Which Melbourne building should be most protected against redevelopment?


lonsdale-houseOver the last few days, revelations that a developer is set to demolish Lonsdale House have sent a wave of disbelief throughout Melbourne. How was this building not heritage listed, we demanded?

But it’s true: if you’ve been keeping track of Myer’s current refurbishments, they’re set to close their Lonsdale Street store and consolidate everything into the Bourke Street store. Turns out Lonsdale House isn’t listed as heritage, and Melbourne City Council are rolling over for the developers. The building is destined to become the entrance to a new shopping centre named Emporium Melbourne.

I’m sure that I read that the new centre would be inspired by the nearby QV – lots of open-air laneways weaving around the building. Unfortunately, the artist’s impressions that are now appearing in the media don’t suggest this at all.

So, Lonsdale House aside, which other Melbourne buildings should we fight hardest against being redeveloped, and why?


  1. Anything that’s left and safe: conserve. That is what makes our city so wonderful.

    Let us have a beautiful city. It used to be amazing. And it’s a crime that it has been allowed to be so compromised.

    You want to build new stuff? Great. Do it on vacant land. It’s a shame that modern architecture is so awful – but I can’t stop people building what they want, even if they have no taste.

  2. Most of Melbourne’s old buildings (pre WW2) are atrocious. Many are badly designed, cheap copies of other styles of architecture (especially those eyesore cathedrals). If you have ever had an occasion to actrually go inside these things – many are rabbit warrrens and potential death traps. Australia in general needs to develop an Australian style – this is NOT Europe or the USA – and stick to it, gradually removing the old dross as you go. More Fed Square types and get rid of the tatty, dingy old colonial rubbish.

  3. I am from Hobart Tasmania and visit Melbourne for the Art Deco.Flinders street Station inside and out need Federal Government protection, it is to Melbourne what the Bridge is to Sydney. Majorci House and Manchester Unity are among the best Melbourne has. When in Melbourne my home is the Victoria Hotel, however if melbourne loses it Deco character I will go to Sydney instead.

  4. There are heritage controls but recent history has proven they can be easily bent and twisted for the highest bidder. In the case of Melbourne, the character of the whole (and precincts like Flinders Lane) is more important than individual buildings as they define Melbourne’s character. Few remaining privately owned commercial buildings are what you’d call world class landmarks but many are worth preserving. Personally I think Flinders Street Station obviously requires protection, considering its private owners care nothing for it. Other privately owned buildings like The Windsor, Mitchell House, Majorca House, Curtin House, Myer Emporium, Manchester Unity and the Victoria Hotel also need special attention as do our remaining theatres, churches, heritage strip shopping streets and terrace houses.

  5. The Windsor Hotel. I hear word the iconic hotel is vulnerable to a form of redevelopment. Not while I’m alive!

  6. The Manchester Unity building on the corner of Collins and Swanston Street. I also live Majorca House in Flinders Lane.

  7. All of the old buildings unless they have become irreparably unsafe. No one uses architecture like this any more so once they’re gone, we’re probably not going to see their like again. If we do, it’ll all be fibreglass and cheap paint. I’m sick and tired of seeing history destroyed so some arsehole can make a quick buck. The council should be ashamed. If they want room, knock down some of the hideous 80’s remnants we have around the place.