Preston Town Hall

In 1885 Preston split from Jika Jika Shire to form the Preston Shire Council. Council offices were located at the Junction Hotel up until 1895 when the Preston Town Hall was built at its present day site on the corner of High St and Gower St. The council ran a competition to design the new building and plans for an eclectic blend of the Queen Anne and French Second Empire styles by the architects Birtwhistle and Scanlon was chosen. This design is particularly significant as most Town Halls in Melbourne conformed to a classical revival style. The 1880s were a time of great prosperity in Melbourne and the grandiose new Town Hall stood as a symbol for Preston’s civic aspirations. The foundation stone was laid in August 1893. The original design incorporated a magnificent clock tower which was unable to be built due to the financial crash of 1893 and subsequent depression. As a result of population expansion in the 1920s the former Town Hall was no longer a suitable facility. In 1929 a new Town Hall was built east of the original building which increased the size of the municipal buildings from 25 to 100 squares. Much of these extensions and a new façade were completed in 1934 and are exceptional in their stylistic unity with the original Birtwhistle and Scanlon design.