In some exciting news for Victoria’s Greek community, the Fairfield Amphitheatre will be placed on the Victorian Heritage Register after the Heritage Council determined the site had state-level cultural heritage significance.
This decision comes after months of hard work from local advocates, politicians, supporters and the wider Greek community, who petitioned the Heritage Council to stop Yarra City Council’s plan to redevelop the 480-seat, ancient Greek-style amphitheatre.
According to The Sydney Morning Herald, the Council planned to pull apart some of the amphitheatre’s adjoining pavilion to accommodate a bigger storage shed for the Ivanhoe and Northcote Canoe Club Yarra Paddlers.
But Victorians came out fighting and amongst those pushing for the heritage listing were Helen Madden from the Stork Theatre, who originally set up the amphitheatre, Kat Theophanous MP, Lee Tarlamis MP, Ged Kearney MP, the Greek Community of Melbourne and NUGAS, as well as many others.
A petition set up on change.org even received over 2,200 signatures.
In a Facebook post, Ms Theophanous said she’s so happy everyone pushed for the amphitheatre “to be recognised and preserved both for its history and multicultural significance, but also what it means for our creative industries to have this space to work and perform.”
“I’m so happy this spectacular cultural asset and celebration of our diverse and creative community in the inner north is being recognised, preserved and protected – may it thrive for generations to come,” she said.
The Fairfield Amphitheatre was built in 1985 on the banks of the Yarra River, after Ms Madden and the local Greek community worked with the then-Northcote Council to secure funding to design and construct it. The seats also use original bluestone from the streets of Northcote.
Since then, the amphitheatre has hosted hundreds of outdoor performances, including Greek-language plays and the first professional bilingual theatre event series in Australia. It also has the support of the Greek Ministry of Culture in Athens.