This is a rare opportunity to discover the amazing architecture and rich history of Greater Dandenong - come and explore places which you have never seen before, hear the stories and history of each site and perhaps feel the presence of the past through tours of the buildings.
Over the weekend there will be a diverse range of events to participate in, choose from guided and self-guided tours, comprehensive lectures in architecture and history and fascinating exhibitions which showcase the architecture of the buildings, including original site plans.
OPEN HOUSE MELBOURNE ACTIVITIESTHE DANDENONG TOWN HALL AND DRUM THEATRE
226 Lonsdale Street, Dandenong 3175
Sunday 29 July, 10am–4pm
Tours at 10.30am, 12pm, 1.30pm, 3.00pm, running for 60 minutes, in groups of 15
Built in 1890, The Dandenong Town Hall is a superb example of a Victorian 19th century Town Hall. The building was designed by popular architects, Beswick and Hutchins, whose other credits include Brighton, Malvern, Essendon and Hawthorn Town Halls.
Originally built as a combined Shire Hall and Mechanics Institute, it also fulfilled the role of a public hall, courthouse, local library, and council chambers. It has witness numerous celebrations, ceremonies, and public meetings throughout its 128-year history.
In 2006, the Dandenong Town Hall was reimagined and redeveloped into the 521-seat Drum Theatre, designed by William Ross Architects. The original façade is a distinctive reminder of its history. The Drum Theatre is now an anchor for the city's vibrant arts community and attracts diverse audiences. The Dandenong Town Hall and Drum Theatre is an outstanding marriage of old and new architecture, which provides of sense of place in Greater Dandenong.
11am - join a lecture 'The Grand Old Lady of Dandenong' and backstage guided tour by a leading Technician.
66 McCrae Street, Dandenong 3175
Saturday & Sunday 10am-4pm
Tours at 10.30am, 12 noon, 1.30pm, 3.00pm, running for 40 minutes, in groups of 15
Designed by renowned architect Frederick Ballantyne of JFW Ballantyne and Roy Wilson, Benga expresses the aspirations and developments in domestic housing during the interwar period. Built for the local doctor, Ian Hart and his wife, Dorothy Hart, at the time it was to be the largest and most expensive house constructed in the Shire of Dandenong.
At the stage of design, Dorothy Hart was dissatisfied with the original plans which reflected Ballantyne's more restrained Modernist style. She had them changed to reflect the Tudor Revival style which refers to numerous English architectural traditions. Benga was redesigned and built at an estimated cost of £1,850. The house was extended in 1952 and Ballantyne was engaged to design the extension to ensure its 1930s character was maintained.
A major feature of the property is the exceptional Edna Walling-inspired garden design, which features compartmentalised areas, a formal rose garden, perennial garden beds, designed paths, a pergola and a sundial.
The substantial brick home and garden – which featured provision of quarters for live-in domestic staff – reflects the social status of the doctor and his wife in the local Dandenong community.
View an Artist in Residence Showcase exhibition of painting and video artworks by Kieren Seymour, Naomi Bishop and Lisa DiPilla.
Programmed heritage exhibitions will showcase the history of the region alongside items sourced from the City of Greater Dandenong Civic Collection, Springvale and District Historical Society, Dandenong Historical Society and private collections.
The exhibition 'Make Do to Renew' on display at Benga draws on the experience of our grandparents to recycle and reuse.
225 Lonsdale Street, Dandenong 3175
Saturday 10am-4pm & Sunday 12pm-5pm
Tours at (Saturday) 10.30am, 12 noon, 1.30pm, 3pm (Sunday) 12 noon, 1.30pm, 3pm, running for 40 minutes, in groups of 15
Completed and opened in March of 2014, this $65 million municipal building in central Dandenong houses a state-of-the-art library, Council chambers and offices. It sits adjacent to the modern open plaza of Harmony Square which is fitted with a large-scale LED screen framing a performance space and stage.
There are numerous references to the local indigenous landscape throughout the building and civic square, in particular, the use of colours from Dandenong Forest river red gums in the façade of the building; the comic-like brown tree trunks that support the corrugated red canopy; and the use of timber to clad the interior of the building.
The Civic Square paving pattern was designed by artist Paul Carter – who also developed the paving pattern in Federation Square. Drawing inspiration from Aboriginal possum-skin-cloak maps, Carter's design reflects the textile patterns found in retail shops which commonly offer alterations as part of their services.
Designed by Rush Wright P/L (lead on the square design) and Lyons Architecture (lead on the building design) with Material Thinking (artist Paul Carter), this precinct has become the new civic heart for Greater Dandenong, and has received many national and state architectural and design awards.
51 Langhorne Street, Dandenong 3175
Saturday & Sunday 10am-4pm
Tours at 10.30am, 12 noon, 1.30pm, 3pm, running for 40 minutes, in groups of 15
Built in 1869 by noted building contractor Robert Huckson – who was also the owner – Laurel Lodge is Dandenong's reminder of the 19th century. Laurel Lodge is a two-storey rendered-brick house, with a single-storey return veranda and a hipped roof. The design is similar to the Italianate provincial villas and the 'Chinoiserie' style popular at the time.
Throughout the years it has undergone numerous phases of alterations, with major works carried out in the 1920s to replace the original roof structure.
The two-acre property has a generous setback from the street and originally included a two-storey stable and tennis court, which were demolished when the property was subdivided in 1936. In the front stand large Moreton Bay Fig trees, along with beautiful gardens that reflect the fashions and designs across the years.
Robert Huckson rented the property to Miss Matilda, who established a private ladies' school from 1870–1884, and from 1884–1971, Laurel Lodge was a residence for prominent local families. The property was sold to the Dandenong City Council in 1971 and opened to the Dandenong public in 1972.
'Boundless Plains to Share' on display at Laurel Lodge explores the settlement patterns of the area from early migration to more recent arrivals.
53 Langhorne Street, Dandenong 3175
Tours at 11.15am, 12.45pm, 2.15pm, 3.45pm, running for 15 minutes, in groups of 15
St James Anglican Church was built in 1864. It is the oldest unmodified building in Dandenong and continues to welcome congregations to services each week. Its significance lies not only with its age but the elegance of an old English-style church.
On 5 July 1864, the first foundation stone was laid by the Governor of Victoria, Sir Charles Darling, and was dedicated by Bishop Perry, the first Bishop of Melbourne.
In 1886, the church underwent extensions to accommodate the booming parish, and a porch was added in 1953 to commemorate the men and women who served in the Second World War. The organ, which is still operational today, was placed in the church in 1930 having come from St Patrick's Roman Catholic Cathedral in Ballarat.
The English-style gardens surrounding St James were constructed in the late 1970s as a revival of the old churchyard.
St James has offered the local Dandenong community a place of worship throughout two world wars and numerous other conflicts, the Great Depression, and the Federation.