St Kilda has long been home to many of the city’s arts events and of course, a number of its grand theatres. Today it is still home to some of the city’s most beautiful, iconic, and culturally and historically significant buildings. As well as the grand old dame that houses the Astor – a not especially gaudy structure that belies the hive of activity that takes place inside, St Kilda boasts the National Theatre and, shoreside, The Palais.
Each in its own right is so much more than just beautifully stacked bricks and mortar to view from the beach or while sauntering down Barkly St. And now – not exactly like us but also not entirely unlike us – The Palais is in trouble. Its trouble is not about a freehold, however, as the building is owned by the State Government. It is about maintenance. A LOT of maintenance – far more than the comparatively minor repairs the Astor requires.
As a state owned building, what’s needed is investment from the government. There’s an election upcoming so now is a good time to make some noise if you love the Palais. We love the Palais. We love all of the rich history and the wonderful cultural events that take place in Melbourne, and especially St Kilda: it’s our home, and we want our home to keep its cultural icons.
There’s too much apathy when it comes to keeping history alive, which is why I’m writing this post. Recently, in the media frenzy that followed our announcement of closure in 2015, a journalist asked me why the building housing the Astor was important when it’s not yet reached 100 years in age. The Astor is 78, the Palais is 87. Neither building is 100 years old, but both are incredibly important and must be maintained. My question, not just for that journalist, but for everyone, is this: how can a building ever hope to become 100 years old if it isn’t valued, protected and maintained before then?
If you love the Palais and want to know more, visit: ilovemypalais.com
Written by Tara Judah for The Astor Theatre