Frequently Asked Questions


  • What is Council currently doing to restore the building?

    Council’s works focus on standard Landlord responsibilities, strengthening the engineering integrity of the building’s structure and roof, re-designing its storm-water management (leakage into the brickwork caused much of the building’s problems) and making it compliant with current building codes. Council’s works will cost $15m.

  • How much will ANAM’s project cost?

    ANAM is investing $50m in the building.

  • Who will pay for ANAM’s Restoration & Renewal project? Will it be coming out of my rates?

    None of ANAM’s $50m gift is coming from ratepayers. It is from a combination of Commonwealth funding, and from ANAM's community of philanthropic supporters.

  • Will ANAM also be paying annual rental?

    Rental is set at $550,000 (+CPI) per annum, comprising a cash component of $250,000 and with an abatement against the balance on meeting annual performance measures that ensure appropriate conservation management, community access and building insurance. The rental plus the capital investment amortised over 50 years equates to rental of $1.1m (+CPI) per annum.

  • What about the on-costs, maintenance and outgoings?

    ANAM will take responsibility for all on-costs, outgoings and operational maintenance (approximately $350,000 per annum). Council will take responsibility for capital maintenance and upgrade of services and building structure.

  • Does ANAM have all this money?

    ANAM currently has $15.5m, including a significant grant from the Commonwealth Government.
    ANAM has also been in discussion with the Victorian Government and many philanthropic entities regarding major commitments, and is confident of securing the necessary funds once a Lease is in place.

  • Why does ANAM want a 50-year lease?

    When inviting governments and philanthropists to contribute $50m to restore and renew a building that ANAM does not own, funders are seeking the longest possible return to ANAM for their significant commitment. Without this Lease duration, ANAM would be unable to raise the necessary funds to give the building the future that it deserves.
    The proposed Lease is for 20 years plus an option of 15 years (with the investment of $20.5m into enhancing Council’s asset). A second option of an additional 15 years may be offered, only when/if ANAM invests a further $19.5m in the building, which it must do within 20 years or the offer of the option lapses.

  • When will the building works be finished?

    Work is currently estimated to be completed by January 2026.

  • Will this become a venue only for classical music?

    ANAM will continue to present its performances in the building. Additionally the Town Hall will also host a large variety of activities: stand-up comedy, theatre, talks and discussions, dance, and a broad variety of music.

  • What about noise pollution during the renovations? Will this have a set time so construction noise is kept to a minimum for surrounding homes and businesses? 

    At this stage we presume that all building works will take place within agreed industry hours of operation.

  • Will the renovation works require any road blocks or footpaths to be closed to the public?

    All effort will be taken to minimise disruption to the public during the building works.

  • What happens now?

    After the public consultation period has concluded, Council will consider the views expressed by the community and vote on whether to accept ANAM’s proposal. If it is accepted, ANAM will proceed to lock in outstanding funding, appoint architects and heritage advisors, and planning and building works will commence.

  • What will happen to the Town Hall if ANAM’s plan is not realised?

    There are currently no alternate proposals or funding to restore the building.


  • How does this project align with Council’s vision for the precinct?

    The project closely aligns with Council’s “Creative and Prosperous City Strategy 2018-2022” and the “Emerald Hill Master Plan”.

  • Parking is already difficult around SMTH. Won’t this just add to the problem?

    Parking is most challenging during normal retail business hours, with considerably more availability outside this time when most events will be taking place. Close to three tram routes, the Town Hall is possibly one of the city’s most accessible public buildings outside the CBD.

  • Do more concerts and performances mean there will be loud noise coming from the venue at all hours?

    The venue does not lend itself to amplified or loud noise, and it is unlikely that noise will be any more of an issue than it has been in the past 25 years. ANAM will work closely with Council to ensure the amenity and accessibility for the community and businesses around the precinct are maintained, including noise and other impacts.

  • Will residents be invited for free music events? 

    Yes. All City of Port Phillip residents and workers will continue to be offered free ANAMates memberships, enabling free entry to more than 100 events each year.

  • Will I still be able to pay rates or talk to my Council in the precinct?

    Yes. Council’s ASSIST office will continue to operate in the Town Hall or the immediate neighbourhood.

  • Will I be able to attend Citizenship Ceremonies and Council Meetings in the Town Hall?

    Yes. The Lease specifically allows for the presentation of Council meetings and Citizenship Ceremonies in the building, at no cost.

  • What is the South Melbourne Town Hall Cultural Fund?

    ANAM will establish a fund whereby $1 from each ticket sold for every event presented in the building will be invested in an independently administered fund to support the presentation of cultural events in the City of Port Phillip.

  • What hours will the café be open?

    Detailed information on the operating hours of the open commercial spaces are still to be confirmed, and will be subject to the laws and oversight of the City of Port Phillip.

  • Will I be able to visit the building?

    Yes. ANAM’s plan is designed to ensure that anyone can come in to experience the building during business hours, in addition to public events.

  • Will I be able to book the Town Hall for my school concert or wedding reception?

    Yes. There will be generous discounted venue hire rates for community groups. ANAM’s plans include a catering kitchen that can support receptions and dinners in the building’s venues.

  • Will I be able to hire spaces other than the Town Hall’s Main Hall for meetings or events?

    Yes. There will be more spaces available for public hire than previously.

  • Will the South Melbourne Symphony Orchestra continue to be able to rehearse and perform in the Town Hall?



  • Why does ANAM need the whole building?

    Whilst ANAM is leasing and taking financial and operational responsibility for the whole building, ANAM will not be occupying the whole building. Workstations for small-to-medium cultural organisations will continue to be available in the building. The areas of the building that ANAM did not previously lease are largely being transformed into new public-facing spaces: performance spaces, rehearsal studios available for hire, a catering kitchen and a pubic hospitality venue, including an external terrace.

  • Will the building be accessible to the community?

    The main aim of ANAM’s project is to open up and activate the building, have the café accessible to everyone during the day and provide more public venues and rooms for hire (at special community rates). ANAM wants the front doors to be open and accessible to all, all day long.

  • Has ANAM been paying rent to Council for its use of the Town Hall in the past?

    Yes. For the last decade ANAM has paid $120,000 (+CPI) annually in rental/asset renewal, in addition to all on-costs pertaining to the parts of the building that were under ANAM’s lease.

  • When hiring out Town Hall venues to other organisations, did ANAM provide discounts to community groups?

    Yes. ANAM managed the public hire of the Town Hall’s venues on behalf of Council in the couple of years prior to the 2020 close down. ANAM always abided by Council’s mandated hire charges for these operations, including providing Council-authorised discounted rates to be charged to community groups.


  • What about the heritage and civic history of the building: how will that be protected?

    ANAM has a deep appreciation of the important place that the Town Hall has in the history of South Melbourne, and is mindful of its responsibilities as custodian of such an iconic building. Project designers will work closely with heritage consultants and abide by the recently completed Lovell Chen Conservation Management Plan to ensure that the building’s important cultural heritage is preserved.

  • How will this project recognise the importance of this place to First Peoples?

    ANAM’s wider vision for the precinct is to lead a campaign to re-imagine the building’s forecourt so that its significance to First Peoples as an important site of gathering and ceremony is celebrated. In its work inside the building, ANAM is committed to ensuring that the site’s deep history is recognised in design and fit-out wherever appropriate.