The beloved Curtin Hotel in Melbourne’s inner north has been put under a pretty rare “green ban” by a group of building and construction industry unions in an attempt to save the pub from being redeveloped.
The unions — which include the CMFEU, Plumbing and Pipe Trades Employees Union, Electrical Trades Union and the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union — unanimously agreed to impose the ban in a vote on Thursday.
It’s not the first time a green ban has been whipped out to protect a Melbourne institution like The Curtin. A similar blocking of construction industry union members was created and used in the 70s to save the City Baths, Flinders Street Station, Queen Victoria Market and the Regent Theatre from redevelopment plans.
Victorian Trades Hall secretary Luke Hilakari told The Age that the Curtin is “not a building you should touch”. He said the unions will be working hard to protect the pub and its long-standing legacy as a Labor Party watering hole and live music venue.
“If someone was trying to come in there with a bulldozer, it would be all of us and half of Melbourne standing in front of that bulldozer,” he said.
Hilakari said the current union ban could be lifted if groups like the Melbourne City Council and the city’s music community came on board to support a proposal to keep the pub running.
Adam Portelli — the Regional Director for the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance in Victoria and Tasmania — said in a statement on Friday that the Curtin has a deep and long connection with the city’s arts scene and “must be protected and preserved” as part of the Melbourne’s fabric.
“Green Bans have saved some of Melbourne’s most important buildings in the past,” he said.
“It is time for all Victorians who care about our heritage to stand together again to prevent The Curtin from being demolished.”