Heritage listing hopes to save Melbourne’s beloved Festival Hall

Written by Tyler Jenke on 21st May, 2018
Heritage listing hopes to save Melbourne’s beloved Festival Hall

Melbourne’s iconic Festival Hall could be saved by developers if a push for the venue to receive Heritage listing is successful.

Back in January, it was announced that the Victorian venue was being eyed off by developers, who hoped to tear down Festival Hall to make way for multi-level apartments, offices, and retail spaces.

While this was met with great criticism by many Victorians – music fans or not – developers insisted that the more historically significant aspects of the venue, including the iconic entrance at Dudley Street and the boxing ring would remain untouched.

Following the lodgement of a planning application back in January, the venue has been nominated for the Victorian Heritage Register, a move which could see the legendary location saved.

Festival Hall was first opened back in 1913 when it was used a boxing venue under the name West Melbourne Stadium, where many of boxing’s greats showcased their atheltic ability. In the 1960s, it was renamed Festival Hall, when it then became one of the most prominent venues for live acts to play during their trips to Australia.

Over the years countless big names have played at the location, including The Rolling Stones, Alice Cooper, The Beatles, Rage Against The Machine, and Patti Smith.

Heritage Victoria’s recommendation for the venue was based on a variety of factors, including the historical and social significance that Festival Hall holds within the state of Victoria, especially due to its vast sporting and cultural history, and the fact that it is considered a vital part of Victoria’s live music community.

“Nothing speaks to Melbourne’s arts, music and sporting culture quite like Festival Hall,” stated Minister for Planning Richard Wynne. “It has a proud history, and heritage protection will give it a safe and secure future too.”

“Inclusion on the Victorian Heritage Register will mean any development on the Festival Hall site will have to respect the character and the history that makes Festival Hall so special.”

If the venue is successfully listed on the Victorian Heritage Register, any further development proposals would need a heritage permit before they are allowed to proceed.

Members of the community can make their own submissions to the Heritage Council of Victoria here.

Here’s hoping that for the sake of musical history – both past and present – in Australia, that Festival Hall manages to pull through and is saved from the wrath of the developers who wish to see it removed from its rightful place in the history books of the Australian music scene.

Check out The Beatles performing at Festival Hall in 1964:

The article was originally published on The Industry Observer