South Melbourne, between the south bank of the Yarra River and Port Phillip Bay, originated at the area known as Emerald Hill, 2 km. south of Melbourne.   Emerald Hill, an old volcanic outcrop, stood out from the surrounding swamp land and had greener vegetation. Its elevation above the Yarra delta attracted the initial settlement. During summer, the swamp land dried out and it could be used for recreation or military training.  Settlement south of the Yarra River was focused on Sandridge (Port Melbourne), which was linked to Melbourne by a track from a pier at Sandridge beach. Land sales in South Melbourne were few during the 1840s, but in 1852 a survey of Emerald Hill resulted in the auction of subdivided lots. Settlement happened quickly and within two years its residents were complaining that the Melbourne City Council was not giving them value for their rates. On 26 May, 1855, Emerald Hill was proclaimed a separate borough.

At the time of the survey of Emerald Hill in 1852 a temporary township was created west of St. Kilda Road, south of the river. It was Canvastown, a low-lying area with tent accommodation for gold-field immigrants. It lasted for two years and gave its name to the first school (1853) in the area at the corner of Clarendon and Banks Street.   Slightly later in Emerald Hill, church primary schools were opened: Presbyterian (1854), Catholic (1854), Anglican (1856) and the Orphanages, Protestant (1856) and Catholic (1857). A mechanics’ institute was opened in 1857.   The opening of the Melbourne to Hobsons Bay railway in 1854 did not benefit Emerald Hill very much because it skirted the area, but the Melbourne to St. Kilda line (1857) had an Emerald Hill station by 1858.

The land around Emerald Hill remained unsuitable for housing or industry until it could be drained. The Victoria Barracks, on higher land in St. Kilda Road, was built in 1859, and the military freely roamed the area: rifle butts were in Albert Park and a shore battery was at the end of Kerford Road. In 1863 massive floods inundated the surrounding area and the few optimistic infant industries.  Although flood mitigation did not gain a significant boost until the Coode Canal (1887), land reclamation, drainage and river embankment works encouraged settlement on the flat area.  The Albert Park lagoon was excavated to form a lake for boat jaunts in 1875.

On 1 March, 1872, Emerald Hill was proclaimed a town which led to the council moving its town hall from Cecil Street to the site occupied by the Protestant Orphan Asylum.  State schools replaced church schools: the Eastern Road school (1877), the Dorcas Street school (1881), the City Road school (1884) and Montague (1889), all grew to become crowded, as the population of South Melbourne more than doubled in twenty years, reaching nearly 42,000 in 1891. Before trams came to South Melbourne, Clarendon Street emerged with a main retail strip.

Industries along the river had been mainly noxious, imparting unpleasantness to the growing residential areas. The Harbor Trust (1877) forced the industries to move downstream, and manufacturing replaced them, drawn by the better access across the Falls (Queens Street) Bridge and the construction of South Wharf.

Football clubs were formed in the 1870s and in 1879 the South Melbourne club with red and white colours took its place in the Victorian Football Association. It was one of the founding clubs of the Victorian Football League in 1897. Emerald Hill town changed to South Melbourne on 25 September, 1883.

Tram lines along Clarendon Street and Park Street were opened in 1890, along with the connection made to the city seven years before with a steam ferry between Clarendon and Spencer Street. Manufacturing and food-processing industries expanded back from the riverside. The giant red brick Tea House building, originally a stationer’s warehouse (1890), is a surviving example in Clarendon Street. Notable food processors were Hoadley’s Chocolates (later Allens Sweets) and Sennits ice-cream. Textile mills, timber merchants and furniture trades set up in the 1880s. Clarendon Street, in addition to having many food and drapery retailers, had furniture retailers. Maples, Tyes and Andersons began in South Melbourne and grew to become metropolitan chains. Crofts grocers also began in South Melbourne.

Education broadened to secondary level with a technical school (1919-92), St. Joseph’s technical school (1924-88) and the conversion of the City Road primary school to the Domestic Arts School (1930). Another was the transfer of the Melbourne Girls’ High School to MacRobertson Girls’ High School, in a corner of Albert Park, in 1934.

