1 post in this thread / 0 new

Former Working Men’s College (Francis Ormond Building)

Peter Maltezos's picture

Text from Melbourne Architecture

Former Working Men’s College (Francis Ormond Building)

124 LaTrobe Street

1885-87 Terry & Oakden and Nahum Barnet (Bowen Street wing)

1890-92 Oakden Addison and Kemp La Trobe Street wing & tower block)

c. 1935, 1955, 1997 additions, alterations and refurbishment


The first building of the Working Men’s College, and now the administrative headquarters of RMIT University, the Francis Ormond Building was constructed in two stages. The Bowen Street wing (1885-87) housed the main lecture hall (now the council chamber), workshops, classrooms and caretaker’s quarters. Designed in rigorous Gothic Revival style, this first stage was funded one-third by the founder of the Working Men’s College, the Hon. Francis Ormond MLC, and two-thirds from public donations and levies raised from members of the Trades Hall Council.

The La Trobe Street wing and its distinctive tower block, which suggests the influence of High Victorian architect William Burges, comprised the second stage (1890-92). Ormond was again the major sponsor, but this time through his bequest. Added were offices, college council and instructors’ rooms, classrooms and laboratories. The final building was thus completed to the original masterplan of its architect and instructor at the Working Men’s College, Percy Oakden.


An Edwardian postcard below and after that two photographs of my own.


Back to top

Development & Planning

Wednesday, December 13, 2017 - 12:00
The swirl of development activity in Footscray has found another gear as new projects are submitted for approval, or are on the verge of beginning construction. Two separate planning applications have been advertised by Maribyrnong City Council; their subsequent addition to the Urban Melbourne Project Database has seen the overall number of apartment developments within Footscray in development swell to 40.

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

Friday, December 15, 2017 - 11:00
Infrastructure Victoria unveiled a new round of research into its larger programme of work dealing with managing transport demand. The authority contracted Arup and KPMG to produce the Melbourne Activity Based Model (MABM) and while it is new, it is considered fit for purpose in the strategic context.

Sustainability & Environment

Tuesday, October 24, 2017 - 12:00
Cbus Property's office development for Medibank at 720 Bourke Street in Docklands recently became the first Australian existing property to receive a WELL Certification, Gold Shell and Core rating. The WELL rating goes beyond sustainable building features with a greater focus on the health and well-being of a building's occupants.