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Colour photograph of a 1925 three story frontage of the building in the classic Reed and Barnes style with corinthian columns.
Colour photograph of stair way to roof top with gold gilt and green paint.
Colour photography of hallway with eight hour
Colour photograph of building entrance with eight pillars over large portico.
Colour photograph of a 24 seat board room table with water filled vase and Victorian decorative scheme of maroon lower colours and cream lighter colours.

Trades Hall

Reed and Barnes 1874 in several stages through to 1925


The world's oldest continually active trade union building is a tremendous example of Victorian-era Marvellous Melbourne architecture. The Trades Hall and Literary Institute has recently completed stage two of its restoration works with Lovell Chen. Architecturally it is similar to many Gold Rush buildings. The stylistic transition from the building's Doric columns to the more elaborate Corinthian columns demonstrate how Melbourne architecture moved from the Gold Rush to Marvellous Melbourne styles.

As the home of the eight-hour day movement, the people that have been through this building are what make it truly special. The Victorian Branch of the Labor party was formed here, art schools were hosted, the development of the modern welfare state was argued for and campaigned for in the building. It is drenched in history but most importantly it is still the heart of the union movement and campaigns for working people are led from the building to this day.

What's On

There will be two guided tours, self-guided tours, two immersive art events and twenty hours of free digital art.

Visitors will learn the history of the building and some artists takes on the collective city and what it means to them.

This year Trades Hall will be collaborating with Melbourne Fringe Festival to curate a collection of short films by up-and-coming directors that revolve around the concept of collective cities as well as radio plays, and other screen art from the fringe, secreted in multiple locations throughout the building.

Images: (1) Victoria Street entrance. (2) Stair way to roof top with gold gilt and green paint. (3) Executive wing. (4) Lygon street entrance with eight pillars over large portico. (5) Executive table. All images supplied.

Important Details

Time & Date

Saturday 29 + Sunday 30 July
Open access 10am-4pm
Tours run 11am
Running for 60 minutes in groups of 30
Bookings required
First release tickets: Thursday 6 July, 12pm
Second release tickets: Saturday 8 July, 10am

Enter via the main entrance on Lygon Street.


Fully wheelchair accessible, Partially wheelchair accessible, Accessible bathroom, Accessible parking nearby, Sensory friendly, Elevator access, Closed captions


All Ages


54 Victoria St, Carlton VIC 3053

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