St. George's Theatre

34 Birmingham Street,
Melbourne, VIC 3013

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Taken on: May 3, 2023

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Date time: 2023-05-03 17:52:07 +0000

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St. George's Theatre 34 Birmingham Street, Yarraville, VIC

St. George’s Theatre 34 Birmingham Street, Yarraville, VIC

Photo - Courtesy of CATHS

History Located in the heart of Yarraville, the St. George began it’s humble beginnings by one Annie Parry who submitted the first plans of the theatre via Architects Craven, Brown & Marquand in November of 1890. Soon after the plans were amended and by July of 1891 the hall opened with the play Uncle Tom’s Cabin. It was used for other plays and various public gatherings until March 8th, 1905 when the licence for theatrical proceedings was cancelled and the property itself was taken over by the National Trustees, in what is believed to have occured after Annie Parry’s death.

It became of use again in 1910 when the Company Dank & Co began running picture shows but this was short lived due to the constant complaints and problems that the hall had with the outdoor toilets, as well as dangerous gas tanks that were placed behind the hall itself.

Enter the McFarlane Family. In 1913 J. McFarlane asked for permission to add to the original hall to what it is today. Having it located on the corner of Murray and Birmingham Street, the new extensions were set to include a sliding sun roof, which became an iconic feature of the hall.

These changes enabled the theatre to become the forefront for productions and events till 1958. From there however it was purchased by Pat McGuire whose purpose for buying the theatre was to run a dancing studio. Renamed the U.D.C Ballroom, the theatre spent the better part of 40 years bringing together people from around West Melbourne to dance.

It’s a storied past, as it becomes clear that the St. George served two different functions and catered for two different groups of people. But one filled with memories and history much like many theatres like it. Unfortunately since the disbandment of the UDC, the theatre has become something of a skeleton. Today the site has become apartments. Apartments that are rich in the history of Showbiz.

Contributed by Greg Lynch –

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