This consultation has now closed.

The South Melbourne Market was established in 1867, and is the oldest continuing market in Melbourne. Over time, the Market has undergone regular improvement and expansion to accommodate the growing needs of its traders and the local community, as well as ensure it meets changing regulations.

The draft objectives of the South Melbourne Market Next Project have been confirmed following the community consultation conducted in February 2020.

The key objectives were drafted to help us achieve some outcomes around:

  • environmental sustainability
  • productivity
  • positive economic impact
  • social benefits
  • public safety and accessibility
  • the Market's identity

The results of the community consultation were overwhelmingly in support of the draft objectives for the future of the Market and the project has now entered its second phase.

This phase of the project will be exploring a range of options for the future development of the Market. Community consultation will be undertaken in early 2021 to inform and provide feedback to the project team.

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About the project

A key priority in the Council Plan 2017-27, South Melbourne Market NEXT aims to undertake a review of the existing infrastructure and constraints at the South Melbourne Market, and present a range of scenarios for Council and the Market to achieve key outcomes that will ensure the future of the Market for future generations.

It will protect and enhance the identity of South Melbourne Market, retaining the essence and atmosphere of a community market. It will provide a vision for the Market as a community hub and a place to explore, shop, eat, meet and wander, encouraging people to spend more time and build community connections.

The NEXT project has been designed to address:

  • changing compliance regulations
  • significant growth in visitation with the need to address capacity and functionality
  • rapid change within the retail sector and associated customer expectations, requiring a future focused plan that enables the Market to maintain relevance, and be operationally and financially sustainable in the future
  • recognition of the important role markets can play as part of local economies and as community spaces.

Today, the South Melbourne Market continues to thrive in the local community within an ageing infrastructure. As it moves into the future, planning and investment through the NEXT project will ensure it continues to deliver a sustainable, safe and inclusive market experience for years to come.

    Market history

    Since its establishment in 1867, the Market has undergone regular improvement and expansion to accommodate the growing needs of the traders and the community, as well as meeting changing regulations.

    • In 1866 the first sheds were erected, a weighbridge of five and a half tonnes was purchased in 1872, and by 1924 electric lighting was installed throughout the building.
    • Throughout its history the Market has experienced several disasters, the worst being a fire in 1981 which destroyed the original A and B sheds in Coventry Street.
    • Two bombs exploded in the Market in the same year causing damage to some stalls.
    • The twentieth century saw the gradual modernisation of SMM with the changing demand and taste for specific produce, as well as further improvement and remodelling.
    • In 1972 a new car park was constructed over the Market.
    • The Food Hall was added in 1991 replacing part of the original market structure.
    • In 2012, a multifaceted roof was added to the rooftop carpark to provide shelter for shoppers, capture rain water, solar electricity generation and regulate the temperature inside the Market.