Palace demolition begins

By Isabelle Harris

The venue, a significant live music and performance space to many Melburnians, began life as a theatre in 1912, before rotating through use as a cinema, theatre, and church in succession.

It was reinvented as The Metro Nightclub after the sale of the building in 1980, which resulted in a major internal refurbishment.

As a music venue, it hosted musicians such as Queens of the Stone Age, The Killers, and Arctic Monkeys. 

The nightclub was even used as a location for a Kath and Kim episode, entitled Party

It played an integral role in Melbourne’s live music scene, with some attendees travelling from interstate to see shows, and was a fixture of the nightclub scene.

After it closed in 2014, activists campaigned against the development of a hotel on the site arguing that it would come at the expense of the theatre’s architectural and cultural significance. 

Save The Palace publicised apparent destruction of internal walls and decorations a week prior to an emergency protection vote that would grant heritage status to internal fittings. 

Managing editor of the Melbourne Arts Review Rohan Shearn, who worked at the Metro Nightclub in the ‘90s, agreed that the site held cultural significance and was a “prime nightclub” in its heyday.

“That is actually concerning [that] the damage has been done,” Mr Shearn said. 

He also said that while it was sad that a great venue had been lost, a restoration was unlikely as a redevelopment of that scale would likely cost into the “tens of millions”. •

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