From Emerald Hill’s beginning with the Orphan asylums, welfare has had strong community support in South Melbourne. The Montague kindergarten opened in 1909, along with Methodist and Catholic kindergartens within a few years. Baby welfare and child hygiene centre were opened during the 1920s. When a South Melbourne local, Harold Alexander, was appointed Town Clerk in 1936, the council deepened its interest in welfare activities. The charitable community-chest and increased rates from commercial properties help to fund welfare activities. At that time South Melbourne was receiving the first postwar migrants, who increased in the nest two decades. Cricket and football was played beside the South Melbourne Hellas Soccer Club (1959), and adult migrant English classes were run at the Eastern Road primary school. Riverside industry expanded, and the Montague kindergarten closed in 1959. Montague was disappearing.

South Melbourne has a strip of land on the west side of St. Kilda Road from the river to the end of the Albert Park. Part of it came from severance from the Albert Park reservation in 1875, providing sites for boulevard mansions. Closer to the river there were several institutional land uses: the Homeopathic (later Prince Henry’s) Hospital, 1882, the Immigrants’ Home (1852-1911) and the Victoria Police hospital. On the site which would ultimately be the Arts Centre complex there were the Green Mill, Wirth’s Olympia and (later) the Trocadero and Glaciarium entertainment venues.

In the postwar years Melbourne’s central business district spilled down St. Kilda Road. Land was cheaper and the council encouraged development attracted by the increased rates. In 1944 the State Government agreed with South Melbourne’s council that the Wirth’s circus site should be reserved for a cultural centre. Postwar shortages delayed the project, and the first part of the Art Centre was opened in 1968.   As culture officially came to South Melbourne gentrification came to its residential area. The Emerald Hill Precinct is a registered historic area, and inspired conservation initiatives both private and municipal. By 1981 the population was less than half its postwar figure, and local support for the football club had waned. In 1982 the Swans became the Sydney Swans, and the Lake oval lost its main tenant.

The particularly noticeable changes since the 1960s have included high-rise Housing Commission flats (Emerald Hill Court, 1962, and Park Towers, 1969), the Westgate Freeway (1975-95) and the development of Southbank. On a smaller scale there were the conversion of the South Melbourne Gas Works to a park (1982) and the conversion of the Castlemaine Brewery to the Malthouse Theatre (1987).

On 18 November, 1993, the area of South Melbourne defined as Southbank and extending to Docklands was annexed to Melbourne city. On 22 June, 1994, South Melbourne city was united with St. Kilda and Port Melbourne cities to form Port Phillip city.

South Melbourne municipality’s census populations were:
  1861:  8,822
  1881:  25,374
  1891:  41,724
  1921:   46,873
  1961:   32,528 
  1991:   17,712

Reference: Australian Places: A Gazetteer of Australian Cities, Towns and Suburbs (http://www.arts.monash.edu.au/ncas/gazetteer.)



  1. Debbie Stevens Says:

    Found this information very interesting-
    Have been doing my family’s ancestry search, just now finding out the children of my[convict] great-grandparents [x6] settled in Yarra Street, Emerald Hill back in 1873.

    Would love to locate some early photographs should you have any!

    Debbie Stevens

    • robertsgrogan Says:

      Contact Kay Rowan, who is the Local History Librarian for the City of Port Phillip (based at the Port Melbourne Library).

    • Michael Sykes Says:

      Am from south Melbourne 1963 still living here 2919 go to Facebook site we have old pics on pages Micky Sykes

  2. Debbie Stevens Says:

    Cheers,will do!

  3. Hemorrhoid Treatment : Says:

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  4. Bottled Water Says:

    ”; I am very thankful to this topic because it really gives useful information ~~`

  5. Ron Meehan Says:

    I have found this site elucidating. My father’s family lived in Emerald Hill/South Melbourne from before 1860 to the 1930’s, and possibly beyond. In 1914, my father’s father was living in Hill Street, SM. It does not exist today. Do you have any idea where it might have been?

