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The Incinerator Gallery

The Incinerator Gallery is the last remaining Walter Burley Griffin designed incinerator left in Victoria and one of only six left in the country.

The Royal College of Architects named it as among the 30 most important buildings in the state in 2003, it is listed on the Victorian Heritage Register and was listed on the National Heritage Buildings Register until the register was disbanded in 2012.

The story of the Incinerator highlights a proud moment in Australia’s history when our country developed an innovative, economical and technologically advanced solution to waste disposal that was envied worldwide.

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Opening hours

The Incinerator Gallery is open during exhibitions from 11am to 4pm Tuesday to Sunday, except on public holidays and during installation periods. Please check the current exhibition schedule.

Entry to the Incinerator Gallery is free.

Contact us

Address: 180 Holmes Road, Aberfeldie, 3040
Phone: 03 9243 1750
Email: incinerator@mvcc.vic.gov.au

Getting here

The Incinerator Gallery is located just a moments’ walk from the stunning Maribyrnong River in Aberfeldie.

There is free parking available and plenty of options if you are planning on travelling to the Gallery via public transport.

Train: Closest station is Moonee Ponds on the Craigieburn Line. Then catch the 467 bus or take a 15 minute walk west on Holmes Road toward the river.

Tram: Closest tram stop is Stop 41 near Maribyrnong Park on the 57 and 82 tram routes. Then a 10 minute walk north along the Maribyrnong River to Holmes Road.

Bus: Closest bus stop is at the corner of Holmes Rd and Waverley St, Moonee Ponds. Disembark bus routes 467 or 468 then walk west for five minutes to the Gallery.

Plan your visit on public transport.

Accessibility

The Incinerator Gallery is an accessible venue.
Our friendly staff are happy to assist all our patrons with their access requirements.
If you would like more information, please contact the Gallery on 03 9243 1750.

Food and drink

The Incinerator Gallery does not have any onsite food or drink available. The Boathouse Café is open daily and located nearby on the banks of the Maribyrnong River.

Speak with a Gallery staff member for other local café recommendations.

A brief history

The City of Essendon commissioned world-renowned architects Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahony, and engineering company REICO in 1929 to build a state of the art and world-leading incinerator. They wanted a building to house the furnaces that would burn the city’s waste but not look like an industrial facility.

The Griffin’s proposal achieved this by following the principles of Prairie School architecture that were developed earlier in their careers in Chicago with local architects including Frank Lloyd Wright. Their aim was to create a building that fitted harmoniously into its environment with Walter Burley Griffin stating that “the final test of modernism is the replacement of industrial eyesores”.

The City of Essendon’s new building was lauded for its beauty and effectiveness and used until it was decommissioned in 1942. It was left to deteriorate until 1984, when the City of Essendon reopened the facility as a community theatre before closing again after a few years due to funding issues. Its arts legacy was not long forgotten though, with the site undergoing a conservation program, reopening as a multi-arts facility in 2004 as the Incinerator Arts Complex.

The venue was renamed the Incinerator Gallery in 2011 and refocused on a new plan to establish it as a premier visual arts destination in Melbourne’s West.

Want to learn more? The Incinerator Gallery offers free history tours to community groups, led by Incinerator volunteers. Click here to find out more or contact us on 03 9243 1750.

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Historical Timeline Of The Incinerator Gallery

  • 1920's

    'The Rattery'

    Population was booming, bringing new wealth, new residents – and more waste. The Essendon tip, known locally as “The Rattery”, was smelly and dangerous.

    The community called for a solution that was both practical and attractive; one that would improve public health without lowering property values.

    It was not an easy ask.

  • 1928 

    Enter Walter Burley Griffin

    The City of Essendon commissioned world-renowned architect Walter Burley Griffin and engineering company REICO in 1929 to build a state of the art and world-leading incinerator.

    They wanted a building to house the furnaces that would burn the city’s waste but not look like an industrial facility.

  • 1929

    Open

    The new building opened in 1929 and led the world for 13 years. It was clean, efficient, and far safer than other models.

    Burley Griffin and his team designed more than a dozen similar furnaces around the country before World War II changed the industrial landscape in an extreme way.

  • 1942

    Closed

    The Incinerator closed in 1942, when the furnaces were no longer required.

    For 42 years the site was used for little more than storing machinery and was left to deteriorate. 

  • 1984

    Arts legacy

    In 1984, the City of Essendon reopened the facility as a community theatre before closing again after a few years due to funding issues. Its arts legacy was not long forgotten though, with the site undergoing a conservation program.

  • 2004

    Incinerator Arts Complex

    In 2004, the City of Moonee Valley restored the unused building and created the Incinerator Arts Complex with both a theatre and gallery spaces.

  • 2011

    Incinerator Gallery

    The venue was renamed the Incinerator Gallery in 2011 and refocused on a new plan to establish it as a premier visual arts destination in Melbourne’s West.

Volunteer With Us

We appreciate and value the dedication and commitment of our volunteers.

By becoming a part of the Incinerator Gallery team, volunteers will enjoy such benefits as presentation and engagement training, involvement in exhibitions and openings and networking opportunities.

Applicants should be enthusiastic, possess excellent interpersonal and presentation skills and have a passion for art, architecture, the environment and local history.

View and download the full position description (pdf, 607KB).

For any further questions about the Incinerator Gallery Volunteer Involvement program email incinerator@mvcc.vic.gov.au.

To learn about volunteering at Moonee Valley City Council more generally or to discover other opportunities to volunteer in Moonee Valley, go to the Moonee Valley City Council website.

Frequently Asked Questions