Natmap’s Early Melbourne Home Heritage Listed


When first established in 1947 the National Mapping Section was part of the Property and Survey Branch, Department of Interior and was located in their offices in Acton, ACT (now the site of the National Museum of Australia).


Due to the post-war accommodation shortage in Canberra, the new Survey and Photogrammetric Office of National Mapping, formed in 1948, was based in Melbourne. From late 1949 to 1959 this base was Gregory Hall in Chapel Street, Windsor.


Some 60 years later Gregory Hall and the associated vicarage were heritage listed.


Reverend John Herbert Gregory (1827-1897), the "Bush Missionary," was the first Anglican Minister to the Victorian goldfields. Rev Gregory was also founder of All Saints' Parish and Church where he was Vicar from 1858 to 1893. In honour of Rev Gregory and Jubilee Thanksgiving, All Saints' Parish erected the All Saints' Parish Hall and named it the Gregory Memorial Hall.


Today Gregory Hall is seen as being important for its abstracted Gothic Arts and Crafts design which compliments the architectural forms within the All Saints' precinct, and for its interior which survives largely intact with its hammerbeam roof, gallery, and copper detailing.


Unfortunately this charm is somewhat hidden by its current use as a gym!


When I read about its heritage listing I wondered how much of the building had been retained so armed with copies of photos taken during Natmap’s occupation in the 50s, and with the assistance of the Gym Manager, I was able to get inside and take photos.


Once you look past the “electric” colour scheme the doors and wood panelling are unchanged. The timber hall floor is protected, from being marked by the heavy gym equipment, by non-slip rubber matting. However, where the wooden planks could be seen I felt that I was only a “couple of coats” of varnish away from those timbers on which many a template assembly had been laid.


The surrounding upstairs gallery is part office space, part gym but again the windows appear unchanged on the Dandenong road side. It is not hard to see that one of the old drafting office photos was taken somewhere around where I was standing.


Outside, Dandenong road has been widened so the hall is now closer to the road and the old tennis court(s) is/are gone for parking. However, at the rear, apart from the brick-work being sand-blasted at some recent point in time and old wooden steps being removed the patterns of brick can still be identified.


As the following photographs show you can step back in time in Natmap’s old home.


Note : As many of the people in the 1950s photos are unknown and the article is about the building the captions generally do not include any names.


Gregory Hall 2012 with signage etc obscuring the façade

Unobscured photo of Gregory Hall

Hall interior 1950s – note rear doors and upstairs gallery

Hall interior 2012 – showing rear doors, upstairs gallery and some original floor


Hall interior 1950s – note wood panelling

Hall door and wood panelling 2012

Hall interior 1950s from upstairs gallery

Hall interior 2012 from upstairs gallery

Hall interior 2012 with upstairs gallery

Hall interior 2012 with upstairs gallery & front of hall with old exit door on left

Upstairs office 1950s – note windows

Similar upstairs area 2012

Upstairs office 1950s – Dandenong Rd thru window (Alan Thomson)

External windows 2012 – note similarity with 1950s especially 1st floor.

Tennis court area 1950s

Site of 1950s tennis court 2012

Hall exterior 1950s – note brick-work far right

Hall exterior 2012 – note vertical brick-work near door-way

Hall exterior 1950s – note brick-work and door

Hall exterior 2012 – note brick-work near door far left

Hall exterior 1950s – note doors

Hall exterior 2012 – note doors



by P Wise, 2015.