RMIT Building 24

Former Foresters’ Hall Facade

Client: RMIT University
Status: Complete 2015

Heritage Register H1495

Foresters’ Hall was completed in 1888 for the Ancient Order of Foresters (AOF) by the architects George Ravenscroft and Freeman. The building remained in use as their headquarters until 1960s when it was purchased by the Victoria Education Department for RMIT’s Student Union.

Foresters’ Hall is a notable example of Melbourne boom-style classicism and is characteristic of the many public and private institutions established during the 1880s and is indicative of the prominent role played by friendly societies in the development of Melbourne during this period.

The main rendered façade is divided into 3 bays with a large pediment and entablature featuring the crest and motto of the Ancient Foresters, ‘unitas benevolentia concordia’ (Unity, Benevolence & Concord). There are a number of decorative elements which adorn the façade including the baluster running across the base of the second level windows, scroll key stones to the window arches and rosette air vents.

The façade has been extensively re-rendered after the removal of lead paint and contaminated render. The striking colour scheme is based on similar buildings from the period and original paint samples found during the paint stripping process.