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Fly by Night Musicians Club
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Former names Fremantle Drill Hall
Alternative names Fly by Night Musicians Club
General information
Address 179 High Street Fremantle
Town or city Fremantle, Western Australia
Country Australia
Current tenants Fly by Night Musicians Club
Construction started 1895
Completed 1896
Landlord National Trust of Australia (WA)

The Fly by Night Musicians Club, in Fremantle, Western Australia, was established in 1986 as a not-for-profit organisation by musicians and music lovers, providing live entertainment by local artists, and a modest venue for visiting national and international performers. It was previously housed in a heritage-listed building owned by the National Trust of Australia (W.A.), fronting Holdsworth Street and Parry Street—a prefabricated former Defence Department building, originally constructed as an artillery drill hall. It is now housed at Victoria Hall, a former parish hall designed by Talbot Hobbs and named in celebration of the diamond jubilee of Queen Victoria in 1897.

Activities

The club assists development of local musicians and performing arts, and provides a venue for other community-based activities. Capacity of its main hall is 500 patrons, mostly standing. In 1996, it was the first venue in Western Australia to bar tobacco smoking. A smaller performance space, "the Fly Trap", holds 100 patrons for local gigs, mainly by band members of the club. Other smaller spaces are available for rehearsals, workshops, seminars and community fundraising activities. Western Australian bands which have performed there or launched their careers at the club include the John Butler Trio, The Waifs, Eskimo Joe, San Cisco, The Panics and the Joe Kings. National and international performers have included Boy & Bear, Gotye, The Cat Empire, Paul Dempsey, Grizzly Bear and The Black Keys. As of 2013, it has been the regular venue of the annual WAM Song of the Year event.

Former premises

The Fly by Night Club was originally established at the former Army drill hall at 1 Holdsworth Street, Fremantle. The drill hall building was constructed for the volunteer guard (responsible for civil defence) in 1896, and was modified in 1940, with the construction of a brick extension with a Queen Street frontage, when it was used as a training facility during World War II. The distinctive design comprises curved laminated jarrah ribs and curved iron T-sections supporting a 26-metre-span, barrel vaulted roof, constructed out of corrugated iron. It was used continuously for military purposes for almost 100 years.

The building was classified by the National Trust of Australia (Western Australia) in April 1974 and was included on the Register of the National Estate on 21 March 1978. In September 2003, it was permanently entered by the Heritage Council of Western Australia on the State Register of Heritage Places, as part of the Fremantle Court House and Police Station Complex. It is also listed on the City of Fremantle's Municipal Heritage List.

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