Town Hall Hotel – old favourite plays new tune.

A pub that won’t say die. The Town Hall Hotel was ordered to close its doors in 1904 as a result of a Liquor Licensing Board assessment of all the pubs in North Melbourne. Somehow, and there is no record of how this occurred, the pub survived and today it is one of the area’s most popular drinking spots. Thomas …

‘Time gents, please’ ended our old days at Mulcahy’s

I recently drove past the grand old Mulcahy’s Hotel building at 700 Victoria Street, North Melbourne. I was curious to see it after noticing online that it now boasts “21 desirable residential units over four levels”. I knew Mulcahy’s in a more innocent time. My parents, Leo and Kath Conlan, bought the pub in 1969 and, except for the period …

The Silent Clocktower

No one was surprised when the North Melbourne Town Hall and Municipal Buildings were listed in the heritage register. They are among Melbourne’s greatest buildings. But many must have been surprised that it had taken so long – it happened only a couple of months ago. This odd oversight suggests there is something amiss with the process of heritage listing. …

The North Melbourne Football Club, The Shinboners’

The story goes that in 1869 some of the lads who lived in what is now North Melbourne had been playing cricket during the summer and wanted to keep active during the winter. So they had a meeting and decided to form the North Melbourne Football Club. The North Melbourne Cricket Club then, which began in the season of 1868-69, …

The Dead and buried memories

James Long digs into some of Melbourne’s records “It was nothing to see a kid with a skull under his arm…no respect (in) them days…,” recalls long-time North Melbourne resident Charlie Webb, after the exhumations and closure of the Old Melbourne General Cemetery in 1922. He says skulls even found their way into “Martin’s Paddock” at the back of the …

The Benevolent Asylum

Within the next couple of months the Hotham History Project is hoping to publish the first volume in its continuing series of small monographs on the history of North and West Melbourne. Appropriately, this first volume charts the history of the Benevolent Asylum, the first permanent building in the area. Opened in 1851 on a ten-acre site in rolling green …

Street numbers have a history of their own

To allow for the development of Melbourne, a grid was laidout in 1837, which contained substantially sized blocks that were subdivided for sale. Whilst some thought went into planning the layout of Melbourne, the amount of land released by the crown for development lagged behind the demands of the growing population. In addition, a substantial number of the blocks that …

Lola Russell, the queen of King Street

Melburnians rightly picture the architecture of the 19th century as ornate Classical. Yet there are very few remaining examples of what Georgian Melbourne looked like before the gold rushes. One standout example is on the corner of King and La Trobe streets. It is a white two-storey cottage and shop opposite the Flagstaff Gardens, somehow preserved amidst a 20th century …

Hotham History Project AGM

During the course of the afternoon, three speakers gave an account of their research, which was varied in subject and approach. The North Melbourne Town Hall Bill Hannan reported on work in progress. He is finalising an early history of the North Melbourne Town Hall, after some early research undertaken by Robert Green. Bill spoke of the early history of …

Moving around: stories of a North Melbourne family

The Hotham History Project launched its 12th publication in grand style on 14 December last year when over 100 members and friends gathered in St Michael’s Hall to hear the Hon Richard Wynne launch Moving around: Stories of a North Melbourne family 1902-64. Moving Around, by Rae Nicholls and Lorna Hannan, is the story of Rae’s family from her grandparents’ …

A West Melbourne lad: Monash moves on.

For many of us certainly for me John Monash’s fame as a soldier has eclipsed his record as an engineer and administrator. Monash in fact combined army work with private engineering, and by the time Australia was involved in the First World War he already had a substantial reputation in engineering. Having been born in West Melbourne and moved during …

Men of Hotham and other extraordinary people.

Launch of Annals of Hotham Vol 5 Pride of Hotham: A tale of North Melbourne and a red-headed architect, the fifth in the Hotham History Project’s Annals of Hotham series, was launched by the Hon Barry Jones on Tuesday 27 June, the 130th anniversary of the opening of the North Melbourne Town Hall. About 200 local history enthusiasts crowded into …

Men and mountains of North Melbourne

Visitors to the North Melbourne Town Hall clock tower during the Spring Fling had a wonderful view of North Melbourne. The town hall is on the southern edge of the town and its clock tower is perhaps still its highest point. A broad valley runs down from the town hall and rises on its northern side to Royal Park and …

North Melbourne Metropolitan Meat Market

At the heart of North Melbourne, on the corners of Queensberry and Errol Streets, is a local cultural hub known as the Arts House. Operating from the iconic North Melbourne Town Hall (NMTH) and heritage-listed Meat Market, Arts House provides creative spaces for the community and local artists. The buildings, steeped in history, exemplify the growth and development of the …

Made in Italy

The markings on the insole and under the shoe say “Made in Italy”: Angelo points to several signs that it is not an Italian shoe and illustrates his point by showing me a shoe that is genuinely Italian. Angelo knows such things. He was, along with one of his brothers, a trained shoemaker before he left Italy in 1963 and …

A Long History

At a time when Melbourne was still part of the extensive colony of New South Wales, an Irish family of free settlers by the name of Long arrived in North Melbourne and settled among its open, tree-lined boulevards. Dan Austin spoke with James Anthony Long, descendant of that family. When I arrived at the Elm Street house, the door was …