The Princess Mary Club at 118-122 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne is again under threat of demolition. Constructed in 1926, the Princess Mary Club is a culturally and historically significant part of Melbourne’s heritage. It is a rare surviving example of a 1920s hostel which was created for young women coming to work and study in the city, enabling a greater inclusion of women in Victoria’s workforce. There is a currently a proposal to demolish the building, and several surrounding buildings, and replace them with a multi-storey (33 levels) mixed use building. The petition protesting the demolition is here.
The site has been under threat for several years, the owners, the Uniting Church, are keen to develop the land and claim that saving the Princess Mary Club is too costly. As well as the demolition of the Princess Mary Club the new development would threaten the integrity of this well-preserved inner-city site. As noted by the Wesley Historic Precinct Action Group the site, as a whole, offers a rare physical manifestation of the social and religious ‘improving’ attitude of the nineteenth century, with a particular emphasis on Wesleyan Methodism and the role of women. The relative intactness of the site allows an easy chronological view of the development of the Wesley Church and Mission:other structures and items of significance that would be affected include:
- Caretaker’s Cottage
- Nicholas Hall (at this stage not threatened with demolition)
- North boundary wall (Note that part of the 1914 section of the wall has been removed
pursuant to an emergency order under the Building Act)
- Store Rooms/Stables to the extent of the remnant stable structure only (would be demolished)
- Forecourt landscape to the Princess Mary Club
- Significant old trees
- East and west open drains flanking the Church
- Land around the School House and forecourt to Nicholas Hall
There is currently a campaign to save the building that is being run by the Wesley Historic Precinct Action Group and Fiona Patten MLC are working together to present a counter-proposal for the site which would save the Princess Mary Club. MHA will writing an objection to the proposed development. To show your support please sign the petition here.