Our office is in the heart of Chinatown, and on the afternoon of our office opening, we were able to beat the wafts of delicious food coming from the restaurants below us with the salivating smells emanating from our own BBQ! The opening party was a great success, with a large number of guests arriving early, and leaving late.
From our office balcony on 180 Russell Street, there are some fantastic views over the city. The four storey office block, on top of a seven-storey car park is named Total House, and was quite something when built in 1963. It was Melbourne’s first “park on the job” facility, constructed by Leighton Contractors.
Total House was designed by Bogle & Banfield. Apparently this Russell street site was originally the location of the Temperance Hall of Melbourne (174 Russell street) and dates back to the 1850’s. In 1934 it became the Imperial Theatre and by the time the current office block was designed it housed the former Savoy Film/Newsreel Theatre, which was then demolished to make way for the current office block.
When finished, the basement housed the lavish nightclub Lido Theatre Restaurant. It later transformed into the Total Film Theatre but nowadays is occupied by Billboard Entertainment Venue. We are wondering if the Total Abstinence Society approves of the occupants it housed since then (temperance bars did not serve alcoholic beverages!)
From theatre with erotic appeal, to rowdy bands and plenty of alcohol available! Indeed a “Total” difference!