History articles

Christmas time in the city, 1930

Christmas time in the city, 1930

By Dr. Cheryl Griffin, Royal Historical Society of Victoria The Myer Emporium expanded to Lonsdale St in the 1920s at a time when this section of Little Bourke St was known as Post Office Place.  Only a few years earlier you would have seen horse-drawn traffic dominating the street scene, but by 1930, when this

“Doing the Block” in Collins St

By Cheryl Griffin, Royal Historical Society of Victoria From the 1860s to the 1930s, Melburnians who wanted to be seen (and admired), donned their finest clothes and headed for that fashionable part of town – Collins St – to take part in a ritual known as “doing the Block.”  This quickly became part of Melbourne’s

The Old Melbourne Cemetery at QVM

By Cheryl Griffin  Royal Historical Society of Victoria It seems impossible to believe now, but Melbourne’s main cemetery was once located on the site of the iconic Queen Victoria Market (QVM), mostly under what is now the market’s car park.  In 1837 it relocated from a very small burial ground on Flagstaff Hill (in today’s

Outside Nott’s confectioners

By Dr Cheryl Griffin This photograph was taken outside the shop of confectioner Thomas Nott in about 1900. He’d been in business for about 50 years by then and boasted that he made the best sweets for children in Melbourne. They were “thoroughly wholesome, absolutely pure”, according to his advertisements. And at first glance, if

Too thick to drink and too thin to plough

By Cheryl Griffin In the early 1970s, when I was a student at La Trobe University, I joined a folk club briefly where I was introduced to a number of modern versions of the traditional Australian folk songs that I’d always loved.  I don’t remember too many of them now, but the song about the

Rediscover the Flagstaff Gardens

By Dr Cheryl Griffin – Royal Historical Society of Victoria There are many reasons to visit the Flagstaff Gardens.  The gardens are of great significance to Victoria’s history. In many ways you can trace the vast social and technological changes experienced by Melbourne, by Victoria, by Australia and even by the world as you walk

Charles Troedel – a great Melbourne lithographer

Charles Troedel was one of Melbourne’s foremost printers in the latter years of the 19th century.  As a lithographer he was responsible for producing many high-quality images of early Melbourne.  He also employed and mentored several notable artists and developed lithographic techniques which allowed high-quality artworks to be made available to the public at reasonable

Napier Waller – a great public artist

By David Thompson Few people passing Newspaper House at 247 Collins St notice the colourful mosaic spanning the exterior of the first floor.  It is the work of Napier Waller, a Melbourne artist who is too little known and some of whose major works are on public view around the CBD. This 1933 mosaic portrays

The “Sands & Macs” – a goldmine

Melbourne historians owe a huge debt of gratitude to a Melbourne publishing company – Sands & McDougall.  Its foremost publication, the Melbourne Directory, is a prime information source for anyone tracing the history of buildings and people in the city and suburbs. The company had its beginnings in 1853. In that year John Sands, an

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