Art & Design

There’s An Exhibition Of A Brothel Happening Inside A Former Melbourne Brothel This Weekend

By Ben Tyers
24th Oct 2018


Today in extremely Melbourne news, the former Pink Palace brothel in South Melbourne will become an art gallery over three days this weekend before it is torn down for a new housing development project.

‘A Pink Past’ features images of the former brothel site just after it closed, all expertly taken by legendary Melbourne photographer Derek Swalwell. The exhibition will run from Friday 26 October until Sunday 28 October before the former house of debauchery meets its end.


When given the opportunity, Swalwell jumped at it.

“What struck me most was the pragmatic nature of the interiors and their decoration. On the other hand, the gold taps, sparkly jacuzzis and faux Italianate interior detailing was exactly what I imagined.

“The interiors had to be treated photographically just how they presented to me; garish, flashy, badly out-of-fashion and out-dated. I chose to light with on-camera flash and compose the detail and interiors in a bold, matter-of-fact way. 

If I was going to show this establishment as what it was, then I had to show the showers, towels hanging, bed arrangements and ceiling mirrors. 

The wallpaper was circa 1990s and when coupled with all the flamboyant detail, such as framed boudoir portraits of women (some original working girls of the establishment), the ceramic lion, Egyptian heads and Oriental room, it set a cinematic tone for the shoot which carries through the series.”


The building was first constructed in 1970 and hasn't changed too much since then. Development plans include high-end residences, a rooftop pool and bar, European-style day space, and an executive lounge.

Oh, and just keep in mind if you’re heading along that the exhibition does contain some nudity.

The Details

What: A Pink Past exhibition
When: Friday 26 October to Sunday 28 October. Friday 7-11pm, Saturday & Sunday 5-10pm.
Where: 8 Palmerston Crescent, South Melbourne

Louis Theroux's new doco on polyamory is out soon and it's premiering right here in Aus. Read all about it here.

Image credit: Griffin Simm

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