Putting Victorian Trades Hall On The World Stage

17 December 2023

The Allan Labor Government is recognising the state’s rich history by backing a proposal to World Heritage List the Victorian Trades Hall.

The project has recently hit a milestone with the Commonwealth Government providing its approval to include Victorian Trades Hall’s on Australia’s World Heritage Tentative List – a precursor to nominating the site for inclusion on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

The Commonwealth’s approval followed a formal submission by the Victorian Government earlier this year.

Built in 1874 for the ‘Eight Hours Men’ - the local trade union leaders - the Victorian Trades Hall highlights Australia’s role in achieving an eight-hour working day and is believed to be the world’s oldest continuing workers’ assembly hall.

The Eight Hours Act was passed in Victoria in 1916 and became the standard working day for Australians from 1948.

The nomination will form a crucial part of a transnational World Heritage List nomination of Workers’ Assembly Halls led by the Workers Museum in Copenhagen, Denmark, and will also include the Broken Hill Trades Hall.

The Labor Government has committed $10 million to complete the final stage of conservation works to the building, ensuring the preservation of crucial heritage fabric.

Funding will support works to the Victoria Street wing ground and first floors, the undercroft area and the north tower, supporting the conservation of the heritage site for future generations.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Planning Sonya Kilkenny

“The Victorian Trades Hall is a significant symbol of our state’s labour movement dating back to 1856 when the long struggle for the eight-hour work day was first achieved by the stonemasons.”

“It is vital we continue to recognise and conserve our heritage not only at a state level but on the world stage.”

Reviewed 21 December 2023

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