Conservatory of Music and Melba Hall - Royal Parade. PARKVILLE [Walking Melbourne Building Information]
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Conservatory of Music and Melba Hall: Royal Parade, PARKVILLE

Conservatory of Music and Melba Hall
Conservatory of Music and Melba Hall
Conservatory of Music and Melba Hall
Conservatory of Music and Melba Hall
Conservatory of Music and Melba Hall

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Building Profile

Name : Conservatory of Music and Melba Hall


Address: Royal Parade

Postcode: 3052

Construction Details

Built: 1905 - 1935
Original use: Hall
Current use: Hall

number of floors : 2

Built in the Edwardian period in the Art Noveau style

Notable features

The Conservatorium of Music and Melba Hall is architecturally significant as a fine and unusual example of Edwardian design in Victoria. The Conservatorium of Music is an important early twentieth century building in Victoria, illustrating a fusion of Art Nouveau detailing with an otherwise traditional classically derived building form. The building is also an interesting example of the influence in Australia of English architecture of the 1890s and 1900s. Although details of the facade are an Art Nouveau reflection, the building is an original design expression which may be seen as part of the recurrent search for an indigenous architecture style.


The Conservatorium of Music was established in 1895 and run by Professor Marshall Hall in rented rooms in a building opposite Carlton Gardens. Later the Conservatorium was moved to the grounds of the University of Melbourne and located in a purpose-built building. The first stage was erected in 1909 and opened in April 1910. The two storey rendered brick building was designed by architects Bates, Peebles and Smart and the contractors were Swanson Brothers. Dame Nellie Melba laid the foundation stone. Melba Hall was completed in 1913 to designs by the Public Works Department, and two later wings, the north Tallis Wing in 1927 and the Marshall-Hall Wing in 1935 were added by university architects Gawler and Drummond. The additions were in a matching style to complete the original design symmetry. The additions were made possible by the continuing support of benefactors such as Sir George Tallis, and Mrs Herbert Brookes, the daughter of Sir Alfred Deakin. The white stucco walling is shaded by the wide eaves of the slate roof and contrasts with the terracotta, patterned gables. The building has wide projecting eaves in the manner of English domestic architecture of the period. The shaped eaves brackets, ground floor window hoods, tile faced gables and Art Nouveau decoration of clover, cress and gumnuts ornament the facades. The windows are one multi-pane sash over a single pane lower one. The projecting porch and parapet in the centre of the main west facade is in the Free Style manner and contains the foundation and memorial stones. The interior is sparsely detailed and the Melba Hall has a barrel vaulted ceiling. Melba Hall was renovated in the 1980s.

Architect: Bates, Peebles & Smart

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