End of an era as Allans Music quits the Melbourne CBD after more than 150 years

The building at 152 Bourke Street, Melbourne.

It is the day the music died in Melbourne city retail.

Last week, For Lease signs went up on the windows of the Bourke Street premises for years occupied by Allans Music – Australia’s oldest music retailer – which in 2010 merged with Billy Hyde Music.

In 2012 the Allans Billy Hyde business was placed into receivership before being purchased by Con Gallin, operator of the Gallin’s music chain.

Three months ago, Allans Billy Hyde and Gallin’s Musician Pro Shop Pty Ltd entered into voluntary administration.

By that stage, according to this item on smartcompany.com.au, several retail stores across the country had been closed, but outlets in Melbourne’s Prahran, and the city store at 152 Bourke Street, were expected to continue trading throughout the administration period.

Ryder Commercial’s banners now cover the windows of 152 Bourke Street, however no advertisements for the space are yet online.

The city store, within a heritage listed art deco building (pictured top, left), sold a variety of music products including guitars, drums, percussions, PA and lighting, brass instruments, stringed instruments, pianos, keyboards and print music.

Allans Music has been trading in the Melbourne CBD since the 1850s when its founders, Joseph Wilkie and George Allan set up a music warehouse in Collins Street.

Other prominent retailer to quit the CBD in recent years include boutique fashion chain Le Louvre, which relocated to South Yarra after the owner Georgina Weir sold the 74 Collins Street store her mother bought to super fund QIC in 2009 for $12 million. Le Louvre had been based in the city since the 1920s – the majority of that time at the crest of the hill.

In 2017, Bernard’s Magic Shop shut shop in the city after 80 years – the majority of which was spent in Elizabeth Street.

Earlier this year, another music store, Thomas, closed after trading in the city for 96 years.

Lewis Music, which opened in 1961, is still open, however its location, at the ground level of the Melbourne Theosophical Society building at 124-130 Russell Street, which is the subject of a development application, is uncertain longer-term.

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Marc Pallisco

A freelance property writer and experienced analyst, Marc is the co-founder of realestatesource.com.au