Soldiers’ & Sailors’
This dour square monumental pile could not be
less festive and ebullient, less
St Kilda’s response to the rupture and loss of
Anzac and after is really this Memorial Hall: St Kilda’s Shrine of Remembrance;
and designed earlier by the same architects. At the same time, an actual
Cenotaph was erected to terminate
St Kilda Soldiers' & Sailors' Memorial Hall, 2004
If not in its external appearance, then in planning terms the Memorial Hall was a concept unique for its time: an entirely community-funded multi-functional complex, with both community facilities and commercial enterprises to fund their operation and maintenance. As well as the first floor hall for meetings and dances, clubrooms and other meeting rooms on the ground floor, there were four shops on the street and twelve flats on second and third floor level, with their open space on the roof. Capital to purchase the land and erect the building was raised entirely by the St Kilda residents and council.
Philip Burgoyne Hudson was architect of some 30 buildings from 1907-39, either on his own account or in partnership with James Hastie Wardrop (1923-30) and briefly with the older Beverley Ussher, who had been architect for Melbourne’s domestic Queen Anne style in the early years of the twentieth century. Wardrop also designed a few buildings on his own during 1911-22.
Hudson and Wardrop were returned serviceman who had studied under the architect Charles D’Ebro, designer of Princes Bridge (1879), Prahran Town Hall and the mansion and former government house, Stonnington, in Glenferrie Road , Malvern (1891). They entered the architectural competition for the Memorial Hall run by the Royal Victorian Institute of Architects. It was restricted to architects who were returned servicemen. There were 13 entrants and they won.
They also won the international competition for the Shrine of Remembrance in 1923, whilst the St Kilda Army and Navy Club was being built to their design. Builder R L Phillips completed the club in November 1924, in time for Remembrance Day. It is a severe, Mannerist design, with only the shallow pediments indicating that it is a public building, rather than commercial.
The Shrine is
Later, Wardrop left classicism behind and embraced Jazz Moderne as an architectural style. These buildings included Alkira House at 17 Queen Street (1936-37) and the former United Kingdom Hotel (now McDonalds’) on the corner of Queens Parade and Heidelberg Road, Clifton Hill (1937-38), whose stacked cubic forms in its different style are not unlike the massing of the Shrine.
After only three years use as a dance and
social hall, in January 1927, the Memorial Hall obtained a permit from the
Health Department to operate as the Memorial Cinema. It continued as a cinema
until 1957. There have been 13 cinemas in St Kilda since the first, the
It is not known why there were suddenly so few cinemas in St Kilda, except that this was a time of major expansion of large cinemas in the city. Certainly, early in 1927, there was a clear need for another cinema in St Kilda, at least until the Palais opened. The Memorial remained a cinema for 30 years.
Bird, Matthew. George Alfred Kemter. A Chronological Biography. 2001.
Daniel. Cinemas in
J.B.. The History of St Kilda
from its Settlement to a City and After. 1840
The Printers Pty. Ltd.
Miles. (Architect’s index).
Architectural Survey. Final
Report. Department of
Architecture and Building,
Nigel Lewis and
St Kilda Conservation Study.
Area One. Final Report.
Johnson, Peter (who indicated further material).
von Hartell, Trethowan
and Hansen Associates. City of
Richard. Guest Ed. Trust News. June