The grand 19th-century space of South Melbourne Town Hall, its flat floor criss-crossed with podia and walkways, provided a theatrical environment for Conversations Before The Silence (1990) Martin Friedel’s first cantata on themes of science and its historical ramifications, composed in commemoration of the bombing of Hiroshima. A further three cantatas were to follow over the succeeding 20 years.

The South Melbourne Town Hall later became the home of the Australian National Academy of Music.

South Melbourne Town Hall is registered as of historical and architectural significance to the State of Victoria. For more information see the listing on the Victorian Heritage Register.

For 30 years, the concerts of Astra Chamber Music Society have ranged around Melbourne’s architectural environment. Each concert has had a site-specific design that takes advantage of the marvellous visual qualities, spatial possibilities, and acoustic personality of each building. The music, in turn, contributes a new quality to the perception of the buildings, now experienced by audiences as a sounding space - an area where cultural issues from music’s history are traversed, and new ideas in Australian composition are explored.