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Melbourne Town Hall is the central City and town hall, and is a historic building that has been there since 1867, Australia, in the State of Victoria. It is located on the northeast corner of Swanston and Collins Streets, in the central business district. It is the seat of the local government area of the City of Melbourne. It has been used for multiple purposes such as concerts, theatrical plays and exhibitions.

Melbourne Town Hall
Melbourne Town Hall-Collins Street.JPG
Looking east along Collins Street toward the Melbourne Town Hall
General information
LocationMelbourne, Australia
Construction started1867



Melbourne Town Hall, 1910

Melbourne was officially incorporated as a town on 13 December 1842, with Henry Condell as its first Mayor. However, it wasn't until 1854 that its first Town Hall was completed. Begun in 1851, the work ground to a halt with the beginning of the Victorian gold rush. The foundation stone of a new, grander Town Hall was laid on 29 November 1867 by the visiting Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, after the demolition of the first.[1][2] The current Town Hall officially opened on 11 August 1870 with a lavish ball, which was personally funded by the Lord Mayor Samuel Amess.[3][4][5]

The foundation stone of the additional front portico was laid in 1887, and Sir Henry Weedon laid the foundation of the administrative annex building on 27 August 1908.[6]

During the Melbourne International Comedy Festival the Melbourne Town Hall acts as venue to a large number of the performances.

In 1925, a fire destroyed a large part of the town hall, including the main auditorium and pipe organ. It was rebuilt and enlarged, extending east over the site previously occupied by the Victoria Coffee Palace, an early temperance hotel frequented by Melbourne's power brokers. The rebuilt section lost some of Reed's original flourishes including the elaborate mansard roof.

In 1964, The Beatles attended a civic reception at the Melbourne Town Hall. "Outside 20,000 teenagers had gathered to obtain a glimpse of the pop idols. Again, frenzied and hysterical cheering and uncontrollable screaming erupted when the Beatles emerged."[7]


The Town Hall was designed by the famous local architect Joseph Reed and Barnes, in the Second Empire style. Reed's designs also included the State Library of Victoria, the Royal Exhibition Building, and Melbourne Trades Hall.

The building is topped by Prince Alfred's Tower, named after the Duke. The tower includes a 2.44 m diameter clock, which was started on 31 August 1874, after being presented to the council by the Mayor's son, Vallange Condell. It was built by Smith and Sons of London. The longest of its copper hands measures 1.19 m long, and weighs 8.85 kg.


The Main Auditorium includes a magnificent concert organ, now comprising 147 ranks and 9,568 pipes. The organ was originally built by Hill, Norman & Beard (of England) in 1929 and was recently rebuilt and enlarged by Schantz Organ Company of the United States of America. Stoplist:



  1. ^ "VISIT OF THE DUKE OF EDINURGH". Hamilton Spectator And Grange District Advertiser (605). Victoria, Australia. 30 November 1867. p. 2. Retrieved 16 February 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
  2. ^ "THE MELBOURNE TOWN-HALL: PAST AND PRESENT". The Australasian. LXXXIX, (2, 315). Victoria, Australia. 13 August 1910. p. 36. Retrieved 16 February 2017 – via National Library of Australia., PHOTOGRAPH: THE TOWN-HALL, BUILT 1850-53, PULLED DOWN 1868.
  3. ^ "THE GRAND FANCY DRESS BALL GIVEN BY THE RIGHT WORSHIPFUL SAMUEL AMESS MAYOR OF MELBOURNE, ON THE OPENING OF THE NEW TOWN HALL, 11th AUGUST, 1870". Illustrated Australian News for Home Readers (162). Victoria, Australia. 10 September 1870. p. 161. Retrieved 16 February 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
  4. ^ "DEATH OF ALDERMAN AMESS". The Argus (Melbourne) (16, 224). Victoria, Australia. 4 July 1898. p. 6. Retrieved 16 February 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
  5. ^ "NEW COUNCIL CHAMBER". The Australasian. LXXXIX, (2, 315). Victoria, Australia. 13 August 1910. p. 36. Retrieved 16 February 2017 – via National Library of Australia.
  6. ^ “Happy birthday to our Town Hall admin building #melbourne”, City Of Melbourne on Instagram
  7. ^ The Beatles in Melbourne, OnlyMelbourne

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