Call to Halt Temporary Queen Victoria Market Structure. Update on St Vincent’s Hospital Appealing Heritage Rulings.

This week we bring you two further updates – one on the Queen Victoria Market re-development and renovation, and one on the state of play regarding the St Vincent’s Hospital 11 storey extension project. In both instances there are serious challenges to Heritage Listings or Heritage Victoria rulings.

With candidates lining up to replace former Lord Mayor Robert Doyle, there is a significant indication that the Robert Doyle backed plan for the Queen Victoria Market will not proceed in its present format.


The issues involved are not just the heritage sheds, but the difficult and uncompromising trading conditions being imposed upon market traders during the construction period. Add to this the multi storey adjacent developments (approved) there is a general sense that the Queen Victoria Market would entirely lose its character and sense of history.

The market is a ‘people’s’ venue. Its stalls, its produce, its trading hours all reflect the demographics it has traditionally served – workers, students, migrants, bohemians and more recently city and inner city dwellers. It provides choice, quality and product simply not found in supply line marketing such as Supermarkets and Department Stores.


Alternative plans have been mooted, prepared and submitted by the ‘Friends of the Queen Victoria Market’ – and ignored.

There are strong objections from both traders and the market’s shoppers to the proposed development. Opponents are now asking that the temporary structure planned for traders to use during the shed dismantlement and basement construction now be shelved – permanently. Read this article from the Age Newspaper dated 02/03/18

Ditch $7m temporary pavilion, say opponents of Queen Vic Market plans


An artist’s impression of a proposed temporary “greenhouse” pavilion to be built on Queen Street, between the two sides of the Queen Victoria Market.

Opponents of redevelopment plans for the Queen Victoria Market say a $7.4 million temporary “greenhouse” pavilion is a waste of money that should be abandoned.

Melbourne City Council is set to approve new plans on Tuesday for the Queen Street pavilion, proposed to temporarily accommodate traders dislodged by council redevelopment works.

But those works were thrown into disarray last week when the state’s heritage authority refused to grant Melbourne City Council a permit.


The city council wants to put services for traders working in some of the 140-year-old upper market sheds below ground. It also wants to dig underground parking for 220 cars.

Heritage Victoria, though, ruled that this should not be done saying the proposed works were “unacceptably detrimental” to the heritage sheds, and that the works were unnecessary on economic grounds. Acting lord mayor Arron Wood has vowed to challenge the refusal.

But this challenge will take up to a year.


A view of the proposed temporary greenhouse pavilion, in Queen Street.

The council is pressing ahead with the planned temporary pavilion, designed by architects Breathe.

While the cost has risen from $5 million to $7.4 million, the structure is shorter than one the council approved last year – it will be 111 metres long, not 264 metres.

The pavilion’s ground level will be for traders while the upper level will include a greenhouse.

A council spokeswoman said the temporary pavilion would ensure stallholders could continue to trade within the market while works were carried out.

And she said the new pavilion would allow operators to test stalls with better access to refrigeration and storage, and trial different opening hours.

The greenhouse, designed to raise environmental awareness, will necessitate seven plane trees being cut down.

A lobby group representing some traders and shoppers, the Friends of Queen Victoria Market, said the pavilion project should be put on hold.

Spokeswoman Miriam Faine said a group of opponents to the plan intended to be at Tuesday night’s council meeting to speak against the pavilion.

She said there were two reasons it was not needed: “Their [the council’s] plans are up in the air, and the market at the moment, it’s half empty so they don’t need it for that reason too.”

She said the market needed more stall holders, “not more structures like this”.


An artist’s impression of the proposed buildings on the “Munro site”, on the corner of Queen and Therry streets, opposite the Queen Victoria Market’s deli hall.

Also at the council on Tuesday are designs going to Planning Minister Richard Wynne for a tower and linked low-rise building developer PDG is building, with the city council.

On land known as the “Munro site”, the tower will rise to 40 storeys. Together with the council’s building, it will include 410 apartments – including 56 low-cost housing units.

Ms Faine said Mr Wynne and the state government should be given credit for having refused the 60-storey skyscraper Melbourne City Council had wanted built there.


It would seem somewhat preemptory to continue with this part of the project if the heritage appeal is a minimum one year away.

The second update pertains to the St Vincent’s Hospital multi-storey development. The Hospital intends to press ahead with its plans to demolish a portion of the historical Eastern Hill Hotel (the former headquarters of the Eight Hour Day movement), the historic Easthill House and the rear of the Dodgshun House, on the location where the cottage St Mary McKillop was born in 1842 was located.

