A wander through the historical records held in the North Melbourne Library.

Have you ever wondered where your great-grandfather is buried? (Look up CD ROM: Fawkner & Coburg Cemeteries.) Who was that relative born aboard ship on the voyage out to Australia? (Look up CD ROM: Marine Births, Deaths & Marriages 1853-1920.) Want to find out the history of your house? (Look up Microfiche: City of North Melbourne Rate Books 1855-1905/1985, Conservation …

A Walk Through Time.

The story of the first hundred years of St Michael’s parish covers a lot of North Melbourne’s history, which the Hotham History Project celebrated on 8 November with a walk around the parish. We took in three interesting churches. The first was St Michael’s, where the foundation stone explains, in Latin, that it was laid by Thomas Josephus, who was …

A walk along Victoria Street.

Victoria Street is one of my favourite suburban streets. It runs from west to east across the top of the city, forming the southern boundary first of North Melbourne and then Carlton, as far as Nicholson Street, where it becomes Victoria Parade. A walk along this street reveals diverse architecture, intriguing ghost signs and a few good street-art sites. I …

On the Trail of Historic Hotham.

The Friends of St Michael’s had a very successful fund-raising day on the 13th October. Despite very cold weather, approximately sixty people gathered in Chetwynd Street to commence a fascinating two-hour walk around North and West Melbourne. Members of the Hotham History Project led the various groups, drawing on the ‘Discovering Our District’ booklets which were researched and published by …

Two historic North Melbourne Halls

Two Historic Halls Under Hammer

Two halls in North Melbourne which have been closely linked to labor history will be auctioned during September. One is the “People’s Hall” at 456 Queensberry Street, and the other the “Loco Hall” at 562 Victoria Street. Here is some information about these North Melbourne landmarks. The People’s Hall Last century the hall at 456 Queensberry Street was called the …

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 …