Trades Hall - 2 Lygon Street. CARLTON [Walking Melbourne Building Information]
Walking Melbourne

Trades Hall: 2 Lygon Street, CARLTON

Trades Hall
Trades Hall
Trades Hall
Trades Hall
Trades Hall

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Building Profile

Name : Trades Hall


Address: 2 Lygon Street

Postcode: 3053

Construction Details

Built: 1873
Original use: Public
Current use: Public

number of floors : 3

Built in the Victorian period in the Academic Classical style

Notable features

Trades Hall is of architectural significance as a fine surviving example of a large 19th century institutional building, and for its associations with Joseph Reed. It was designed as a combined Trades Hall and literary institute by the firm of Reed and Barnes and its later derivatives. Its conservative style reflects the aspirations towards social respectability of the early Trades Hall leadership. It is a rare example of a building constructed in stages over a long period from 1873-1926, which remains consistent with its original 1870s style. It is an outstanding example of 19th century craftsmanship, with architectural records showing that its builders prided themselves on using the best of local materials and building skills. This pride reflected the major role played by Victorias building unions in securing the site and the finance, and in planning and carrying out the construction of the Trades Hall building. The complex is an important Melbourne landmark and a dominating and significant feature in the Lygon Street streetscape. The buildings architects, Reed and Barnes, were very influential establishment architects who designed many of Victorias most notable public buildings. Joseph Reed (1823-1890), who founded the Reed and Barnes practice, was one of the most important architects in the history of Melbourne. Over a long working life he was a major figure during one of Melbournes most vigorous periods of growth – the 1870s and 1880s. He won numerous competitions and was responsible for a large number of important public and private buildings in various styles, including the Public Library in Swanston Street, most of the University of Melbournes 19th century buildings, Rippon Lea, Melbourne Town Hall and the Exhibition Building. His was the first major private architectural practice in Melbourne, and its successors have continued to contribute to Melbournes architectural richness ever since.


Trades Hall was constructed in some ten stages, the most significant period of building being that between 1874 and 1925. It was during this period that the imposing classical facade to Lygon and Victoria Streets was established. Trades Hall is largely a two storey building, with bluestone foundations and brick walls with an unpainted cement render finish. The facade is articulated primarily by the use of Corinthian pilasters. An entrance portico in Lygon Street features eight Corinthian columns supporting a triangular pediment between two flanking towers. The Victoria Street wing features large parapet urns. This early phase of construction was built to the design of architectural firm Reed and Barnes and its later derivatives. Later additions, such as the 1960s office building to the rear, are not sympathetic to the original style

Architect: Reed & Barnes

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