areas in 1873, operating 24 hours a day. The South Melbourne Gas works was the largest employer in the area with a staff of several hundred men. Coal was hauled from the town pier at the end of Bay Street Port Melbourne by horse drawn tram.
By the 1940s, the Second World War had taken a toll on resources, chronic coal shortages continued throughout the following decade making it a permanent concern. The State-controlled Gas and Fuel Corporation of Victoria was formed in 1950, merging the Metropolitan Gas Company and the Brighton Gas Company. It's primary goal was the construction of the Lurgi Gasification Plant in Morwell, Victoria, which began producing Gas in 1956. The discovery of natural gas deposits in Bass Strait saw the closure of the South Melbourne Gas plant in 1957, with most of Melbourne's Gas plants following over the next 5 years.
Reinvigorating the space in 1986, the old South Melbourne Gasworks was recreated as Gasworks Arts Park. Gasworks is now a thriving community arts centre owned by the City of Port Phillip, with the heritage industrial building now housing theatres, art galleries, artist studios, workshop spaces and more.
Adapted from the "History of the Gasworks Arts Park", by local historian Robert Grogan. Link to a digital copy of the history