St Kilda Town Hall: you possibly drive past it 5 days a week and take little notice. However this architecturally grand building on the corner of Brighton Road and Carslile Street is certainly worth noticing. Designed by local architect William Pitt and built in 1890 in the Classical Revival style, the building sits in a 19th century garden with its tall pines and a huge Hill's Fig tree.
The classical portico overlooking the gardens wasn't added until 1925 and was not part of Pitt's original design. The Carlisle Street wing was added in 1971. Some of the main features of the internal building are a spectacular central arcade lit by natural light, a marble staircase and just inside the main entrance, The Gallery which provides a rich exhibition space for displaying painting, sculpture, photography, ceramics, textiles, printmaking and similar art and craft works.
Prior to the 1991 fire, this building had one of the best and most popular ballroom dance floors in Melbourne and among the many notable events that have been staged here, are the fencing events for the 1956 Summer Olympic Games. It now houses the secondary offices of the Port Phillip Council.
Facing Carlisle Street are the clean lines of a redeveloped area containing ramps, seating, trees and the Twisted Curves sculpture, the work of Richard Serra. Directly opposite is the St Kilda Library, the extension of which was the work of the same architects who rebuilt the damaged wing after the fire.
The April 7th fire of 1991 destroyed the Banquet Hall, Supper Room and many works of art and the cost of rebuilding was staggering. While the reconstruction work which began in 1992 and was completed in 2008, in an unusual step, the charring and smoke damage were left to tell of the tragedy.
On an often overlooked patch of land at one of Melbourne's busiest intersections, stands this grand lady of architecture and along with her fine companions, the old St Kilda Post Office and the Post Office Hotel is certainly warrants your time and enthusiasm.