Protest Launched As 'Greedy' Overseas Developer Acquires Iconic Melb Venue

29 April 2022 | 12:37 pm | Dan Cribb

"We will not stand by and let our precious, historic building be destroyed by international greedy developers.”

The Building Industry Group has declared a ‘Green Ban’ on iconic Melbourne/Naarm legacy live music venue The John Curtin Hotel following news it has been purchased by an offshore developer.

Earlier this year, the team behind the venue revealed that the beloved space would be shutting its doors following the expiry of its lease in November, with the music industry and beyond quick to demand it be protected.

Its recent sale indicates demolition is on the card and as part of the newly announced ‘Green Ban’, a term coined in the ‘70s, a group of construction unions will refuse to work on any redevelopment of the 150-year-old venue that doesn't respect its history.

Similar ‘Green Bans’ by the Builders Labourers Federation have saved the likes of City Baths, Princess Theatre, Hotel Windsor, Flinders Street Station and the Queen Victoria Market from development.

“Melbourne is the live music capital of the world, which is specifically calculated based on how many live music venues we have per capita,” Music Victoria CEO Simone Schinkel said.

“These places of live music obviously showcase our talent, but they also build community solidarity, give rise to new voices, celebrate who we are and show us what we can become. 

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“I really hope that what we are to become is a stronger live music state, one that honours our history and realises the value and important cultural contributions made by places like The Curtin.”

City of Melbourne Deputy Lord Mayor Nicholas Reece added: “It is so important that we protect our heritage pubs and live music venues - not just because they are important heritage buildings, but because of their irreplaceable social and cultural value.

“The City of Melbourne has endorsed interim ‘significant’ heritage protection for The Curtin Hotel, to help ensure it receives the strongest possible level of protection in any redevelopment application. Any redevelopment proposal will be considered extremely carefully by Councillors.”

Victorian Trades Hall Council Secretary Luke Hilakari said that “this is about saving an important gathering place for the future, but it's also about preserving our city’s heritage”.

“We need to ensure that The Curtin is still there in 150 years' time,” he said.

“This Green Ban sends a clear message from Victorian workers: we will not stand by and let our precious, historic building be destroyed by international greedy developers.”

Venue operators have previously stated that “whatever happens we intend to go out with a BANG!”

For all upcoming events at The John Curtin Hotel, click here.