  6. Lorraine Piercy Says:

    I have a photo of an imposing 2 story duplex house with arches along the front, along the top story is the name “Bownda” ?? Terrace. This may not be exact as it is a little hard to read. Could this house be in Dorcas Street East, South Melbourne. If so it would be about 1885.

    • Teresa Bragg Says:

      Hi Lorraine,

      Teresa here, yes I am looking for a photo of the house that Great Grandfather was born in also. The address where he was born in was listed at 19 Dorcas Street. I thing it is a Cafe now. Would love a copy of the photo you have mentioned. Cheers Teresa

  7. Laurel Firman Says:

    my family lived at 158 Gladstone street until 1960, i am wondering if any of the families from those days are around

    • robertsgrogan Says:

      I would be most surprised, as the area has changed so much. The great days of Montague are gone!

    • Ward Irwin Says:

      Hi Laurel,
      My Grand Father Joseph Robert Irwin and my Great Grand Father Jonh Irwin owned properties at 134, 134A, 136, 138 ,140, 142 and 144 Gladstone Street (or Place). Info obtained by my deceased father from unknown sources. Do you have old maps of Emerald Hill

    • Martina Says:

      A cousin of mine used to ive in Gladstone Street until the late 1980’s … she had lived there for years …. cant remember the number tho just know it was close to Montague street ….

    • claire Says:

      My dad lived at 333 ferrars St up to 1965

  8. Laurel Angela Firman Says:

    I didn’t mean around Montague , i meant maybe around on this site!!!

    • Shirley Bowen (Phillips) Says:

      Hi Laurel I lived at 132 Gladstone street until I was about 14, then lived in Dorcas st until married at 21.

  9. Laurel Firman Says:

    are your family from south melbourne robert? i can remember up until the late 70’s we went to “Back to Emerald Hill” reunions at SM town hall.

    • Lynette may Brooks Says:

      Hi Laurel I lived at 166 Gladstone st. my name is Lynne Christiansen we left in 1970 age 11 .I remember you and your mum , your mum took us to the port beach

  10. Marg. Says:

    Thanks for the interesting info sheet. My ancestors Frederick and Alice Stevenson lived in Emerald Hill/South Melbourne from early 1850s to at least 1920s.
    One son became a photographer, traded first as Benson & Stevenson, then as Stevenson and McNicol.
    I’d love to hear from anyone connected with this family.

  11. Peter Lovel Says:

    Trying to find a hostel/pub/guest house that existed in the 1880’s that was at the Crn of Johnson and Lorimer St South Melb (intersection no longer exists). Also, does anyone know where the records of the South Melbourne Orphanages in this era are located. I am looking for a person called Claude Hamilton Castellan who was born on 17/11/1891

    • Katrina Says:

      Im also looking for a pub on same street. Owned by a F De Cruise.

    • nicki49 Says:

      Have only just seen this, so please ignore if someone has replied to your question. Have you tried the records of St. Vincents Boys Orphanage? They’re now kept by Mackillop Family Services who are very helpful.

  12. Reg Maqcey Says:

    Peter should contact Melbourne Family Care organization. That body, which still exists, arose from The Melbourne Orphanage when it sold part of its land at the peak of Emerald Hill to the Emerald Hill Town Council around 1876, and offered 99 year leases for the remaining land. This is now the historic Emerald Hill Precinct.

  13. Reg Macey Says:

    Please correct my name to Reg Macey in my reply to Peter’s request

  14. Kenneth Webb Says:

    Would anyone know the history of Bell’s Hotel in SM 157 Moray St, Earlier names of the hotel, when built etc.

  15. Marg. Says:

    My ancestor, Frederick William Stevenson, died at 47 Park Street in 1902. He was a hotelier. I would like to know if 47 Park Street was the address of the hotel and if so, what was the hotel’s name. Love to hear from anyone connected with the Stevenson family.

