Welcome to the City of Port Phillip

There’s something for everyone in the City of Port Phillip over The Open House Melbourne Weekend – history, art and architecture, great food, take a sneak peak into some of the city’s secret places.

Did you know, once upon a time St Kilda was home to the wealthiest members of Victorian society. Starting at the Victorian Pride Centre, step inside the world of the Movers, Shakers and Money-Makers of St Kilda with a guided walking tour around the 19-century mansions on St Kilda hill and uncover the secrets of life at the top.

Keep uncovering mysteries down by the foreshore where beneath the streets of St Kilda lies the once vibrant St Kilda Vaults. Built in the 1890s, you’ll love the opportunity to peek inside these arched shopfronts which were once the kiosks, shops and cafes that made up the life and soul of the St Kilda sea side.

From the Vaults, make your way up the hill to the Catani Clock Tower for a 40-minute guided tour of this St Kilda icon, first unveiled in 1932 and a beautiful example of Italian Renaissance style, right here on our doorstep.

Visit Royal Melbourne Yacht Squadron and celebrate 150 years of St Kilda’s sailing history – kids will love learning how to tie sailor’s knots and having their faces painted – then explore the St Kilda Foreshore; grab a coffee and walk the length of the Pier, or stop in and soak up the atmosphere in one of the beachfront bars.

 

 

St Kilda is at the heart of Melbourne’s live music scene – did you know it’s Australia’s first official Live Music Precinct? Don’t miss the striking mural of Paul Kelly on the side of the The Espy as you make your way South, past Luna Park and towards Edgewater Towers, a 1960s Manhattan-inspired masterpiece with its terrazzo flooring and curved stone lobby wall.

Chat to residents of the towers during a self-guided tour of the lobby before taking the lift to the communal rooftop area designed by Opat Architects for 360-degree views of the city and the bay.

As is fitting for Victoria’s first official Live Music Precinct, this part of town has been a much-loved live music destination for a long, long time and the Swingin’ St Kilda: Swing and Big Bands walking tour is testament to that. Meet upstairs at the St Kilda Army & Navy Club and peek inside St Kilda’s famous swing and big band venues, born from the influence of US troops during the war years.

Make your way to the Botanic Gardens (be sure to detour along Acland Street for cake and culture along the way – the famous Monarch Cakes has been baking there since 1934!) then join the walking tour The Conquering Flat for a fascinating look at the rise and rise of flats in mid-20th century St Kilda.

Nearby, Holy Trinity Balaclava and Elwood is open for you to wander through, or join one of three tour times and learn about the storied stained glass windows and such mysterious characters as ‘the Vanishing Vicar’! The kids will be entertained with mystery quiz sheets – if they get the answers correct, they can ring the church bell.

Step inside the largest church in Melbourne; All Saints Church is home to a significant collection of art and iconography, and you’re free to wander through.

Then make your way just next door to St Michael’s Grammar School Performing Arts Centre, St George’s assist to see the transformation of the heritage-listed St George’s Uniting Church, now the Performing Arts Centre for St Michael’s Grammar School. See how this inspired reuse project has maintained the heritage integrity of the building while introducing the very latest audiovisual technologies. Plan your visit to catch a student performance and presentation.

Foodies will love a visit to the South Melbourne Markets, or a lunch stop along the café strip of Clarendon Street before taking a look inside the heritage-listed home of the Melbourne Camera Club for the exhibition A One Light Stand—Romancing the Darkness, shot by club members using single sources of light.

Nearby, take a step back to the days of the Goldrush at the Portable Iron Houses, three fascinating examples of the pre-fabricated iron homes which were erected in South Melbourne to house migrants who came pouring in hoping to make their fortune in the goldfields.

A tour of the recently refurbished, heritage-listed Victorian Institute of Sport is an insight into the co-existence of modern facilities and heritage architecture, and you can try your hand at speed and power tests to see how you compare to Victoria’s elite Olympic and Paralympic athletes.

There’s something for everyone in the City of Port Phillip over The Open House Melbourne Weekend, to engage with the precinct into the future, head to the Port Phillip What’s On page.

Port Phillip Program

Ornately stencilled and decorated walls and ceiling of the front end of a church interior. Known as a sanctuary it is elevated above the nave on a platform  of marble stairs. On the platform is the altar. A series of elevated narrow arched windows wraps this end of the building.
Open Access
All Saints Church

Saturday 27 July, Sunday 28 July

Black and white postcard, view standing on the Lower Esplanade looking up at the Catani Clock Tower and lawns in front of several Grand houses situated on the Upper Esplanade behind the Clock Tower.
Building Tour
Catani Clock Tower

Saturday 27 July

Edgewater Towers North elevation in sunshine brightly illuminating the white facade colour.
Open Access, Building Tour
Edgewater Towers

Saturday 27 July

Sandstone church with vintage car parked at the front.
Open Access, Building Tour
Holy Trinity Balaclava and Elwood

Saturday 27 July, Sunday 28 July

Old Freemasons Hall c1920.
Open Access, Exhibition
Melbourne Camera Club: A One Light Stand—Romancing the Darkness

Saturday 27 July, Sunday 28 July

Colour photograph, contemporary view of Eildon court, a historic house in Grey Street St Kilda, Grey washed exterior, romantic tudor style.
Walking Tour
Movers, Shakers and Money-Makers of St Kilda

Sunday 28 July

Photograph of the front door of nineteenth century portable iron building, Abercrombie House, located in South Melbourne.
Open Access
Portable Iron Houses

Sunday 28 July

The clubhouse when opened in 1926
Open Access, Building Tour, Live Performance
Royal Melbourne Yacht Squadron

Saturday 27 July, Sunday 28 July

Black and white postcard, Rose Series, View looking down on Jacka Boulevard, the Vaults, the Sea Baths, 1950s- 60s cars drive on both sides of the road past the Sea Baths and Vaults. Catani Clock tower is visible on the Upper Esplanade.
Open Access
St Kilda Vaults

Saturday 27 July

Black and White photograph, View from the Upper Esplanade of Luna Park, the Palais Theatre and the Palais De Dance, in the 1930s.
Walking Tour
Swingin' St Kilda: Swing and Big Bands

Saturday 27 July

Colour photograph looking up at the front and entry stairs of a two Storey red brick block of flats, surrounded by green garden.
Walking Tour
The Conquering Flat

Sunday 28 July

Empty reception area with striking blue background. The Victorian Institute of Sport text is lit up by a white backlight. Chairs corale the end of the reception where guest wait.
Building Tour
Victorian Institute of Sport

Saturday 27 July, Sunday 28 July