Home to the University of Melbourne’s Faculty of the Victorian College of the Arts and Melbourne Conservatorium of Music (VCA & MCM), the Southbank precinct has one of the highest concentrations of arts organisations in the world.

With nationally significant museums and galleries, iconic arts venues and the Victorian base of the national broadcaster (ABC) alongside core educational facilities, Southbank Precinct enjoys a critical mass of ideas and creative energy, a neighbourhood where industry, practitioners, students, researchers and arts lovers can collaborate, meet and share.

The Victorian College of the Arts began as the National Gallery School, founded in 1867. Graduates include Fred McCubbin, Rupert Bunny, Arthur Boyd, Clara Southern, Margaret Preston, Joy Hester and Fred Williams.

The University’s Southbank campus was formerly the Victorian Police Depot. The Victorian College of the Arts commenced occupation of from 1973.

The Southbank Precinct buzzes with life during some of the city’s major arts and cultural festivals, such as the Melbourne Festival, Melbourne Fringe, Melbourne International Comedy Festival, Melbourne International Jazz Festival, and the Melbourne International Film Festival.


The Southbank redevelopment involves a new Conservatorium building and the refurbishment of the Old Police Stables.

A new home for the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music in Southbank will place students in the heart of the Melbourne Arts Precinct, giving them unprecedented access to a wealth of artistic and creative endeavors.

New outdoor spaces on campus will attract visitors from nearby performance venues and foster interactions between our students and the community. When not in use by the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music and its students, the main performance space will be available to outside organisations, attracting new audiences.

Our Campus in the 21st Century

Our Campus in the 21st century (OC21) was developed by the University community in a series of workshops that explored the qualities wanted across all campuses and precincts. It is the formal response to the University of Melbourne’s strategic plan Growing Esteem and is integral to how the University will plan for the future, and to developing high-quality campus-based experiences for diverse communities.

The Southbank Campus Redevelopment will support our campus in the 21st century through the following:


The occupation of the Old Police Stables will continue the tradition of artists appropriating buildings to use and cater to the 20% student growth from 2010-2020 at the school.

Early works on the refurbishment of the Old Police Stables will begin June 2016 with construction concluding in April 2017, providing new art studios, exhibition spaces and office accommodation for the School of Art and a flexible performance area for general use.


The new Melbourne Conservatorium of Music alongside the Victorian College of the Arts will also stimulate collaboration across the artistic disciplines as music students engage with students studying film, television, visual and performing arts.

The developments will further synergise the University with its creative partners, helping achieve the city’s vision for a thriving arts scene and to create a new dynamic environment for music education.