History of Yarra's Town Halls

Fitzroy Town Hall 1874Richmond Town Hall

The Borough of Richmond was created in 1855, was proclaimed a Town in 1872 and a City in 1882.  The Richmond Town Hall was constructed in 1869 to the design of C. Vickers (architect).  The contractor was L. Carrel.

From the 1920s, councillors at Richmond began discussing the possibility of renovating and extending the building, and in 1934-36 the Town Hall was extensively altered.  The architect was H.R. Johnson, and the contractor was the Reinforced Concrete and Monier Pipe Construction Co.  The remodelling included a new façade to Bridge Road, featuring a central portico and tower, and Art Deco ornamentation (Egyptian Revival style).  The interior was also remodelled in the Art Deco Style.

The building was extensively refurbished again in 1990-91.  A new floor was constructed within the double-height space of the auditorium to accommodate new meeting rooms and offices.  The ground floor was remodelled to incorporate a new lift and reception area, and the first floor council chamber was subdivided into offices.

Fitzroy Town Hall

The Municipality of Fitzroy was proclaimed in 1858, became a borough in 1863, a Town in 1870, and a City in 1878.  The Fitzroy Town Hall was constructed in two stages in the 19th century.  The hall wing and a tower were designed by W.L. Ellis and built in 1873 by Nation Company.  The second stage, designed by G. Johnson and built by J. Moore in 1887-90, included extensions to the hall, new municipal offices, library, court house and police station.  A centrally-located tower replaced the original.

The Fitzroy Town Hall is an intact and exemplary High Victorian building.  It features grand Corinthian porticos and temple forms and an unusual clock tower.  The building's freestanding form, fine interiors and multitude of prominent foundation stones are also distinctive.
The Courthouse entrance is a feature of the exterior and is a fine example of one of Johnson's favourite motifs.

After Council amalgamations in 1994 the Fitzroy Town Hall was largely vacated, this provided an opportunity for Council to restore and enhance the building, this work was done with the help of a Community Reference Group.  On 18 March 2007 the building re-opened the building to the public.

Collingwood Town Hall

The Municipality of Fitzroy was proclaimed in 1855, became a borough in 1863, a Town in 1873, and a City in 1878.  The Collingwood Town Hall was built in 1885-90 to a design of Melbourne architect, G. Johnson.  The Collingwood Town Hall complex comprises town hall, library, municipal offices, court house and post office, all arranged in a heavily ornamented two-storey fabric of brick, stucco and wrought iron, and dominated by a soaring clock tower.

The Collingwood Town Hall is an important example of the work of G. Johnson, possibly the most prolific designer of municipal buildings in late 19th century Victoria, as well as of many theatres and opera houses in Melbourne and other Australian cities and the annexes to the Royal Exhibition Building in Carlton.

The Town Hall is largely intact and its unpainted ornate exterior is a comparatively rare example of 19th century boom style classicism in original condition in Victoria.  The exterior form remains substantially as it was when the building was opened in 1887, when it was lauded in the Melbourne press as a grand and attractive building.

Substantial internal alterations were carried out in 1937-38 by architects Leigh and Bartlett.  These changes included changes to the entrance area on the west side of the building, the removal of internal staircases and walls, reorganisation of cloak and wash room facilities, and the refurbishment of the interior in an Art Deco style.


Further information
Strategic Planning Branch
9205 5049

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