Donkey Wheel House – a venue with a difference

Posted: May 8, 2011 in Venue Partners

I visited the Donkey Wheel House for the first time during Melbourne Open House in 2010. I was on  a photographic mission to capture the rustic old charm of this intriguing historic building. The tour guide walked us through the history of the building, it’s current refurbishment plans and how the building was now being used.


In 2008, the Donkey Wheel Charitable Trust purchased the five-storey Venetian Gothic style building at 673 Bourke St in the Melbourne CBD. Built circa 1890, it is part of a State Heritage listed building still considered to be one of Melbourne’s cultural, historical and architectural landmarks. Prior to becoming Donkey Wheel House, this building was the headquarters for the Melbourne Tramway and Omnibus Company.

Community initiatives:

Donkey Wheel House is all about creating a dynamic, collaborative space for social impact which draws together a community of socially aligned enterprises.

I chose Donkey Wheel House for the screening of Manufactured Landscapes because as an enterprise I want to align myself with a socially responsible and ethical venue.

When you hire the space at Donkey Wheel House, you are provided with a unique opportunity to make a different difference and contribute meaningfully to a range of Melbourne-based social, community and creative initiatives. This is because profits from the venue hire at donkey wheel house are channelled into the donkey wheel charitable trust, a trust that funds community projects and passionate agents of change that seek to promote positive change and have a social impact.

Environmental sustainability:

Recycling and composting are important to Donkey Wheel House and as such, recycling and compost bins are provided on site. This ensures each event has a minimal negative impact on the environment. Donkey Wheel’s investment portfolios are managed by specialist ethical investment advisers Ethinvest. The portfolios are structured to ensure that Donkey Wheel’s financial objectives are achieved through investment in assets that reflect Donkey Wheel’s values – particularly social inclusion and environmental sustainability. Moreover, Donkey Wheel House has used environmentally friendly paint throughout its interior and furniture (such as tables) is made from recycled and/or environmentally friendly materials. Donkey Wheel House supports renewable energy and as such, purchases green power from an electricity provider.

Venue facilitities:

Located in Melbourne’s CBD near Southern Cross Station, Donkey Wheel House offers an innovative and multi-purpose venue space for events and functions. With unique architectural features that include a maze of arches and natural light wells, donkey wheel house exudes personality and charm, guaranteeing an unforgettable experience for your next event. The space includes a cafe, conference and training rooms, as well as areas for cocktail functions. It is also ideal for festivals, exhibitions, movie screenings, and performances.


The current tenants of Donkey Wheel House are as follows:

Movie screenings at Donkey Wheel House are held in the basement of the building with seating of up to 45 people, projector and screen. I have attended a few screenings at Donkey Wheel House hosted by DiCE and I enjoy it’s warm ambience and cosy setting. I am proud to be partnering with Donkey Wheel House for the launch of Arts in Action 🙂


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