The headlines in The Age this week about the demolition of Melbourne’s Palace Theatre read “Morally Outrageous” and “End of an Era” really did sum up the sad and sorry situation that Melbourne found itself in earlier this week. For despite the tireless efforts of Save The Palace Theatre group since 2013 (of which AMMP is a sponsor), the owners of the property were allowed to commence with demolition to make way for a Marriot Hotel.
The Palace housed The Metro nightclub for over 20 years from 1987 as well as a live music hall, playing host to artists including local bands including Divinyls, Kate Ceberano and Silverchair, as well as overseas performers such Nirvana, James Brown, The Prodigy, Slash, Jane’s Addiction, Arctic Monkeys and Queens of the Stone Age until its doors shut in 2014.
These quotes appeared in an earlier story Legendary Australian Venues on this site:
“What a tragedy to have to lose such an iconic building with memories that can never be replaced. It’s too easy to demolish and simply put something up in its place, but you can never replace the investment that has been made in that space. Every note, every ounce of sweat produced on that stage all forgotten…. “like tears in the rain”! I’d like to think that Melbourne is a city that knows why it invests in its arts and culture…. Why stop at its heritage architecture, especially a building steeped in so much history?”
Every great city of the world has great theatres. Like the Lyceum Theatre in London, The Palace has been an opera house, and a venue for rock bands – including Divinyls, featuring my cousin Chrissy Amphlett – and some great theatre. Like the Lyceum in London, The Palace has also gone through many incarnations. Unlike the Lyceum, sadly, it is not a listed building. As a member of the ARIA Hall of Fame together with Chrissy, I would like to note the number of other ARIA inductees who have performed at The Palace. Perhaps most importantly, The Palace has always been there for the people of Melbourne and the people of Australia as an icon spanning the generations. For the sake of generations past, present and future we should preserve it for music, art and theatre – which it has housed since 1912.
Patricia Amphlett OAM:
National President of Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance and former Vice President of Actors’ Equity. Member of the ARIA Hall of Fame.
But instead of giving up because of this particular setback we hope that AMMP readers will instead become more determined to save other music venues under threat of a similar fate. Save The Palace has this page which lists some of the other campaigns currently being fought across Victoria, and we are sure that each state in Australia will have groups which need your support too. If you have memories of The Palace you would like to share or alternatively are involved in a campaign to save a music venue in your local area please email AMMP via our contact page with details.
Feature Image: Palace Theatre on Bourke Street, Melbourne. Photo taken on 19 December 2014. Image from WikiMedia Commons