What is significant?
The Port Melbourne Band Rotunda was built in 1918 and officially opened on 27 October 1918. It was presented to the council by the Port Melbourne Women's Welcome Home Committee in honour of the Australians who fought in the First World War. The committee met the cost of construction from their own subscriptions.
The band rotunda is an octagonal structure constructed of red brick with timber posts and ceiling and a sheet-metal, domed roof surmounted by a flagpole. The platform is reached by a tapering staircase. There are seats on the other seven sides of the rotunda. The rotunda commands a prominent site on the foreshore.
How is it significant?
The Band Rotunda has social, historical and architectural significance to the State of Victoria.
Why is it significant?
The band rotunda has historical associations with the First World War and the community's commemoration of the event. The rotunda, along with band rotundas at Fitzroy and Natimuk, is a comparatively unusual memorial to the war and an early First World War memorial. The location of the rotunda is particularly poignant as Port Melbourne was the point of embarkation and disembarkation for troops during the First World War.
The rotunda has social significance as an expression of a once popular form of entertainment in parks and gardens. It symbolises the importance of music in the cultural and social life of the community in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
The rotunda has architectural significance as an intact example of a band rotunda with a distinctive roof, a pyramidal form supported by timber columns and surmounted by a domed cupola terminating in a flagpole. The rotunda, with its picturesque and exotic composition, is an important element of the Port Melbourne foreshore.
'Welcoming the Wounded Anzacs' by Terry Keenan describes the work of the Womens Welcoming Committee in as much detail as the scant records allow. They met each and every returning ship returning with soldiers with small gifts of flowers and cigarettes. For a summary of their work go to http://portmelbfirstworldwar100.org.au/womens-welcoming-committee/
Janet Bolitho on behalf of the Port Melbourne Historical and Preservation Society