PRESERVATION WIN FOR HISTORIC GOODS SHED

The Number 2 Goods Shed in Docklands, near Southern Cross Station is one of the most significant buildings in Victoria’s rail and industrial history. Built in 1889, it is the largest and most architecturally elaborate nineteenth century railway goods building in Victoria. Despite its listing on the Victorian Heritage Register, in the early 2000s it was cut in half when Collins Street was extended into Docklands, and the two halves redeveloped as office spaces. In 2022 a developer applied to Heritage Victoria for a permit to demolish more of the shed in order to build two substantial office towers where the sheds are cut by the Collins Street extension.

read more...

CONGRATULATIONS TO AUSTRALIA DAY AWARD RECIPIENTS

We were thrilled to see that a large number of people associated with history, community history and historical societies were the recipients of Australia Day honours.

We send our warmest congratulations to the following award recipients:

  • Emeritus Professor Robert MANNE AO

For distinguished service to tertiary education, to political and social commentary, to public affairs, and to the Indigenous community.

  • Dr Judith BRETT AM

For significant service to education and public debate,

read more...

TROVE – AN ENDANGERED SPECIES?

In mid-January Rosalie Triolo and I accompanied VCE Australian History teachers to some of our key national cultural institutions in Canberra hunting for resources for their students. Most institutions were managing on very tight budgets due to an ‘efficiency dividend’ placed on all cultural institutions by recent governments. Only the Australian War Memorial seem to be in good health and expanding massively in three directions on its site.

Of most relevance to the history sector is the National Library of Australia.

read more...

DREAMS SHATTERED OR FUTURE NIGHTMARE DEVOID OF HERITAGE AVOIDED?

An article in The Age on 14 Jan 23 was critical of Maribyrnong City Council’s implementation of an interim heritage overlay in December 2021 on about 900 properties across eight precincts in West Footscray and surrounding areas to protect interwar and postwar-period homes. Home owners were distressed about the loss of value in their properties.

“Royal Historical Society of Victoria’s heritage committee deputy chair Ian Wight said introducing interim controls without consultation was a strategy sometimes used by councils to minimise the risk of home owners rushing to redevelop.

read more...

INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS DAY

The RHSV supports International Human Rights Day Saturday 10 December 2022, whose theme is ‘dignity, freedom  and justice for all’.

The RHSV through its collections and publications is endeavouring to fulfill the role of History as a truth seeking and telling discipline. We are decolonising our catalogue to take account of First Nations History and have a dedicated distinguished lecture for Indigenous History, which is then published in our journal. Our current exhibition is about the women of the RHSV who have made such a significant contribution to our organisation and the wider society.

read more...

Berthing at Little Dock … maybe for a cuppa?

Before the Spencer Street Bridge was built, this was the view from the corner of Spencer and Flinders streets.

This photo was taken some time in the late 19th or early 20th century, and features Spencer Dock, also known as Little Dock. It was opened in August 1854 and was described by The Argus (August 18) as the “first public dock in Victoria”. The first ship to enter was the Flying Cloud, which unloaded 300 tonnes of cargo.

read more...

Robbie Burns in St Kilda Rd

Cheryl Griffin’s latest story has just appeared in CBD News.

“As you link arms and sing Auld Lang Syne this New Year’s Eve, you probably won’t bring to mind the legendary poet Robert Burns who died 226 years ago in distant Scotland never having visited Australia, which at the time of his death had been settled barely a decade.

“Narrm was still undisturbed, except for the everyday activities of the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung and Bunurong Boon Wurrung,

read more...

In the words of Carole King: “City streets, the stories that they tell”

“When the Hoddle Grid was superimposed on the early Melbourne landscape in 1837 it did not take into account the spiritual and cultural connections to this land of its traditional custodians, the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung and Bunurong Boon Wurrung Peoples of the Eastern Kulin.

“Nor did it consider the lie of the land in its bid to recreate a sense of “home”, of the familiar in an unfamiliar colonial context. It ignored the fact that Elizabeth St was laid out along the line of an old creek bed in what was the base of a valley,

read more...

Calling Miss Phryne Fisher

Where was Miss Fisher when, “At 10.30pm on Wednesday, January 29, 1947, four gunshots echoed off the walls of the Flinders Street Extension”

“Two men, Yueng Shing, captain of the ship S.S. Fort Abitibi, and local taxi driver, Albert Sydney Pack, had been shot. Shing was hit by two bullets which pierced his lung and heart; these wounds would soon prove to be fatal. Pack was hit once, but luckily managed to recover in hospital.

read more...

MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR TO CANBERRA for VCE AUSTRALIAN HISTORY TEACHERS

Actually there is no mystery about this tour for teachers of VCE Australian History – it is 4 days in Canberra of jam-packed activities designed to help teachers in sharing their fascination and  love of Australian history with their students. At every institution curators and librarians will deliver tailored information for VCE Australian History teachers and behind-the-scenes activities.

Dates: Sunday 15 to Wednesday 18 January, 2023

Cost: Participants pay a subsidised participation fee of $875 which includes flights return,

read more...

Heritage State Election Campaign

The RHSV has launched a campaign for the Victorian state election, aiming to get candidates to commit to restarting the upper house Inquiry into Planning and Heritage begun last year but terminated without hearings this year. Charles Sowerwine, Chair of the RHSV Heritage Committee, has written to every candidate for the Legislative Council asking them to commit to supporting the Inquiry. We are asking everyone, RHSV members, local historical societies, everyone committed to the preservation of our wonderful heritage,

read more...

Crimping? A crime that has disappeared?

Charles Ferguson saw the construction of a sailor’s home as the solution to “a vast amount of evil, [as] it is well known that the crimping system is in full bloom here [Melbourne].” Ferguson’s proposal received support from various wealthy Melburnians as well as the Victorian Government that provided Crown lands upon which the home was to be built. Alfred Smith who designed major public buildings such as the Bank of Victoria, the Supreme Court of Victoria,

read more...

Mrs Purnell’s Hotel – a small feminist statement of the 1860s

” It may not seem it, but the modest façade of Mrs Purnell’s Hotel at 12 Bourke St is a symbol of one man’s failure and his wife’s strength in providing financial security for herself and her family.

” It represents the outcomes of their failed family life. When this photograph from the Royal Historical Society’s images collection was taken in about 1868, Margaret Purnell had just become the licensee and Thomas Purnell had been gone from the scene for four years,

read more...

QUEEN VICTORIA MARKET: NOW IT’S PODS!

The next stage in the seemingly endless attempt to rob the Queen Victoria Market of its character and role as a traditional fresh food market has surfaced. Following the approval of a 21 storey building at 432-450 Queen Street, the City of Melbourne has applied to Heritage Victoria to use half the historic 1878 fruit and vegetable sheds (A-E) for hospitality, loading docks and a fenced-off area
for storage. Further, the application requests the addition of modified shipping containers or ‘pods’ 2.4m wide by 2.6m high and either 3m or 6m long ‘painted monochromatically in one of three colours: cream,

read more...

The real ‘history war’ is the attack on our archives and libraries

This article, by Michelle Arrow and Frank Bongiorno was published as an opinion piece in the Sydney Morning Herald on 16 September 2022.

When Labor won the May 2022 federal election, it promised to end the climate wars. A decade of policy inertia had left Australia lagging on the urgent transition to clean energy. Yet while the Morrison government dragged its feet on climate, it was energetically reviving the history wars. For Scott Morrison, Tony Abbott and their ministers,

read more...