    • Ron M Says:

      If you can’t get an reply for this question, can I draw yoyr attention to the Australian Electoral Rolls, where you should be able to get information on this family for 1903 onwards.

    • Suzanne Marie Says:

      Hi Marg, Frederick William Stevenson was also my ancestor. The Retreat Hotel Hampton 1859 – 1899 is I think the hotel he worked at. Later renamed to the Hampton hotel

  16. Peter Otzen Says:

    Go to MELWAYS home page. They have the first few editions on line.

  17. Alex Says:

    Ward Irwin, there are some useful maps made by the Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works of South Melbourne from 1895. They even show basic floor plans of existing buildings at that time. They can be viewed on the State Library VIC site. Here is the largest one from the series:
    Gladstone street was then known as Station Place. Other maps in the series show the property numbers.

    If anyone knows of old photographs of Cecil Street down near the corner of Napier Street, please let me know. I’m trying to locate photos showing a building that was demolished in the 1950s/60s.

  18. Fi Says:

    Hi there, am having trouble locating any photos circa 1900s of 280 Dorcas Street South Melbourne (car Ward Street)…any assistance much appreciated!

  19. Cheryl Sykes (Blanck) Says:

    For Laurel Firman
    I lived in Gladstone Street (187) and hung around with all the kids – remember Dennis Firman……the address of 158 Gladstone Street – next door to the Sykes family – Hugh Sykes grandfather, Nita daughter of Hugh and husband Mick all lived at 156 – 13 children Nita and Mick.
    Great days back in Gladstone Street, bonfires on the park when they had “cracker night” – furniture / tyres / whatever the kids came up with. The bonfire from memory was the height of a double story house. Burnt itself out overnight.

    • Jeanette Deiesi Says:

      Hi Cheryl,
      my name is Jeanette De iesi i worked with you at Micro-data in Sth melbourne and have been trying to find you love to catch up with after all this time. back then you were my production manager and a dam good one! i hope you and the girls are all good Tarin & Melissa my email is Jldmel@hotmail.com please drop me a line love to see you again. Jeanette De iesi

    • Shirley Bowen Says:

      Don’t know if you will see this Cheryl. Shirley Bowen (Phillips) I grew up in Gladstone St with you, the Fennessy family,especially Janet, Deb Mcauley etc. I was there until I was about 14. Went to J H Boyd after Middle Park Central. Great fun childhood, playing in the street all day, coming in only for tea then out again.

  20. Laurel Firman Says:

    Hey Cheryl, we moved from Gladstone St when I was four. I remember Georgia and I also remember the old man Hugh, he would always sit on the veranda with a cup of tea and yes the bonfires! Are you Georgia’s sister? They were great old days and Australia will never be like that again.

  21. Cheryl Sykes Says:

    Hi Laurel
    I was best friends with Georgia’s older sister Janet (Jano)……I married into Sykes family – Doug – was best friends with his sister too – Susan (Fuzz) Deborah McAuley and Carol Daragh
    all lived in Gladstone Street – all went to J H Boyd
    Georgia’s Mum Nita still living in Port Melbourne

    and yes were defintely great days and a great place to grow up – didn’t worry about locking doors

  22. Martina Says:

    Cheryl … I remember visiting my grandparents in Garden City in the 1970’s …. and they weren’t locking their doors then either …..and Carol Daragh is living in Port Melbourne again ….

  23. Graham Sykes Says:

    Hi Laurel, You must be as must be as old as me!!..I remember hugh my great grandfather sitting on that porch and every time I went past to visit my grandfather old george..he used whack me..just to toughen me up..my father pies still going strong..

  24. Laurel Firman Says:

    Hello Graham, how you going? I think I am the same age as Georgia. It is good to hear from you. One thing for sure, we had a unique childhood in Gladstone St. I am in Derby WA, about as far away from South Melbourne and still be inAustralia. I would like to stay in touch with you, Laurel

  25. Rob Says:

    Would love to know more history of the South Melbourne abattoir and freezing works. Does anyone have the history or any photos?

