Emerald Hill Library & Heritage Centre

Architect: Horace J Mackennal

Inner South | IS01

Building Description

Once the site of the South Melbourne Post Office, the Emerald Hill Library & Heritage Centre is a rare example of a Beaux Arts style public building in Victoria. A contemporary upgrade by Paul Morgan Architects in 2013 improved the building’s performance in a bold update to local library and heritage services.

The 2013 refurbishment retained the integrity of the original structure, and built on and referenced upgrades from the 1970s. The site now includes expanded library spaces, a children’s area, heritage centre, program spaces and outdoor play area. Bricks from both the original Beaux Arts building and the 1970s addition were reclaimed from demolition and re-used in construction for new walls and a sub-floor labyrinth that tempers air for efficient heating. Rainwater is harvested and used for garden irrigation and toilet flushing, and helpd to minimise run-off on a largely impermeable site.

The Port Phillip Heritage Centre is now a focus for local history research, cultural heritage programs and library services.

What's On

Guided tours of Emerald Hill
Local self-guided trail tours
“Monument to a view” – a display of photos taken from Park Towers at its opening in 1969 with contemporary images from residents and commissioned photos to celebrate its 50th anniversary
Historical and contemporary images of South Melbourne

On Saturday 27 July 2019 Emerald Hill and surrounds will light up for Open Doors Emerald Hill – the inaugural winter arts festival bringing together the best of arts and culture in South Melbourne.

Open Doors Emerald Hill brings together disability arts culture, visual arts, music, dance, literature, heritage architecture and Indigenous culture and performance in a one-day free event that’s accessible to all.

Coinciding with Open House Melbourne 2019, Open Doors Emerald Hill will take place over one action-packed day on Saturday 27 July, from 10 am until 8 pm. Find the full program and schedule here.


195 Bank Street, South Melbourne 3205, South Melbourne VIC

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