The Meat Market in North Melbourne was built in 1880 by George Johnson (who also designed the Fitzroy and North MelbourneTown Halls) to function as a commercial meat market. Evidence of this use can still be seen in the cobbled bluestone floor of the main hall and the spectacular barrel vault ceiling.

The concert on July 24, 1987 took full advantage of the vast hall space prior to it being re-modelled into two areas as a performing arts facility. The program extended from mobile pieces by Lou Harrison and Keith Humble via the 16th choral birdsong of Jannequn to a Fluxus event by George Brecht for four cars, driven into the space in mid-concert and performing with all their lights, horns and doors.

The former Metropolitan Meat Market is registered as of historical and architectural significance to the State of Victoria. For more information see the listing on the Victorian Heritage Register.

Over the last 30 years, Melbourne’s Astra Concerts have ranged around the architectural environment, seeking and finding enclosed spaces whose acoustic and visual qualities inspired site-specific concert designs. The buildings contribute to the design of Astra programs with their varied spatial possibilities and their acoustic and visual ‘personalities’. The music in turn contributes a new quality to the perception of the buildings, now experienced as a vehicle by which great cultural issues from music’s history can be traversed, and as a contemporary context for new ideas in Australian composition.