There is deep dissension within the local community and with the local Council (Yarra Council) with all relevant properties being covered by a full suburb heritage overlay.

Again, please read the Sydney Morning Herald article here reprinted from the 27/03/18.

Private hospital plans to demolish heritage-listed buildings

St Vincent’s Private hospital is seeking to partially demolish two heritage-listed Fitzroy buildings, one associated with the eight-hour day movement and the other with Saint Mary McKillop, to make way for an 11-storey hospital extension.


An artists impression of the new St Vincent’s Private hospital.

The hospital’s plans, labelled “imperialist” by local opponents, were approved by Yarra Council with strict conditions around the heritage buildings.

St Vincent’s Private subsequently appealed the decision at Victoria’s planning tribunal.

A justification for the development submitted by St Vincent’s says the hospital is facing “bed block” during the week, forcing it to divert non-elective or urgent private patients to other hospitals.

The new hospital wing will replace part of the existing hospital and includes demolishing a portion of the Eastern Hill Hotel, razing the historic Easthill House and removing the rear of the two-storey Italianate mansion, Dodgshun House.

The gold-rush era former Eastern Hill Hotel, on the corner of Brunswick Street and Victoria Parade, is listed on Victoria’s heritage register and was once used by trade unionists as the headquarters for the eight-hour day movement.

Dodgshun House, also on the register, is the Brunswick Street location of Marino Cottage where Saint Mary McKillop was born in 1842.

Easthill House on Victoria Parade is considered individually significant from a heritage perspective.

The entire site of the hospital also falls under a heritage overlay.

St Vincent’s hopes to replace all three buildings with a $94 million structure featuring natural and midnight copper cladding that will house 91 new multi-day beds for patients, 12 same-day beds and additional operating rooms.

The building will be set above a new podium on Victoria Parade and Brunswick Street.

Yarra councillor Steve Jolly said the plans also included building over a heritage bluestone lane and demolishing a three-storey building at 5 Brunswick Street that was an Indigenous birthing center in the 1970s.

“St Vincent’s Private can expand like invading imperialists or show a bit of respect for local heritage. It’s up to them,” Mr Jolly said.

“We can’t let big cheque books override our history.”

The hospital has also applied to expand an existing multi-storey car park at 93-99 Victoria Parade.

Unfortunately for St Vincent’s, its application to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal to review conditions put on its planning permit failed to get a clear result.

The conditions effectively stopped the hospital extension from intruding on any part of the sites listed on the Victorian Heritage Register.

Tribunal deputy president Helen Gibson said it wasn’t possible to provide an “easy or straightforward response” to the question asked of the tribunal.

“My opinion must be qualified and will not necessarily produce a simple, definitive answer to the underlying question of whether [the] conditions .. are valid,” she said.


The business case for the extension simply doesn’t stack up when considered against the actions of other inner city Hospitals. The Jessie McPherson and Mercy Hospitals moved to suburban locations where building provided no issues. Fitzroy is an iconic reminder of our original history. Apart from eyesores like the Housing Commission Flats on Brunswick St and the full estate there, it remains largely intact. On the surface it would appear that demanding the demolition or part demolition of heritage buildings of quite some significance is simply bloody minded. And remember, this is not an extension of the ‘Public Hospital’ but purely a money making venture, by St Vincent’s ‘Private’ Hospital.

It’s a well funded and clever ‘sleight of hand’ with smart copywriting of press releases hinting at minimalist effect to the area and its heritage. Well this time, many people both local and otherwise say ‘No!’

It’s an integral part of our heritage and it deserves to be preserved and acknowledged.

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Balance Architecture recognises the importance of the preservation of Historical Architecture. We specialise in the renovation and restoration of Heritage Buildings.

3 thoughts on “Call to Halt Temporary Queen Victoria Market Structure. Update on St Vincent’s Hospital Appealing Heritage Rulings.

  1. The email today regarding st Vincent’s hospitals temporary halt has been best news ever and balance should also be thanked for their concern , sensible advocacy and post , I feel from a Fitzroy and life time resident , my faith in justice and descion making is some how restored , mr simon ryan 87 brunswick st Fitzroy


  2. Absolutely diabolical process, the whole argument over heritage law and the need to overturn for institution as such , in this case st Vincent’s Private hospital , no not the public one , and for a private hospital and to demolish already listed , heritage registered sights , when their are clear options , this poetential loss to Melbourne’s heritage and in particular a most sensitive streetscape that is nearly continuous , intact and jamm in private hospital , consulting suites and administration office is short sighted and not sustainable , Melbourne is about to loose 3 significant sights from an aesethic, historic, archeological and socially important era , forever for short term bad planning descions


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