    • Chris Newman Says:

      Hi Rob did you ever find anything, I after the sandridge “Port Melbourne” abattoir as my partners relation owned it

  26. Lindsay Taylor Says:

    Hi Alex, I don’t have any photos of that part of Cecil St but I grew up in 227 Cecil St and my grand parents lived at 229 on the corner of Napier St. I was told by my grandmother that the original weatherboard cottages were demolished by a local trucking firm – I think Green Freight – who wanted to build a warehouse on the site. They were refused a building permit but somehow my grandfather found out and bought the site where my parents built the existing cream brick house in 1955. The corner house was not demolished with the others so my grandfather renovated it

  27. Caroline Walters Says:

    I am looking for information on my GGG Grandfather, James Robert Baird: Emigrated to Emerald Hill Victoria, Australia on the “Monteagle” 1855. Inspector of weights and measures in Fitzroy, Vic. Of his 14 children, my GG Grandfather emigrated to NZ. The rest stayed in Australia as far as I am aware. any information would be greatly appreciated.

  28. Dinah Says:

    Looking for information on South Melbourne, Open Sea Bathers/ Lifesaving or Swimming and lifesaving club, especially prior to WWII. Would also like to hear of anecdotes, photos, newspaper cuttings or any any memorabilia welcome.

  29. Angela Porter Says:

    My great grandfather, Charles Caldwell opened a timber yard in Dorcas Street South Melbourne around 1880. If possible I would like any info. from anyone regarding this.

  30. Carolyn Says:

    My Great Grandparents owned the Nelson Hotel on the cnr of Montague and City Road from 1923 to around 1950. My Grandmother, Kathleen Carroll, was born at the hotel in 1927.
    She has many wonderful memories and tells great stories of growing up in the area.
    Its now an Indian Restaurant and she went back there for lunch to celebrate her 60th wedding anniversary a few years ago.

    Her family had strong links to the area. Her Grandfather, Albert Tucker was twice Mayor of Port Melbourne.

    • Xiao Says:

      Hi, I am doing a uni assignment regarding the buildings around Nelson Hotel, I am wondering do you family still keeping some photos at the early of 20 century. If you see that pls reply me via email: xiaoh2@student.unimelb.edu.au Thx a lot!

  31. Margaret Watson Says:

    Hi Therese, From the Wise Post Office Directory, Stevenson and McNicol were in Elizabeth Street:
    1870-1881 108 Elizabeth Street,
    1882-1885 150 Elizabeth Street
    1888-1889 110 Elizabeth Street.
    Can I ask what was the name of your family in the Stevenson & McNicol photos? (Just in case it is also my family),


  32. claire Says:

    Trying to track down old photos as well. My dad lived at 333 Ferras St from birth until around 1965. He just turned 70. They lived next door to the silver plating works and backed onto the train line. I think he went to sth melb tech, surname Matheson

  33. Gent Says:

    Wondering if anyone has any info on the Gent family that lived in Gladstone St? I think a William Gent lived at 151 Gladstone. Any info on Normie Gent would be greatly appreciated!

    • Paul Says:

      Hi Normie is my dad’s uncle and William is dads dad. What info are you after? Dad has lots of scrap books of Normies fighting days and lots of old port stories.

  34. Reg Macey Says:

    Have finally located the words to the song that the former residents of Montague used to sing at the re-unions held in the Port Melbourne Town Hall;

    Dear Old Montague

    They’re building factories now
    Where our homes used to be:
    Knocking down the houses
    But not the memory.

    And though they have taken
    Most of the homes apart
    There’s one thing they cannot take,
    And that’s Montague’s heart.

    The old friends have moved out
    But for Montague they yearn:
    They hold a “Back to Montague”
    And all who can, return.

    Critics have called it a slum place,
    Well that may be their view,
    But they can have their Toorak
    We want dear old Montague.

    Saturday nights on the dance floor
    Not posh, but we would not ask more.
    And then a good day at the footy,
    Where our Rovers would pile up a score.

