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About the people's palace

Trades Hall | “A people’s palace…built and own’d by hardy sons of toil...”


A modest timber shed on this site was constructed in 1859, but it took until 1874 for the first permanent building to be finished. This makes Victorian Trades Hall the oldest continuously operating union building in the world.


Since it was built and financed directly by workers themselves, construction was completed in a number of separate stages, represented by the set of ceremonial trowels in this case.

Today, Victorian Trades Hall rises grandly from the northern edge of the Melbourne CBD. Trades Hall was added to the National Heritage List by the independent Australian Heritage Council in 2023, and together with Broken Hill Trades Hall is part of a trans-national bid for UNESCO World Heritage Listing