Save Our Pubs

Melbourne’s best-loved pubs are under threat, as the city’s apartment-led speculative property boom, booms on and on. In the CBD, corner pubs that have stood and served for more than 150 years now have developers licking their lips, and proposing mega-towers that either see the pub demolished or reduced to a façade. This must stop.

Victorian Socialists will fight to Save Our Pubs!

Melbourne’s best-loved pubs are under threat, as the city’s apartment-led speculative property boom, booms on and on. In the CBD, corner pubs that have stood and served for more than 150 years now have developers licking their lips, and proposing mega-towers that either see the pub demolished or reduced to a façade. Further out, much-loved places like the Greyhound in St Kilda and the London Hotel in Port Melbourne have been swept away to be replaced by steel-and-glass apartments. They've already started making their way up north. Popular pubs will soon be in their sights.

This must stop.

Heritage is a socialist issue. The city is a social entity, and decisions on what stays and goes should be collective. It’s not a matter of simply saving buildings; we want to preserve multiple uses, and continuing traditional uses of a wide variety of venues, shops and public spaces. Pubs connect us to working-class history in a city built by struggle.

How do developers get away with it? Because heritage laws are currently set up to favour preservation of either unblemished architectural quality, or historical importance. Popular importance, urban scale, and traditional use place far less of a role.

As Melbourne changes, we need to reverse this: heritage laws should recognise that this is our city too, not just a site for piles of capital. Traditional use and social history should be a top priority. There’s plenty of places to build high and keep things humming. Amidst this we need to preserve what makes life worth living.