RMIT’s Storey Hall in Melbourne has history when it comes to women’s representation. The building on Swanston Street, built in 1887 and formerly named Hibernian Hall, was the site of Melbourne’s suffragette movement rallies and the headquarters of the Women’s Political Association in the early years of the 20th century. While the organisation’s colours – purple, white and green – no longer fly from the roof, they have become part of the décor following the venue’s renovation in the 1990s. This year the building will host the inaugural Women in Music Festival, celebrating the work of women composers, over the weekend that follows International Women’s Day on March 8.

Anne Cawrse, Women in Music FestivalComposer Anne Cawrse. Photo supplied

For Caroline Neeling, the Women in Music Festival’s founder, the connection between Storey Hall’s history and her Festival was “just pure luck.”

“I was completely gobsmacked, I didn’t know that at all,” she says, explaining she only realised the building at RMIT – where she works as the Manager of Business and Operations at the School of Media and Communication – had such a serendipitous past once the university came on board as venue partner. “I...