St Mary Star of the Sea

by Jullian Ball St Mary Star of the Sea Catholic Church in West Melbourne has a new chapel, dedicated to the the Madonna del Terzito. Located near the base of theme unfinished tower, the chapel forms part of the church’s 150th-year restoration program and has been decorated in the rose colour scheme that was originally chosen for the church’s formal …

Six men in a seat.

by Bill Hannan As we drew close to the federal election, the nature of representation in the Melbourne electorate took on a fresh interest. ABC psephologist Antony Green called today’s Melbourne a very safe Labor seat. That seems fair enough. At the previous election, Lindsay Tanner won all 36 booths. His lowest winning margin was above 60 per cent and …

Sesquicentenary of the forerunner of the Errol Street Primary School

2007 marks the 150th anniversary of the opening of Mrs Elizabeth Ann Mattingley’s Infant School in her double-storey weatherboard house at 18 Errol Street, near where Errol’s Bakehouse Pantry operates today. One year later, her 21-year-old son Albert, a trained National School teacher, opened an Upper School for older pupils in a single-storey iron building on the corner of Errol …

Prince of Angels

The story of St Michael’s Church, North Melbourne, 1907-2007 Prince of Angels, the latest publication of the Hotham History Project, had a dramatic launching in St Michael’s Church on Hotham Hill last June. The occasion was the centenary celebration of the laying of St Michael’s foundation stone by Archbishop Thomas Can in 1907. Author Lorna Hannan carried the book down …

Local hall takes us on a walk through our past

by Bill Hannan One of the first history walks conducted by the Hotham History Project was a – pub walk. It seemed right, therefore, that the Project should organise a temperance walk. The temperance movement had, after all, played a part in closing down the many pubs (116 in North and West Melbourne) that were only a memory by the …

The corner grocery shop

by Carolyn Whiting (nee Howe) Do you remember the corner grocery shops? Carolyn Whiting does and printed below are some of her memories. In the days before the large supermarkets, people would shop at the local grocer’s shop. A wonderful blend of aromas greeted them when they walked through the door. The sugar and flour were stored in large sacks …

Carolyn’s story

Carolyn’s story by Carolyn Whiting (nee Howe) We lived in a two-storey terrace at 594 Spencer Street, West Melbourne, between Hawke and Abbotsford streets. My parents slept in the front room downstairs, next to the lounge room, which was only used on Sundays and special occasions. The kitchen had a one-fire stove, with wicker chairs either side of it, and …

Lest we forget

by Lorna Hannan The monument at the Victoria Street end of Errol Street was erected by the local Red Cross to honour men from North and West Melbourne who fought during World War I (1914-1918) in France and Palestine and at Gallipoli. A metal plaque that was added later names wars up until the 1970s but, unlike most of the …

Hotham History visits Jack’s Magazine.

by Lorraine Siska. In March, Hotham History Project members found their way to this remarkable 19th-century edifice that nestles inside impressive bluestone walls on the banks of the Maribyrnong River. What is Jack’s Magazine? It is the largest magazine complex ever built in Victoria and opened in 1878 to provide safe storage for gunpowder imported into the colony of Victoria. …

Hotham History Project – Rough Diamond

by Mary Kehoe After the business of the meeting, there will be a reading from the play Rough Diamond, by John Baldwin Buckstone, as a precursor to a performance to be staged by the North Melbourne Library and the Hotham History Project later in the year. The play has been chosen because of its connection to North Melbourne. In 1885 …

Holding onto our history

by Janet Graham FIRST STOP was the locker room, past reception at street level. Bags had to be left here, as did pens, in very efficient individual lockers with personal keys. Notetakers were required to use pencil. The tour began with an exploration of the Harry Nunn Reading Room, named after the first keeper of public records. Before Nunn’s time, …

Historic precinct a rare treasure

by Mary Kehoe How many know that the small block bounded by Curzon, Queensberry, Union and Elm streets contains the highest concentration of buildings in North and West Melbourne listed on the Victorian Heritage Register? The Presbyterian Union Memorial Church complex comprises the 1879 church with its landmark 46-metre spire, the Victorian manse, the Elm Street church hall, the parsonage …

Evoking a sense of place – two stories of West Melbourne

by Lorraine Siska and David Evans Earlier this year Hotham History Protect members Lorraine Siska and David Evans gave presentations on two 19th-century men and their families whom they had researched — and who had once lived in their respective houses in West Melbourne. DAVID BEGAN HIS TALK with a preface on the early years of North and West Melbourne …

Errol Street 100 Years Apart

by Mary Kehoe There were enormous changes in the Errol Street Shopping Centre in the 100 years that separate these two photos. The shop now occupied by Gary Bohmer’s Pharmacy forms part of one of the earliest surviving two-storey shop rows in Victoria. The row is the oldest existing building in Errol Street, built around 1855 for well-known early identity …

Cable trams made tracks along our streets

by Lorna Hannan It is now a few years since my Uncle Neville (Clement Neville Govern died. He became my uncle when he married my aunt, Leila Bums. He had left Melbourne years before, but remained the self-appointed family expert on our cable trams. On his annual visits, he delighted in taking us to points of interest related to the …

A fascination with local history inspired this Queensland-born reference librarian’s commitment to recording and preserving North and West Melbourne’s heritage

by Jillian Ball Mary Kehoe’s interest in local history research began with the stories of the Benevolent Asylum, which had been a landmark on Melbourne’s western skyline for over 60 years from the laying of its foundation stone in 1850 until its demolition in 1911. The asylum boundaries were on Elm, Abbotsford, Miller and Curzon streets, and the huge main …