South Melbourne Town Hall Renewal

South Melbourne Town Hall Restoration and Renewal Proposal

The South Melbourne Town Hall, resting on the lands of the Boonwurrung people of the Kulin nation, is one of Melbourne’s most impressive civic buildings, with a commanding location on Emerald Hill in the heart of South Melbourne.

Since 1880, the South Melbourne Town Hall has stood proudly as an icon of our suburb. The Australian National Academy of Music (ANAM) – a not-for-profit organisation – has been one of the tenants of the building since 1997, filling the Town Hall with worldclass performance.

Sadly, this beautiful icon has deteriorated over time and is in need of significant repair. In October 2018 a large section of the roof collapsed and water flooded parts of the building (including the ANAM office space and the Theatrette/community space, amongst others). The sections of the building that were affected are currently inaccessible and not safe for occupants. As a result, organisations who once occupied these areas of the building have needed to find new homes.

Restoration and renewal of the building is an absolute necessity.

ANAM’s Proposal

As current tenants, ANAM loves the building and community here, and wants to stay part of South Melbourne and see the Town Hall rejuvenated so that it may be used and enjoyed by the community for decades to come.

For this reason, ANAM has recently submitted a proposal to Council for ANAM invest $40million into the building across three years to renew and restore the Town Hall.

ANAM proposes to:

Significantly increase community and cultural access, including:

  • Maintaining offices for existing and new community groups (ANAM has not asked anyone to vacate the building)
  • Develop new dedicated spaces for community use
  • Create a new performance space with increased flexibility
  • Generate a social atmosphere with better access to communal parts of the building for the enjoyment of the general public

Raise $40 million to invest in the Town Hall’s restoration and renewal, and an additional $40m for ongoing maintenance;

  • Including working with Council, and heritage requirements
  • Proposing to pay the equivalent of $800,000 per year for the life of a 25yr + 25yr lease – it is not feasible for us to ask governments or donors to contribute $40m to ANAM’s ‘home’ unless there is certainty of tenure for an extended period

Increase the quality of facilities and event spaces

  • Upgrade to state-of-the-art facilities (meeting, seating, staging, lighting, recording, heating and cooling), for multiple uses such as dance, theatre, presentations, meetings etc.
  • Improve the building’s environmental, sustainability and accessibility standards

The City of Port Phillip is currently considering our proposal.

Key Benefits

Our proposal offers a number of benefits to the South Melbourne community. It will:

  • Contribute to the City of Port Phillip’s vision for South Melbourne
  • Stop the building’s decline and create a valuable and contemporary asset the community can be proud of, at no cost to the community
  • Provide opportunities for the community to gather and use the improved purpose-built spaces in an iconic building
  • Generate economic activity for the Emerald Hill precinct by attracting new people to the unique performance and event spaces in the building and provide new life through providing new state-of-the-art performance spaces
  • Allow Council to bring an iconic building back to life
  • Allow ANAM to continue allowing free access to high quality performances and events for local residents.

You can view our Community Information booklet here for more information.

For any further information or to discuss our proposal please contact us on 03 9645 7911 or

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