The Palais Theatre in St Kilda will be repainted in its original 1927 sand colour says Martin Foley, the Minister for Creative Industries.

The theatre’s current off-white façade dates to the middle of the 20th century when the concert venue was renovated to include a larger orchestra pit and more dressing rooms.

But originally the building was a sand colour because of a particular finish used in the early 20th century; iron sulphate reacts with lime in the plaster to create a yellow-orange appearance. (That type of finish was cheaper than the paint finishes available when the Palais was built).

The government says the decision to repaint in the middle of the century may have been made because the original finish had “faded and become streaked, leaving the building with a blotchy and uneven grey finish”.

Heritage Victoria encourages repainting of buildings in their original colour scheme where possible. For example, Flinders Street Station is losing its famous mustard-yellow paintjob in favour of its original stone colour as part of its restoration next year.

In addition to repainting and repairing to the Palais’s exterior, the $20 million restoration project will also include maintenance and refurbishments, such as improving the electrical system and fire protection.

“We promised to save the Palais – and we’re doing just that,” Foley says. “The work currently being done will ensure it remains an important part of St Kilda’s culture and Victoria’s live-music scene for many years to come.”