Known as the first Melbourne community hospital, the Altona Hospital was established on Queen Street in an old house in 1932. The doctor in charge was Dr Joel. The Altona Hospital was eventually closed after 64 years of serving its community in November 1996.
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The Hobsons Bay Community Advancement Co-operative was formed in May 1997. After vigorous community action, the hospital building (and some 60% of the site) was saved and purchased by the Co-operative on behalf of the broader Altona community. The vision is to use and further develop the facility as a community centre with particular emphasis on arts and community resources.
It has an art gallery and venues available for hiring to conduct events such as meetings, conferences, ceremonies, parties, celebrations, weddings, interest and support groups, etc. It conducts classes and workshops. The current workshops include Botanical Art Workshop, Men's Cooking, Chocolate Desserts Course, Lasting Impressions Art Exhibition and 100 Years of Girl Guides.
The Centre had hosted two major projects in 2010. The first is the Wall of Flowers Project. In partnership with the Altona Sports Club, the Centre worked with 25 community art and craft groups across Hobsons Bay to create a stunning wall of flowers representing colours of the world and that covered the entire external wall of the gallery. This project was completed in mid March 2010 and showcased for six weeks.
The second project is GO WEST, as part of the Midsumma Festival, Melbourne's annual gay and lesbian festival, showcasing the works of 8-12 artists from the gay, lesbian, bi sexual, transgender and intersexual community (GLBTIQ across western Melbourne.
Past exhibitions include:
- Portraits (2007), an exhibition of portraits of local identities by Hobsons Bay Arts Society artists
- Interpret This (2006), an exhibition that pushes boundaries, enhances professional development and explores new media through collaborative partnerships with other artists and through research of place and space. The exhibiting artists were invited to interpret various sites within Hobsons Bay, the focus could be on one place or can be a montage on many. All of the exhibiting artists work in a diverse media, their preferred medium of choice is encouraged to be pushed beyond the ‘safety zone’, exploring the use of an alternative expressive medium in their work such as text, sound or a new visual medium.
- Hobsons Bay's Wealth of Athletes and Sports People (2006) highlights the sports and the elite athletes from the Hobsons Bay area, in association with the Commonwealth Games held in Melbourne, 2006.