Stonnington City Centre (Malvern Town Hall)

Serendipity Photography are pleased to bring our readers a new page on the historic Stonnington City Centre (also known as Malvern Town Hall.) The grand building stands on the corner of Glenferrie Road and High Street, Malvern. The white stone exterior of this two storey Victorian era building, provides a striking backdrop on your wedding day. The hall’s generous scale has rendered it an adored landmark, suitable for picturesque vistas. The silhouette of the two towers against the skyline, is an impressive addition to both formal and relaxed group photos. At Serendipity Photography we love that the exterior also has much to offer up close, from the intimate entrance patio, the carved marble columns and wrought iron detailing, all the way up to the charming clock tower with its ornate gold detailing. These gorgeous features offer ample variation for enchanting close ups under the soft dappled light of the grand trees which are interspersed across the street entrance.

After the bridal party has entered through the impressive doorway of Stonnington City Centres symmetrical façade, the stunning interior architecture and unique décor offers an abundance of photographic opportunity. At Serendipity we love the effect of the terrazzo tiled floor, sleek marble walls and grand staircase which all feature in the entrance foyer. As you weave your way through the well laid out interior, the large windows, high vaulted ceilings and pendant lighting brighten the spacious rooms, providing soft natural light effects, ideal for capturing indoor scenes. Also of interest in the foyer is the War Memorial designed by Paul Montford and the statue of Psyche and Cupid. Once in the Main Hall, it should be noted that hand carved sculpture reliefs, bearing the city of Stonnington crest, act as a stunning feature on the walls. As do the Crompton Pipe Theatre Organ which was installed in 1992, original Queensland Maple timber furnishings and panels and the ornamental cast plaster ceiling which features in the Banquet Hall. Serendipity appreciate ongoing bond the centre has to its history. From the moment you step inside it becomes clear that the carefully maintained interior has stayed true to its original era, giving the centre a distinct period aesthetic. Rendering the venue perfect for both classic weddings, or contemporary ceremonies with a vintage theme.

Norwood House is located only two minutes walk away, the grounds and portico lend themselves to both classic and romantic styles, while the steps leading down to the garden offer a strongly rustic aspect, suitable for couples who love the impact of powerful colour that is a hallmark of some of Serendipity Photography’s more vibrant post production techniques.


The area of Malvern was first settled in 1835. The small hamlet was referred to as “Gardiners Creek”  Gardiners Creek Road (now Toorak Road) ran from South Yarra, east to the junction of Gardiners Creek and onto the Gardiner Homestead which is now the site of Scotch College. In 1853, English barrister Charles Bruce Graeme Skinner purchased Crown allotment 25, 84 acres of land west of Glenferrie Road. He subdivided the land, which he named the Malvern Hill Estate, after the Malvern Hills in England where his forebears had lived. Then on January 1st, 1860, Malvern Post Office was opened and the Gardiners Creek Board became Malvern Council, the charismatic town of Malvern was thus established.

Planning for a Shire Hall in the Gardiner Road District commenced as early as 1867. In 1878 land at the corner of High Street and Glenferrie Road was reserved for a Shire Hall, Court House and Library. A Shire Hall Committee was formed and submitted a proposal to Council which included a hall capable of holding 400 people, Court House, rooms for a Magistrate, Clerk of Petty Sessions, Shire Secretary, a Public Reading Room and Library. Plans drawn up by Architects Wilson and Beswicke were accepted by Council and the total cost of the new building was £8,651. The foundation stone of the Malvern Shire Hall was laid by the Hon. Alfred Deakin, the Minister of Public Works, on 22 September 1885. The Councillors and a representative gathering of residents watched the ceremony. A casket, containing copies of Melbourne newspapers of the day was deposited in a cavity beneath the foundation stone.

Heritage Victoria describes the Stonnington City Centre as aesthetically and historically significant. It is an extraordinary and essentially intact example of a building of its type, having two towers, including a stunning clock tower.  The building demonstrates a changing sequence of styles from the Late Victorian Boom period to interwar Adamesque. The use of marble and terrazzo in the foyers and the plaster Adamesque ornamentation in the hall is of note.

The Stonnington City Centre, located on the northeast corner of  Glenferrie Road and High Street, in Malvern, allows a selection of its function rooms to cater to private events– such as weddings. The Main Hall can accommodate up to 600 people, whilst the balcony which overlooks the main hall seats just under 150 guests. At Serendipity our decades of experience and passion for aesthetic quality mean that every moment of your special day will be captured with style and elegance. The Stonnington City Centre is a charming complement to your event, either as a reception venue, or as an elegant photographic location. Close by, and well worth the visit is the historic Kings Arcade, which offers a piteresque alternative for stunning photographs before the reception. Serendipity recommend contacting the centre by visiting their website: http://​www​.stonnington​.vic​.gov​.au/​c​o​n​t​a​c​t​-​us/

Serendipity regard the Stonnington centre is an appealing location for wedding day photography. As well as its array of exquisite architectural features, the centre is within close proximity to other historic venues such as Norwood Mansion, which is an inspiring and classic backdrop for beautiful bridal portraits. Serendipity will soon be bringing you a new page delving into the history and architectural triumph of this 1891 Victorian era mansion.



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