Slower Connections If using a slower connection please allow images time to load fully.
Click on images to view larger size if available.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Sound Shell, Dandenong Park, undated.

The Sound Shell structure was constructed at Dandenong Park in 1967, after some strong lobbying by the Dandenong R.S.L and Citizens Band. In 1964 the band was invited to present a deputation to the Public Works Committee to express their concerns about accommodation at the old Memorial Hall, where they stored their instruments and practiced. They presented adeputation to the Council in January 1965. In May 1965 the Council decided to build a concert auditorium in the Dandenong Park to cater for community groups such as the Dandenong R.S.L. and the Citizens Band.

In February 1966 the Public Works Committee assigned the design and development of the sound shell (with public toilets and a band room) to Alsop and Duncan P/L with a note or condition that the council would decide on the location and approximate area for the structure. The location was at the rear of the bowling club with the shell fronting Foster Street and conveniently situated between two paths forming a triangle.

In April 1967 the architects Alsop and Duncan P/L submitted working drawings and specifications for ‘A Sound Shell, Conveniences etc at the Dandenong Park’ to Council and called for tenders that closed on the 18th May 1967. Tender documents described the location of the sound shell as follows:
“ front of the large cypress tree which borders along the
western side of the Croquet Lawn and is sited so that only one
tree in the Park, which can be replanted will be interfered with.”

The sound shell and toilets were intended to replace two antiquated toilets, which were causing so much concern due to dilapidation. The plans were shown to the community and on 8 May the council recommended that the plan be adopted as there had been no objection from the public and the work could be carried out under the supervision of the design architect.

In June 1967 the tender of Ajax Contractors for $21,585 was accepted, following a recommendation from the architects, and the shell was constructed as a brick, steel and concrete structure. The estimated cost of the works, including architects’ fees, was $22,000. The opening of the sound shell on the 5th November 1967 was marked by an outdoor Catholic Mass celebrated by five priests, two of whom representing missionaries of the Sacred Heart Movement. It was to be the first outdoor mass ever celebrated in Dandenong. Father O’Donnell, parish priest of St Mary’s, Dandenong, presided at the mass.

After all of the lobbying and eventual success in having the shell built, the R.S.L. and Citizens Band were denied full access to it for practice sessions and storage. Council’s time restrictions (one night per week only and no use between 12pm Saturday to 4pm Sunday) were not satisfactory to the band. Nevertheless, after long negotiations between the band and the council, the band became a regular user of the shell. Other users of the auditorium were Carols by Candlelight, Dandenong Assembly of God, St Mary’s Parish, Salvation Army, Australia Day Committee and other community groups.

On the 5 June 1988 the sound shell was named after Mr Stan Prior, a Dandenong identity and the city’s oldest practicing band man. Stan was born in South Melbourne on 19 July 1890 and went to school at Eastern Rd Primary School in South Melbourne. His 100th birthday was celebrated by the community of Dandenong and hosted by the Mayor Cr B. J. Powell in the Dandenong Town Hall on 22 July 1990. Mr Prior played the cornet with the City of Dandenong Band until he died in August 1992. By the end he was more of a mascot than a musician but his great age and his status as a veteran of two world wars meant he was a household name in Dandenong. He loved visiting the local nursing homes to play music for the old folk.

As part of the master plan to revitalize the Dandenong Park precinct, the stage was demolished in late June 2016, along with the Bowling Club, Croquet Club and Kindergarten located within the surrounding area. The intent to build a boulevard path and redesign the gardens within the park required removal of all existing structures.

Demolition, June 28th-29th, 2016.

For more images like this visit us at

No comments:

Post a Comment