Melbourne’s famed Festival Hall a step closer to receiving heritage protection

Festival Hall, University of Melbourne Archives - Stadiums Pty Ltd Collection AARMelbourne’s famed Festival Hall is a step closer to receiving heritage protection. The heartbeat of Melbourne’s arts, music and sporting culture, the venue was nominated for the Victorian Heritage Register in January, after a planning application was lodged with the City of Melbourne for a development on the site.

Festival Hall has sat at the heart of Melbourne’s live music scene for more than 60 years, playing host to blockbuster acts such as The Beatles, Frank Sinatra and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

“Nothing speaks to Melbourne’s arts, music and sporting culture quite like Festival Hall. It has a proud history, and heritage protection will give it a safe and secure future too,” said Minister for Planning Richard Wynne. “Inclusion on the Victorian Heritage Register will mean any development on the Festival Hall site will have to respect the character and the history that makes Festival Hall so special.”

Built just in time for the 1956 Olympic Games, Festival Hall has etched its name in Victoria’s sporting folklore as the scene of some of Australian boxing’s most memorable bouts – with Lester Ellis, Lionel Rose and Anthony Mundine all weaving their magic under the Festival Hall lights.

Heritage Victoria’s recommendation is based on a number of factors, including: Festival Hall’s historical and social significance at a state level; its place in Victoria’s sporting and cultural history books; and a long, socially-significant relationship with Victoria’s live music community

If the Heritage Council of Victoria decides to include Festival Hall on the Victorian Heritage Register, any proposed development would need a heritage permit before it could proceed. For more information and to make a submission, visit: for details.

Image: Interior of Festival Hall, undated, photographer unknown, University of Melbourne Archives – Stadiums Pty Ltd Collection