Position Statement July 2017


Residents of the affordable housing units, above the Drill Hall at 30 Therry Street Melbourne CBD, began moving into their new units in September 2011.They formed their Drill Hall Residents Association (DHRA) at an inaugural meeting in the Multicultural Hub on 4th February 2013. It subsequently became an Incorporated Association on 12th May 2014.

DHRA has a strong commitment to community independence. It is on this basis, that it has successfully developed an inclusive, engaged, resident led, resident owned and resident driven community organization. This is also the basis of its community based partnership, with other groups active in the Victoria Square Precinct (the Multicultural Hub, Cohealth, City of Melbourne –CoM, and our Housing Provider, Housing Choices Australia – HCA). The Victoria Square Precinct committee was formed at DHRA’s initiative on August 14th 2013.

 We are pleased to acknowledge that moral, material and organizational support comes from the City of Melbourne, which respects our independence, is sympathetic to our aims and is strongly committed to building and maintaining community activity amongst those residing within its boundaries.

We have also received significant support and recognition from individual City of Melbourne councillors and State and Federal politicians.

DHRA maintains a strong communication network via a residents email list (private and confidential – all ‘bcc’), a web site ( www.dhra.org.au) and noticeboards. We use these channels to forward advice to residents from providers of civic, medical, family and financial services. Our precinct neighbours, Multicultural Hub and Cohealth together with various CoM bodies and HCA, have found it useful to use our communication network (email list, website, notice boards etc) to inform residents of the services they can provide. (It is also noteworthy that our communication system has proved very useful to our residents in emergency situations such as lift breakdowns.)

We are an independent community based organization, with a primary focus on involving our residents in community activity in our local neighbourhood area: but as our residents are also tenants of an Affordable Housing Provider, Housing Choices of Australia (HCA), we are inevitably and unavoidably expected by our residents to act as their advocates and advisers for their rights under the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) and under the Performance Standards for Registered Housing Agencies. We are also keen to see if our apartments can be further improved by reference to the State Governments Planning Department’s recently introduced ‘Better Apartments Design Standards’

The State Housing Registrar’s performance standards place a strong emphasis on ‘Tenant and resident engagement’ and we are currently negotiating with HCA to install an effective monitoring and consultative process in a way that effectively deals with building management and maintenance issues and further strengthens our community

Because many of our residents have issues derived from disability and other forms of social disadvantage, we are also expected to provide a forum for discussion and action on such issues e.g. we successfully negotiated with the City of Melbourne to widen the footpath near our apartment block entrance to improve accessibility for our many residents who need to use wheelchairs).


We work continuously to identify community priorities amongst our residents in a framework of inclusion, involvement, accessibility, opportunity and enterprise to achieve effective independent, democratic, civic and social participation, particularly for those who are in a position of physical, mental and material social isolation, disadvantage and vulnerability.


A major initiative by DHRA, together with our Precinct partners, is a project for the development of a community garden in the public space at the corner of Therry and Victoria streets. City of Melbourne recently allocated $50,000 dollars to this project. And HCA is spending about $9000.00, together with a grant from a Heritage fund to restore the perimeter walls of the garden. We already operate a worm farm and plantation boxes providing opportunities for residents to ‘grow their own thing’. An installed BBQ is also promised. We welcome and encourage the local homeless community and other local residents to get involved in the garden and associated activities.


In addition, Wonderment Walks Australia has offered, in association with RMIT, to install an art work for the garden.

Wonderment Walks has a strong commitment to celebrating science and technology and the work would be part of a series sited around the city. It could also be part of a wider reference to the strong institutional education and research presence in the area i.e. ‘the education precinct’

We welcome this, but are concerned and cautious that it harmonises with the overall local community project. Prior to Wonderment Walks’ offer, residents discussed the possibility of an art installation, but emphasised that it should have strong indigenous and environmental reference.

There is, we hope, the possibility of a creative reconciliation of these different proposals and DHRA for its part will be implementing its own internal engagement process to explore and articulate the possibilities.

 We are also neighbours to the Queen Victoria Market: in fact the perimeter of our precinct is included in the large development work planned for the area. There will no doubt be possibilities for the involvement of our community and the other precinct organizations in this development. Again we will be concerned that it enhances our local community strengths and we will direct any involvement we may have to this end.


Martin Mulvihill


President Drill Hall Residents Association