Architect: Emerald Hill Total Abstinence Society, 1863
The Temperance Hall was built in 1863 by the Emerald Hill Total Abstinence Society, one of the influential temperance movements that shaped social life in nineteenth-century Melbourne. In its early days, the hall was also used by a large number of social clubs, political parties and societies, and hosted alcohol-free concerts, dances and performances. Anthill Theatre made the space their home in the 1980s and from that point the building has had an association with the performing arts.
Since 2016 Temperance Hall has been home to leading Australian dance and interdisciplinary arts company Phillip Adams BalletLab and their performances, and hosts a curated program of ground-breaking contemporary performance and other arts events. The building comprises a main hall, two artist studios, offices and an apartment, and hosts activities including arts creation and rehearsals, residencies, exhibitions, performances, community events and private functions. While Temperance Hall has been lovingly restored, much of the building remains in its original condition, from the studio’s mosaic of layers of pastel colours showing through the cracked and fading paint work to the grand stained-glass window in the main hall.
Photos: 1 – Kristina Arnott, 2+3 – Jeff Busby, 4 – Sarah Walker.