The National Trust of Australia (Victoria) has been lobbying for the preservation of Victoria's heritage since 1956. Advocacy is a major priority for the Trust. As the largest community-based heritage organisation in Victoria, the National Trust is the lead body that can launch campaigns to protect heritage places from threats to their significance.

Preservationists Get Organised

Early Melbourne Architecture

The first attempt to document Melbourne’s early architectural heritage and clearly state that there was something worth
preserving.

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Magnificent Mansions Falling

The imminent demolition of the Toorak mansion Werndew incited action.

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Forming the Trust

A call is made to ‘create a society or trust for the preservation of historical and meritorious buildings in Victoria’.

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Deciding What Was Important

In just 3 years, 533 places were classified as worthy of preservation.

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Preservation Action

Before heritage preservation legislation, the only secure way to preserve a place was to own it.

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First Actions

Customs House

Parliament lobbied as an early battle stays demolition in 1959.

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Union Bank of Australasia

Ada and Elsie survive but the stone bank was lost.

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Capitol Theatre

An avant-garde crystalline cinema, shops and office tower excited international fervor.

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Growing dissent and protest in the 1970s

The Mint

Australia’s only operational mint for 42 years.

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Colonial Storekeepers Building

The public pickets to save a government building.

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St Patrick’s College

A special Preservation Committee is formed for the fight.

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National Bank

A façade is kept and matched in style for a modern addition.

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Modernism Lost

Gas and Fuel Building

The demolition of the Gas and Fuel towers met little resistance.

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Southern Cross Hotel

The hotel where the Beatles stayed was a symbol of Melbourne’s growing sophistication.

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ICI House

Action in the 1980s preserved Melbourne’s first skyscraper.

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The ‘Paris end’ of Collins Street

80 Collins Street

The 80 Collins Street address for Nauru House was created by demolishing two Regency style townhouses, part of a terrace built in 1855.

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86-88 Collins Street

A major save for complete residential terraces at the ‘Paris end’.

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123 Collins Street

The development of a luxury hotel demands the demolition of a significant part of an important city block.

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61 Spring Street and Tasma Terrace

61 Spring Street

61 Spring Street (also known as 7 Collins Street), was recognised as the keystone of the ‘Paris end’
of Collins Street.

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Tasma Terrace

Tasma Terrace served as a boarding house before being threatened with demolition in the early 1970s.

Acts of Parliament

Early 1970s concern for heritage preservation was acknowledged by Government.

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Preservation

Union ‘Green Bans’ and a new Committee of Management helped save the buildings.

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The City Square and the Regent Theatre

The City Square

In 1850 a pamphlet was circulated calling for an area that would ‘ventilate and purify the most crowded areas of the city’.

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The Regent and Plaza

Saved once, the Theatres are again threatened.

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Community Activism

The threat of losing this loved entertainment venue sparked spontaneous community and trade union action.

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The threat of losing this loved entertainment venu

While work was stalled, community opposition to the demolition of the Regent grew.

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Related content section

Warehouse Row

B0458
As the river port of Melbourne boomed during the 1850s, a series of bluestone warehouses were constructed at the bottom end of King Street.

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The Rialto Precinct

An outstanding Gothic, Flemish, Venetian and Renaissance revival style streetscape is formed.

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Streetscapes

During the 1970s the National Trust began to advocate for the protection of streetscapes, not just individual buildings.

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Compromise

After years of debate and campaigning, a final compromise was reached in the early 1980s.

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