West Melbourne’s Festival Hall granted heritage protection

An artist’s impression of the two towers Stadiums Limited applied to replace Festival Hall in January.

The Heritage Council of Victoria has deemed West Melbourne’s Festival Hall as worthy of permanent heritage protection.

Following a hearing on October 2, HCV confirmed last week that the building at 272-306 Dudley Street will be included in the Victorian Heritage Register.

In January, the venue owner, Stadiums Limited, lodged plans to replace the site with two 16-storey apartment towers.

However following a recommendation in May that the site is of state significance, Stadiums Limited withdrew its application.

Stadiums Limited intended to sell the site following the approval of any redevelopment plan.

Following its listing on the Victorian Heritage Register, the owner is still able to repurpose the site as a mixed-use complex. However, elements of the stadium, including its façade, box offices and tiered seating, will now need to be incorporated.

“Festival Hall, also known as West Melbourne Stadium, was constructed in 1955, replacing the 1913 West Melbourne Stadium,” HCV said. “Festival Hall and its predecessor were the principal boxing and wrestling venues in Victoria from 1913 until at least the late 1970s. Festival Hall was a principal live music venue in Victoria from the 1950s until the 1980s and hosted some of the most important national and international musicians of that era”.

The stadium hosted boxing and gymnastic events during the 1956 Olympic Games. Musicians including Fleetwood Mac, Frank Sinatra, Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Ed Sheeran have also played at the West Melbourne complex.

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Marc Pallisco

A former property analyst and print journalist, Marc is the publisher of realestatesource.com.au.