History articles

Taking a walk through Melbourne streets with Pierre Robin

Taking a walk through Melbourne streets with Pierre Robin

By Dr Cheryl Griffin – Royal Historical Society of Victoria Melbourne-based French wool buyer Pierre Robin was a keen amateur photographer. From the late 1950s into the 1960s he spent hours roaming the streets of the CBD, camera in hand.  A new, sleeker, modern Melbourne was emerging, a city of steel and glass, and Robin

St Francis – a church among the gum trees

By Dr Cheryl Griffin – Royal Historical Society of Victoria There isn’t a sheep (or two), nor is there a kangaroo in this image, but there are gum trees and plenty of other shrubs and trees! These remind us that there was a time when central Melbourne had not been completely stripped of its “forest

Bourke St at the turn of the 20th century

By Cheryl Griffin – Royal Historical Society of Victoria This sweeping view up Bourke St was taken from the General Post Office (GPO) Tower around the turn of the 20th century and is one of the many images that capture the changing face of the CBD in the Royal Historical Society’s collection. The photographer, Henry

An early Melbourne home in Bourke St west

By Dr Cheryl Griffin – Royal Historical Society of Victoria Dilapidated, abandoned and unfit for human habitation, this decaying single-storeyed building was photographed in August 1915 just prior to its demolition.  Located in Bourke St west not far from the corner of William St, it was one of the few buildings left standing from the

Jungle atmosphere in the heart of Melbourne

By Dr Cheryl Griffin – Royal Historical Society of Victoria When I first saw this atmospheric image of the Old National Herbarium at Melbourne’s Botanic Gardens, I was taken back to a time in the 1970s when I was fortunate enough to visit the ancient city of Palenque on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula early one morning

The parade that almost didn’t happen

By Dr Cheryl Griffin – Royal Historical Society of Victoria To celebrate Victoria’s centenary in 1934, well-known philanthropist, businessman and he of Cherry Ripe fame, Sir Macpherson Robertson, sponsored a trail-blazing air race from Mildenhall RAF Base in East Anglia to Melbourne.  It was promoted as “The World’s Greatest Air Race” and there was plenty

Intersection of Swanston and Flinders streets, looking north, 1890s

By Dr Cheryl Griffin At first glance there is little that is familiar about this street scene taken some time in the early 1890s. The traffic is dominated by horses and carts. The pedestrians cross without streetlights to guide them. Public transport consists of cable trams, a relatively recent innovation. The roads are in poor

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