    They’d play the game hard
    To the crowd’s great delight:
    They might lose the match
    But they’d sure win the fight.

    It’s all disappeared from view now,
    The place that we once knew.
    But we”ll all forever love and remember

    Reg Macey 157 Buckhurst Street, 1936/1942

  35. Cassie Says:

    Hi I’m researching my family history and was wondering if you had any information on the ‘Immigrants Home’ St kilda Road. As my great great grand mother was there with her twin boys (my great grand father & his twin brother) in 1877. But haven’t been able to find out what happened to her. Are you able to help or put me on to someone?

    • robertsgrogan Says:

      If you haven’t done so, I would suggest both the State Library and the local history section of the City of Port Phillip.

      Out of interest, look at the entry for ‘Greig’.


    • Martina Macey Says:

      Hi Cassie. Have you looked through the bdm to check if she passed away in Victoria? If you are on facebook, there is page called Australian Genealogy which you could join and we can help you with your search if you ask there.

    • pemberleyprincess Says:

      HI there, if you hit a dead end, you can always email the contact on Find and Connect for orphanges – they have the records there.

      • -Barbara Hodgetts Says:

        This is the second E Mail I have received from you and it is not in response to anything that I have requested – I think I saw a name Cassie – do not use my E Mail ad
        dress again from this person.

      • Barbara Hodgetts Says:

        I have not commented on any of the below – please make sure that this does not happen again – who the heck is pemberleyprincess? Nothing what so ever to do with my account – will be reported if it happens again. Barbara Hodgetts

      • Barbara Hodgetts Says:

        Good morning – I have sent messages to you re posts that have said they have come from myself and I have not received any replies back – as I said in previous messsages I would like to know who has been sending them to you (AS I HAVE NOT SENT THEM TO YOU) and also who pemberleyprincess is – I have never ever heard of this person and they must be using my accounts – I now ask that you reply to this and let me know how this has occurred as you are responsible for this site. I am also a member of this site and have not used it for a long time. Regards Barbara Hodgetts.

  36. Peter L Says:

    Hi Cassie-A couple of other options. Get into Ancestry.com.au and have a look for her. Also, do an advanced query into TROVE using her full name. You never know what will come up.

  37. Ed Woods Says:

    Looking for any photos of Coventry Street East, Emerald Hill 1860/1870s where my Grandfather Philip Augustus Woods resided. He was an architectural sculptor and modeler, My Grandfather Alfred Edward Woods was born 1869 in Coventry Street East

  38. Martina Macey Says:

    Ed …. have you thought of doing a google search … then go to images … there are some there

  39. deliberatelydebbie Says:

    Am back all these years later as I have more information to dig up re:Grandfather (great x 5)….seems he was living at 31 Dorcas Street Emerald Hill in 1864. Does anyone here know of a good site that lists details of this area? Have “googled” the address but found nothing.

  40. donaldamoseley Says:

    i recently found out that pickles street is in port melbourne and not south melbourne the latest melways tells us this .Its like the murray river is in nsw. . it is the border between south and port.

  41. Peter Otzen Says:

    Pickles Street is now a 4 lane road – so has possibly been widened from its original alignment. Even if the original road was in South Melbourne, it is possible the 2 “new” lanes are in Port Melbourne. Certainly most/all the buildings on the West side of Pickles Street are new, while those on the East are old.
    Are you sure Melways is correct?

    • Peter Otzen Says:

      All the even numbered properties are in South Melbourne – all the odd numbered properties are in Port Melbourne.

  42. Therese Lynch Says:

    Marg. Just returned to this site after a considerable absence and just saw your response to my post. Stevenson & McNicoll photos were taken of my Roney family.

  43. Therese Lynch Says:

    Marg. PS, I forgot to also say thank you so much for the information about when Stevenson & McNicoll operated. This is so helpful to my research 🙂

  44. Ian Garfath Says:

    Im looking for the name of a music venue that was on the cnr or Montague st & City rd in the late 70s It was a pub not operating anymore.

    • Dinah Says:

      The old Hotel Nelson was there I think, and became an Indian restaurant for many years…is that the one?

