Salvation Army City Temple - 65-73 Bourke Street. MELBOURNE [Walking Melbourne Building Information]
Walking Melbourne

Salvation Army City Temple: 65-73 Bourke Street, MELBOURNE

Salvation Army City Temple
Salvation Army City Temple
Salvation Army City Temple
Salvation Army City Temple
Salvation Army City Temple

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Building Profile

Name : Salvation Army City Temple


Address: 65-73 Bourke Street

Postcode: 3000

Construction Details

Built: 1890
Original use: Commercial
Current use: Office

Built in the Victorian period in the Second Empire style

Notable features

The Salvation Army Temple is architecturally significant as an example of the high Victorian style drawing extensively on the architecture of the French Second Empire. The range of window styles and sizes, the facade decoration of pediments and pilasters and the steeply raked flanking mansard roofs clearly mark the building as an excellent extant example of its type. The use of cast iron columns and beams internally to support the main staircase and the gallery to the auditorium demonstrates the gradual emergence of structural iron within high rise buildings in Melbourne.


The Salvation Army Temple was designed by the architects Billing & Son in association with architects Oakden, Addison & Kemp. The building was constructed of load bearing brick with iron columns and beams supporting the main staircase and auditorium floor and gallery. The main facade is stuccoed. The building was erected for the Young Mens Christian Association, but due to financial difficulties it was taken over by the Savings Bank Commissioners and subsequently purchased by the Salvation Army for 19,500 pounds in October 1894. The building was dedicated the January 1895 as the Salvation Armys Australasian Headquarters and Central Barracks. It now operates as the Armys Southern Territorial Headquarters. Externally the building incorporates architectural elements from the French Second Empire style. The four storeys terminate with an attic storey and picturesque roofline of Mansard roofs, dormer windows and decorative parapet of urns, bullseyes and a pediment. The five bay facade consists almost entirely of windows, with a profusion of segmental pediments, festoons and half-fluted Corinthian pilasters. The central bay is corbelled out at the second and third storeys and is capped by a Baroque style pediment on the parapet. A pair of cast iron gates and a frieze give access to the foyer area. The gates were forged in 1890 by the firm of P A Weston of Melbourne. The main stair has wide slate stairs and ornate cast iron balustrades with large wrought iron brackets. The first storey landing gives access to the floor of the auditorium. The auditorium is the central area of the Salvation Army Temple and contains a large stage, seating area and a raised gallery to three sides supported by cast iron columns with Corinthian capitals. It is lit by two levels of stained glass windows. The auditorium is dominated by a fine Kauri pine barrel vaulted ceiling. On the rooftop is located the attic photographic studio built in timber and created between c1895-1897. This was the home of the Salvation Armys Limelight Department, who used the attic for producing and colouring lantern slides and photographs. On one wall are stencilled the words Coloring Studio. The attic was the location for the production of the 1900 multi-media presentation entitled Soldiers of the Cross. Soldiers of the Cross was a production that ran for about two and a half hours, used 200 lantern slides and about 3000 feet of film depicting the treatment of the early Christians in Rome. In 1898 a purpose-built movie studio was added into the top floor at the rear of the building. It was lit from the top and sides by glass to provide adequate natural light for filming and included a dark room studio for editing films. The space is now considerably modernised and the original doorways have been bricked up. The west side of this area was occupied by offices, now incorporated into the stairwell. As the first major film production unit in Australia, the Limelight Department was commissioned to film the two major public events of Federation: the inauguration of the Australian Commonwealth in Sydney on January 1 1901 and the procession and flag raising of the first Federal Parliament at the Melbourne Exhibition Building on 9 May 1901.

Architect: Billing & Son

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