At home and school in North and West Melbourne

One Saturday last November about 50 Hotham History Project members and friends gathered outside St Mary Star of the Sea to take a nostalgic walk along the streets of West Melbourne. Many had attended the King Street Primary School in the late 1940s and 1950s when their families lived in the area. Led by Lorraine Siska, who had a trolley-load …

Recollections of great days at the old pool

Laurie Davies was born 100 years ago. He lived his early life in Munster Terrace and remembered spending many hours enjoying himself at the North Melbourne Pool. Years passed and when his brother, Jim, was caretaker at the pool in the l950s Laurie taught swimming to local schoolchildren. His memories of the pool are among the archives of the Hotham …

City of Melbourne Bowls Club celebrates 150 years.

The minute book proclaiming the formation of the West Melbourne Bowling Club, on 18 August 1866, begins with these words: “At the request of several gentlemen who are desirous of having the Bowling Green of the Sablioniere Hotel Queen Street reserved for their exclusive use on certain days each week, the Proprietor has resolved on establishing the above named Club. …

The history of a West Melbourne streetscape.

Between 1853 and 1920, 1–11 Hawke Street, on the corner of King Street, had a number of small timber dwellings. After World War I, a Melbourne chemist, Samuel John Marshall, tapped into improvements in mechanisation and purchased 1–11 Hawke Street to build a medicine manufacturing facility. The building was designed by architect James A. Wood, the designer of University High …

Grate story of draining the swamp

Alluring, fascinating, intriguing. How, you may ask, can these adjectives be used to describe a drain? North Melbourne resident Geoff Leach has been interested in one ‘particular local drain since 1989. He was then living in Harris Street and a downpour caused the drain to overflow and flood the street to the depth of one metre. One night recently, Geoff …

The M.C.C.’s Own “Watergate”

Described by a local estate agent as the Melbourne City Council’s Watergate – Capel and Peel Street’s future is shrouded with secrecy. Back in 1971 the Council began buying land in the Capel and Peel Street block to form part of a proposed re-development project for the Queen Victoria Market. “This block is to be rated into a redevelopment scheme …

Plaque marks the site of wartime tragedy

0ne of North and West Melbourne’s rare public reminders of World War II is a brass plaque on an industrial site near the Macaulay railway station. The plaque commemorates the death of the pilot and gunner of a Vultee Vengeance dive-bomber which crashed there on 4 September 1943. By coincidence, I recently met a friend at the Haines Street bus …

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, …