30 May 2018
The horses have moved out and the artists have moved in thanks to a project that has transformed Southbank’s former Victoria Police Mounted Branch stables into world-class teaching and learning facility at the University of Melbourne’s Southbank campus – Faculty of Fine Arts and Music.
The former riding school now boasts a 260-seat multipurpose arts wing for theatre, dance, music theatre and music performances, with 170 art studios and flexible exhibition spaces.
The stables were purpose-built in 1912 as part of the old Police Depot which occupied much of the Faculty of Fine Arts and Music site, and included a hospital, barracks and drill hall.
The heritage features of the former police stables had been maintained through the preservation of its bluestone mounting yards, red brick façade and iconic octagonal roof and skylight, formerly referred to by Mounted Branch staff as ‘The Dome’.
The University of Melbourne’s acquisition of The Stables site was made possible through the support of the Victorian Government. The university and philanthropists including The Ian Potter Foundation, The Myer Foundation and Martyn & Louise Myer supported the site’s $18 million refurbishment.
The repurposing and redevelopment of The Stables is part of a long-term plan to transform Southbank into one of the world’s leading arts precincts.
Other key projects in the University’s Southbank campus redevelopment include the recently-opened Buxton Contemporary, and a new state-of-the-art nine-storey building for the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music – The Ian Potter Southbank Centre – which opens in 2019.