BLOCK 19 | St. Patrick’s Hall – the first Legislative Council of Victoria

BLOCK 19 | On this day, 09 May 1851, it was reported that Victoria’s first Legislative Council signed a 3 Year Lease for St Patrick’s Hall in Bourke Street.

In June 1849, St. Patrick’s Hall opened for business. The building was designed by Samuel Jackson and built on Block 19, land purchased by St Patrick’s Society. The Hall was used as a place for meetings and as a School for Irish children before it became the first Legislative House of Victoria in November 1851. Today you will find The Law Institute of Victoria at 470 Bourke Street where St Patrick’s Hall used to stand.

The following reactions were recorded by the Melbourne Daily News and The Geelong Advertiser after the lease was signed.

The Melbourne Daily News, 20 May 1851:

The project of erecting a temporary building for the sittings of the new Legislature has been abandoned, and Government has entered into a contract to occupy the St Patrick’s Hall for the purpose, at a rent of £300 per annum. The Protestant Hall was offered at £200 but was objected to on the ground of its distance from all the Government Offices. 

Geelong Advertiser, 21 May 1851:

The Legislative Chamber – The notice in a contemporary, The Court Journal, to the effect that the St Patrick’s Hall has been leased for the use of the Legislative Council, has surprised not a few persons, and we confess ourselves amongst the number. The best offer made to the Government was that of the Odd Fellows Hall, built by Mr George Say, in Lonsdale Street; which he erected to bear a large Gallery and would contain about 300 persons. Mr Say also offered his House ( which has now lost the License,) as Public Offices, and as this poor fellow has lost his License in consequence, we believe, of some misunderstanding with the Mayor, we should have liked that his offer had been accepted – Times.

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