Current Advocacy Projects

heritage matters

We lead advocacy campaigns, cooperate with like-minded organisations and we respond to heritage issues raised by affiliated historical societies.

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The following advocacy projects are regarding Heritage issues within the state of Victoria for which the RHSV is providing a voice. These notices may include support, objections, recommendations and general notices on heritage matters. The current advocacy list displays such statements and notices.

When an advocacy project closes or a statement is superseded it may be removed from this page. Once removed from this list, the advocacy projects are archived and may be viewed on the ‘Completed Advocacy Projects‘ page.

Rathdowne st heritage issue

Threat to Richmond’s Industrial Heritage

October 2023

The RHSV is urging Heritage Victoria to refuse a permit for a proposed development on a unique industrial complex in Richmond. The Bryant and May factory complex in Church Street is one of the finest remnants of Richmond’s industrial heyday. Being substantially intact, it provides an excellent example of industrial organisation and design in the early 20th century. The proposed development involves the construction of two towers, one of 13 levels and the other 12 levels, which the RHSV believes would have an unacceptable negative effect on the heritage value and importance of this unique heritage-listed site.

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Rathdowne st heritage issue

High-rise development in World Heritage buffer zone

October 2023

A proposed development on the corner of Rathdowne and Victoria Streets, Carlton, involves the construction of an 8-storey apartment block within the protected buffer zone around the Royal Exhibition Building World Heritage Site. This will significantly affect the cultural significance of the World Heritage area by virtue of its height and bulk and its appearance being out of keeping with the character of the adjacent buildings.

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The Ongoing Redevelopment of the Queen Victoria Market

September 2023

The City of Melbourne is pressing ahead with plans for ‘renewal’ of the market and for high rise in the precinct surrounding it. Proposed developments will further erode the heritage character of the market and its traditional mode of operation. The Council is proceeding with two new buildings on or abutting Queen Street, Trader Shed and Northern Shed, which are at odds with the market’s scale and character. And in the market precinct, just to the south of the market, the Council reversed its strategy of protecting the heritage warehouses that serviced the market and sold the property to developers. On top of this, a $1.7 billion proposal, known as Gurrowa Place was announced in late June, also includes plans for three 25 – 40 storey towers and a city square to be built on the market’s current southern car park. Heritage groups, community groups and individuals across Melbourne are condemning this new plan and RHSV Heritage Committee President Charles Sowerwine has been interviewed across major news outlets.

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Robur Tea House Appeal Against Development Refusal

August 2023

On 31 May Heritage Victoria (HV) rejected the application to surround the historic Robur Tea House with a 25 story hotel and a range of other retail and commercial buildings. HV was clearly unimpressed by the proposal. In explaining its decision, HV’s Executive Director noted that the development would have a substantial adverse visual and physical impact and significantly harm the site’s cultural heritage. However in August 2023 the decision was appealed by the developer. The permit review hearing will be scheduled to take place in the coming months. The RHSV submitted a successful objection earlier in the year and will be following the review process too.

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Image credit: Brett Price

Royal Exhibition Building, World Heritage Management Plan

April 2023

The Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens is one of Melbourne’s most important historic sites, the first in Australia to be awarded UNESCO World Heritage status. The RHSV has for a number of years been seeking to ensure that its surrounding World Heritage Environs Area is properly protected from inappropriate development. The management plan for the site and its surroundings has recently been reviewed, and the RHSV believes that the revised World Heritage Management Plan will provide much-needed additional protection for this important heritage site. However, the effective implementation of the new management plan will require a strengthening of the World Heritage Steering Committee.

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The historic Corkman Hotel in Carlton being illegally demolished in 2016. (Photo credit: Lyn George)


Inquiry into Heritage Protection in Victoria

April 2023

The RHSV is concerned that there has been a serious decline in the protection afforded to heritage buildings by local planning legislation in Victoria, and as a result an alarming loss of heritage in recent years. There is an urgent need for fundamental reform of the Victorian Planning Framework. In October 2020 a positive step in this direction was taken when the upper house of the Victorian Parliament initiated an inquiry into Victoria’s planning regulations with respect to heritage protection. RHSV welcomed this as an opportunity for positive reform. The parliamentary committee conducting this inquiry received over 280 submissions from a variety of stakeholders, including an extensive one from the RHSV, but held no public hearings. On 2 August 2022 the committee released a report. Its central recommendation was that, after the forthcoming State elections, which were due in November 2022, the Victorian Government should hold a full inquiry into the adequacy of the protections afforded by the Victorian Planning Framework. In the lead- up to the State elections, the RHSV ran a campaign urging people who cared about our heritage to seek a pledge from their upper house candidates that, if elected, they would support having this inquiry restarted.

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2022 Victorian Election Campaign






Threats to World Heritage Area: Gertrude Street, Fitzroy

September 2022

Number 1-9 Gertrude Street is currently occupied by a two-story chocolate brick 1974 office and warehouse, which at best could be described as functional. Redevelopment of the site therefore could be positive, but the building being proposed is significantly larger than the one it replaces. It is monolithic bordering on brutalist, and at odds with the largely intact Victorian buildings beside and opposite it. It will be substantially higher than any buildings in the immediate area other than St. Vincent’s Hospital and one other narrow structure, and will loom over the historic Royal Terraces nearby on Nicholson Street. It is, in other words, unsympathetic to its immediate surrounds and to the historic buildings nearby.

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The RHSV Heritage Committee may be able to assist.