Heritage Victoria grants permission for Demolition of Princess Mary Club

MHA is sad and disappointed to learn that Heritage Victoria has issued a permit allowing BOTH the demolition of the Princess Mary Club and the construction of a large tower right next to the Wesley Church. A campaign to save the Princess Mary Club and demand a more sympathetic new development gained wide support but has ultimately been ignored by Heritage Victoria. The new tower will sit virtually on top of the bluestone manse. While the permit requires some more room around the manse and church compared to the original plan submitted it still isn’t particularly sympathetic. The site has been under threat for a while now, in fact the PMC was one of the first buildings MHA added to its list of threatened buildings when we first formed five years ago.

Princess Mary Club, Lonsdale Street front c1985

The demolition of the Princess Mary Club is a significant blow to Melbourne’s inter-war heritage, and to the streetscape of Lonsdale St. Despite a significant amount of development along Lonsdale over the past 50 years or so, the area around the Wesley Church and the PMC retained a sense of the city in an earlier period. The Princess Mary Club was built in 1926 and 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. You can read more about the history and the site here.

The images below show how the proposed tower will not only replace the PMC but also encroach onto the area around the church. You can see the whole permit here Wesley-H0012-P21963 Heritvage Victoria has also published a Q and A about the site and permit Wesley-Q-and-A.

Proposed Wesley Church Development by Leighton Properties 2


The development still hasn’t got a permit from the minister or the City of Melbourne, our only hope is that the Minister rejects to tower for streetscape reasons, because of its lack of setbacks and very large scale.

10 thoughts on “Heritage Victoria grants permission for Demolition of Princess Mary Club

  1. Unbelievable…this would not happen in Europe. The developers ate crazy. It would be more profitable to restore the original facade and build a few large luxurious apartments. There are too many dog box flats still not sold in inner city, and there are discerning people who would pay plenty to live in a smaller exclusive heritage building…wake up Heritage Victoria!,


  2. An absolute disgrace, Heritage Victoria. Your name encompasses the word ‘heritage’ so feel free to change your name to ‘Developer’s Wet Dream’.


  3. This is another sad result for the heritage of our beautiful city. The way things are going it will be unrecognisable in the space of a few tears. We are in Tasmania for a visit and are so impressed with the way all old buildings have been key and restored to their former beauty. Please visit here to see what is left of Australia’s past in architecture. Well done Tasmania. Shame on Melbourne.


  4. Heritage Victoria don’t ever protect heritage. Surely they are corrupt. Something big isn’t right here. These days you can’t do anything. We have a democracy on paper, but really, we are not much better at acting on behalf of the people of a city than a communist China mentality.


  5. Isn’t it about time someone sacked the heritage group? Since they apparently do not understand what heritage is – what is it that they actually do? Seems all they are likely to do is to give permission to demolish well – maintained older buildings so developers can ‘develop’. Seems to me you and I could do a better job! This building is still a part of Victoria’s heritage. Many young country women used it as a base for their studies. Real shame if it all goes ahead.


  6. This is a disgrace. What is the use of having a heritage act if heritage Victoria don’t do anything with it. Our heritage laws are defunct.


  7. I can’t believe that another heritage building is going – I agree with Belinda Williams – convert it into boutique classic apartments would be much better use of the building


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