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South Melbourne Temperance Hall


The South Melbourne Temperance Hall sits on Crown Land which remains unceded by its traditional owners the Bunurong. It is Working Heritage’s intent to confront the colonial history of the sites under our management and make genuine steps towards reconciliation.

The Property

The Emerald Hill Total Abstinence Society, one of the many influential temperance movements that shaped social life in nineteenth-century Victoria, built a hall on this site in 1863. The hall was also used by many social clubs, political parties and societies, and hosted events such as alcohol-free concerts, dances and performances. Groups using the hall included the YMCA, the South Melbourne Thistle Club, the South Melbourne Harmonic Society, the Emerald Hill branch of the Labor Party and friendly societies such as the Manchester Unity Independent Order of Oddfellows. The South Melbourne Football Club (now the Sydney Swans) is said to have formed at a meeting held in the hall in 1874. In 1888, the addition of double-storey lodging and a lecture hall was added, bringing the building to its current form.

Working Heritage began managing the site in 2012 and has since worked closely with our tenant, Phillip Adams BalletLab to repair the property, transforming the venue into a vibrant and inclusive hub for experimental dance, performance, music and art.

Current Use

South Melbourne Temperance Hall is now home to Phillip Adams BalletLab, which is a leading contemporary dance company.

Visiting the site

The property is regularly open for performances and the rehearsal spaces are available for hire, please check the Temperance Hall website for details.