North Melbourne’s “underutilised” hidden ballroom


Behind the ornate cornices and bow windows of The Arcadian is one of North Melbourne’s best-kept secrets.

Owned and run by The Panarcadian Association of Melbourne and Victoria “O Kolokotronis”, the iconic building at 570 Victoria St is home to a palatial ballroom and a myriad of event spaces.

But despite the building’s opulence, it is “underutilised” according to Irene Giavas, who works as the building’s manager and is the former vice-president of the Panarcadian Association.

The three-story building currently has three Art Deco event spaces in operation: The Arcadian Ballroom, The Kolokotronis Room and The Kallisto Room.

The ballroom is the hall’s premier venue. It has a capacity of 350 people and boasts a stage, dancefloor, bar, and commercial-sized kitchen, and has been used for everything from an election voting centre to a wedding venue.

For smaller functions and events, The Kolokotronis Room has proven to be a favourite. It is often used for lectures and has become the gathering place for North Melbourne’s local philosophy group.

According to Ms Giavas, the possibilities for the spaces within The Arcadian are endless.

“On a Sunday, you could have a market in the ballroom, a band playing on the second floor and a lecture up top,” she told North West City News.

Ms Giavas is calling on residents and community members to find new ways to utilise the spaces on offer.

Before being bought by the Panarcadian Association of Melbourne and Victoria “O Kolokotronis” in 1985 for $450,000, the hall donned many hats.

When the building first opened its doors in 1914, it was inaugurated by the soon-to-be Prime Minister Billy Hughes and was the home of the Locomotive Engine Drivers, Firemen and Cleaners’ Association.

To this day, a model of a steam locomotive sits on the building’s parapet above the original “Loco Hall” signage.

By the 1920s, Loco Hall had transformed into a cinephiles’ dream and became a popular picture theatre with a permanent orchestra and twice-weekly changes to the program.

Earlier this year, Melbourne’s Panarcadian Association reconnected with the building’s past and held a screening of Zorba the Greek.

It was the first time a film had been shown in the hall for 70 years according to Ms Giavas.

The Panarcadian Association of Melbourne and Victoria “O Kolokotronis” was established in 1959 to promote and advance the social, cultural, recreational, philanthropic, and educational interests of Arcadian descendants who live in the state of Victoria.


But Ms Giavas would not only like the hall to be a meeting place for Arcadian descendants but a “cultural centre” of North Melbourne.


Her vision for the centre is for its spaces to be utilised for events and functions, while also becoming a place where people can spontaneously grab a bite to eat and see a show on Friday night.

For community members wanting to get The Arcadian experience, Greek Trivia Night will be held on Friday, July 19.

“It will give interested parties an opportunity to engage with our organisation, attend an event in our beautiful ballroom and see firsthand the possibilities of future hall hire opportunities,” Ms Giavas said. •

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