5 posts in this thread / 0 new
Last post

Former State Theatre (Forum Theatre)

Peter Maltezos's picture

Text from Walking Melbourne

The National Trust guide to the historic and architectural landmarks of central Melbourne

Former State Theatre (Forum Theatre)

150-162 Flinders Street, corner Russell Street


This wildly exotic structure, replete with an ‘Arabian nights’ façade and onion domed tower, was the flagship of the Union Theatre chain and was Australia’s largest silent era picture palace, seating 3370.

Executed by the local architects Bohringer Taylor & Johnson, the design was provided by American theatre specialist John Eberson in his distinctive ‘atmospheric’ style, where the interior is designed to give the impression of a walled Florentine garden, complete with artificial night sky studded with stars, surrounded by statuary (mainly sent out from Eberson’s Boston workshop).

It was built in a race with the equally sumptuous Regent Theatre in Collins Street, and opened first by three and a half weeks in February 1929. Renamed the Forum in 1962 when the balcony was subdivided off to form a second cinema, it became a Revivalist Church in the 1980s, and in the late 1990s became a mixed entertainment venue.


How it looked in the 1930s.


The Forum at night.

Photo by John Gollings.


Several shots of my own.

Back to top
Peter Maltezos's picture

I collect, therefore I am.

Back to top
Peter Maltezos's picture


I collect, therefore I am.

Back to top
Peter Maltezos's picture


200,000-piece jigsaw: Artisans restore Forum Theatre's hidden 1920s mosaic

MARCH 25 2017 - 6:20PM Carolyn Webb

Mosaic artisan Fabian Scaunich with the newly restored floor in the Forum's foyer. Photo: Joe Armao

Artisans have raced the clock at one of Melbourne's most loved theatres to restore a 1920s mosaic floor that has been hidden under carpet for 50 years.

The workmen laboured up to 19 hours a day for three months to return the elegant feature, created for the Forum Theatre's opening in 1929, to its former glory.

Melbourne-born, Italian-trained mosaic artisan Fabian Scaunich says the once broken and dirty floor of 200,000 mosaic pieces will be ready for the Comedy Festival launch at the Flinders Street theatre on March 28.

Mr Scaunich and two Italian workmates lifted 40,000 of the most battered pieces, and brushed and washed them.

More than 20,000 of these had to be replaced. The vitrified-ceramic newbies were bought from French company Winckelmans.

But while the Forum originals had an imperial width of three-quarters of an inch, or 19.05 millimetres, the Winckelmans versions measured 20mm, so they were cut by water jet at a Dandenong company so that each new piece matched the older ones.

Mr Scaunich said a mosaic "is not just something you can bung together. You have to go through the process."

To put the "jigsaw" together, up to 400 pieces at a time were glued to small blocks of paper sheets – in deliberately imperfect lines to match the 1920s pieces.

I collect, therefore I am.

Back to top
johnproctor's picture


Back to top

Development & Planning

Monday, January 22, 2018 - 00:00
Hot on the heels of news that Holiday Inn will anchor Werribee's tallest proposed development, the application for 22-26 Synnot Street has gone to advertising. At over 42 metres in height and spread across a 2,567 square metre site the project is Werribee's largest, and accounts for the last of a trio of catalyst sites earmarked by Wyndham City Council as perfect for urban renewal.

Policy, Culture & Opinion

Monday, November 20, 2017 - 12:00
The marriage of old and new can be a difficult process, particularly when the existing structure has intrinsic heritage value. In previous times Fitzroy's 237 Napier Street served as the home of furniture manufacturer C.F. Rojo and Sons. Taking root during 1887, Christobel Rojo oversaw operations though over time the site would become home to furniture manufacturer Thonet.

Visual Melbourne

Friday, August 25, 2017 - 07:00
The former site of John Batman's home, Batman's Hill is entering the final stages of its redevelopment. Collins Square's final tower has begun its skyward ascent, as has Lendlease's Melbourne Quarter Commercial and Residential precinct already. Melbourne Quarter's first stage is at construction and involves a new 12-storey home for consultancy firm Arup along with a skypark.

Transport & Design

Thursday, January 18, 2018 - 07:00
Late last year Urban Melbourne was invited for a tour of the new offices of CAPI in Windsor and a chat with its founder Pitzy Folk. The 1930’s building now known as '151 Albert' had previously housed Telstra and has been refurbished by renowned interior designer and family friend of the Folk family, Tamsin Johnson into 1,400 sqm of office and break out space across two floors and a basement.

Sustainability & Environment

Tuesday, January 23, 2018 - 00:00
Likened in some quarters as a miniature Federation Square, construction works began last week on a Prahran project that will rank as one of 2018's most progressive and important. Kane Constructions has the job of transforming 30-40 Izett Street under a $60+ million urban renewal initiative prompted by Stonnington City Council.