Demolition of historic Monroe’s restaurant makes way for construction of the iconic Victorian Pride Centre.

Chair of The VPC, CR Gross and Community Members outside the old Monroe's restaurant, enacting a symbolic demolition with sledge hammer

Jude Munro AO, Chair of the Victorian Pride Centre and Port Phillip Council Mayor Dick Gross, were joined by representatives from some of Victoria’s major LGBTIQ organisations who intende to call the Victorian Pride Centre home, in a ceremony to mark the demolition of Fitzroy Street’s long standing Monroe’s restaurant. Demolition of the restaurant starts on Wednesday 10 April and will be completed in time for construction of Australia’s first Pride Centre to begin in May.

Cr Gross along with Fitzroy Street Business Association President David Blakeley and Louise Hansen from Hansen Yuncken, cheered on Ms Munro, VPC board members, and representatives from Thorne Harbour Health, Switchboard, JoyFM, the Lesbian and Gay Archives, Minus18 and Transgender Victoria, as they symbolically knocked out the first brick. The Victorian State Government, Port Phillip Council and the local Fitzroy Street community have been extremely supportive of the Pride Centre, recognising the Centre’s potential to revitalise the street and its connection to the LGBTIQ community.

 “Port Phillip Council is proud of its history of breaking down barriers to promote a fair and just community where everyone is welcome and valued,” Cr Gross said.

“This is why we contributed $13 million to the VPC. This important landmark will provide a safe place for the LGBTIQ community where their stories, struggles and accomplishments can be shared with visitors.

“We can’t think of a better home for the VPC than St Kilda and we expect the resurgence already underway in Fitzroy Street to continue when this fantastic addition opens its doors.”

Monroe’s restaurant opened its doors in the late 70’s and was a Fitzroy Street institution. During the 90’s Monroe’s was known for welcoming Melbourne’s trans and gender diverse community.

Brenda Appleton OAM, Chair of Transgender Victoria remembers Monroe’s “as a safe haven for trans people in the 1990’s and I look forward to the Pride Centre providing a safe haven for all LGBTIQA+ people and future generations”.

Sally Goldner AM, CEO of Transgender Victoria added, “Trans and gender diverse people have a long connection to this location as various TGD groups would hold formal committee meetings and casual gatherings at Monroe’s. We look forward to the Pride Centre continuing the same spirit of pioneering more celebration of diversity for our communities.”

Ms Munro is very conscious of the LGBT community’s connection to the site and to St Kilda more broadly. “We are ensuring that the history of site will be reflected in the Pride Centre, either through retaining some of the materials, signage or a plaque. Our histories are extremely precious and drive our commitment to creating a safe and inclusive place for all LGBTIQ communities” said Ms Munro.

Pictured above L-R: Louise Hansen Director Hansen Yuncken, David Blakeley President Fitzroy Street Business Association, Port Phillip Council Mayor Dick Gross, VPC Chair Jude Munro, VPC Deputy Chair Stuart Kollmorgen OAM, Joe Ball CEO Switchboard, Ian Graystone Treasurer JOYFM, Jane Smith Board Member JOYFM, Scott Hartley VPC Board Member, Brenda Appleton OAM Chair Transgender Victoria, Kris Kornovich VPC Board Member, Micah Scott CEO Minus18, Nick Henderson Committee Member Australian Lesbian and Gay Archives, and Simon Ruth CEO Thorne Harbour Health. 

Picture courtesy of Dean Arcuri