Thursday, April 25, 2024

Port Phillip sets sights on town hall reactivation

City of Port Phillip Council’s adoption of a Conservation Management Plan will help ensure that the future use, management and upgrade of one of Melbourne’s oldest and most impressive civic buildings, the South Melbourne Town Hall, will enrich its heritage values.

The Conservation Plan, which recognises the reactivation of the Town Hall as a priority, updates and supersedes a similar plan from 1995 as our Council prepares to undertake significant repairs of the building.

The building, originally known as the Emerald Hill Town Hall, was completed in 1880 in an area to be formally known as South Melbourne just three years later.

Now, 141 years later, the South Melbourne Town Hall is closed to the public under Council’s renewal project for the site.

“The building is in fair condition overall but is due for major restoration and renewal, particularly after the collapse of part of the ceiling in 2018 which also caused significant water damage,” Council said in a statement.

“Council has undertaken a substantial commitment of $15m over the next two years to undertake the renewal and upgrade of the South Melbourne Town Hall, which the Conservation Plan will play a significant role in ensure that the works retain and enhance the building’s substantial history.”

Works include repair of the damaged areas of the building, the renewal and upgrade of the building’s structure, air-conditioning, electrical and fire-safety systems, plus a broad range of other general works to upgrade the Town Hall in line with current standards.

The building’s main hall boasts 40 foot high ceilings and was the scene of many social events and picture-shows for about 2,000 people before restorations changed the main stage in the 1930s.

Residents can take a virtual hall walkthrough of the South Melbourne Town Hall and view the building’s floor plan.

Works are anticipated to be completed in 2023.

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