In 2008 donkey wheel purchased the old Tramways building and turned it into a thriving community hub for organisations who are trying to make the world a better place.
Completed in 1891, it was originally known as the Melbourne Tramway and Omnibus Company (MT&OC) building. It was purpose built as their head office at the height of Victoria’s boom in the 1880s, and was designed in the Venetian Gothic style, standing as an overt expression of prosperity. The building is heritage listed as it is a substantial reminder of the origins of Melbourne’s tram system.
The MT&OC was dissolved in 1919 and the building has since been used as office and retail space, gradually falling into disrepair.
The purchase of what is now known as donkey wheel house was our first impact investment, and while the repair and restoration of the building has been a huge undertaking, we are extremely proud of both the building and its community.
Our experiences in managing a commercial property led directly to the creation of Ethical Property Australia as we discovered a need for a property management company that focussed on the ethical use of property; in particular creating spaces in which change-makers can thrive.
In 2016, with the creation of the Ethical Property Commercial Fund, donkey wheel relinquished direct ownership of donkey wheel house as it became one of the first two properties in the Ethical Property's growing portfolio.
donkey wheel house is now an iconic example of what can happen when property is designed to facilitate collaboration among like-minded organisations. Our tenants include Kinfolk Cafe, donkey wheel house events, The School of Life, Australia Progress (and Progress Central), SPELD, The Big Issue, Ethical Property Australia and many more.
Find out more about donkey wheel house at donkeywheelhouse.org.