    • Carolyn Says:

      The Nelsons license lapsed in 1970. It didnt become a restaurant ‘Miguels’ until 1980 so it could have been a music venue sometime between those dates.

    • carolgoudie Says:

      My family owned the Nelson Hotel for a while after its licence elapsed and before it became the Bengal Tiger restaurant. It was rented out as accommodation to people from the Melbourne music scene for a time (I think — I was young at the time and didn’t pay much attention). Maybe those tenants used the space as a venue.

  45. Helen Kenna Says:

    Looking for info/ photos of Skinners Transport Company which Skinners Park was named after

  46. Danny Smalbil Says:

    H there – my name is Danny Smalbil from Adelaide South Australia. Last week I purchased an old diary / scrapbook from 1877 at one of our deceased estate auction houses. The diary is titled ‘ Australian 1877 Rough Diary No. 5. Published by Sands and McDougall Melbourne. This diary was used by the owner as a scrapbook with original newspaper cuttings pasted inside on each page of the diary from roughly 1877 thru to 1910.

    The owner wrote his name on the inside front cover of the book which is:
    C.V. Brett with an address of 20 Emerald Street, Emerald Hill. I am fascinated by this scrapbook and it’s contents and also the non-original hardcover that it was contained in. The hard cover that came with has a very long title but from the research I did it was a pictorial (art work) of Queen Victoria’s Coronation in 1839 by Edmund Thomas Parrish Esq. Unfortunately the original copy plate of the painting is no longer with it.

    Are you able to tell me where I might be able to find more about C.V. Brett and if 20 Emerald Street Emerald Hill (Sth Melbourne) still exists. Finally once I have finished reading all the articles I would like to donate the diary and it’s coronation cover to an interested organisation or maybe even some descendants of Mr Brett. Have you any advice / suggestions for me?

    Danny Smalbil

    • Mark Reed Says:

      Emerald st .runs parallel between Dorcas and Bank streets and is like a lane that runs from Ferras st to Queen st, Its the last house on the right before the bend into Queens st. Not sure if the original house is still there.
      It seams he may have travelled to Sydney on the ship Bulimba on 14-1-1899 and 10years earlier on 27-12-1889 on the same ship and he may have owned land at lot/18 Bents Ave or st. Northcote in 1896

    • Therese Lynch Says:

      Hi Danny
      Have you tried doing a search of old newspapers in TROVE? It is a fabulous resource for doing research and I can’t tell you how much I have learned about my family (and unexpectedly Australian social history) since they came to Australia in the 1850s. Trove has been digitising Australian newspapers since they began in the 1800s. The images have been OCR’d so you can search the. The web address is http://www.trove.nla.gov.au. Click on digitised newspapers and start your search using as many different keywords to find information about Mr Brett. e.g. Mr C.V. Brett; Mr C. Brett; C. Brett; 20 Emerald Street, Emerald Hill; Emerald Street, Emerald Hill; “Brett” AND “Emerald Hill”; etc. Good luck.

    • Ron Meehan Says:

      It is several years since you asked the question. However, it may be that your C V Brett was actually Charles Victor Brett. Chas Victor Brett 1903 city, Northern Melbourne, Victoria Find a Grave Record Charles Victor Brett 16 Feb 1914 Coburg, Moreland City, Victoria, Australia. Born in Victoria in 1860, area of Loddon. Appears to have lived in Melbourne’s northern suburbs, not South Melbourne.

  47. Martina Macey Says:

    Emerald Hill is no longer an official Suburb, the only Emeral Hill Street (and/or Place) is located in South Melbourne which of course USED to be Emerald Hill. I am willing to see if I can find a descendant or a place to donate the book to if that is ok

  48. Glenda Cumming Says:

    does anyone know anything about the Pratt and Hartness families from Emerald Hill/South Melbourne?

  49. Shirley Bowen Says:

    No sorry. Those names don’t ring a bell.

  50. Andy Calder Says:

    Can anyone tell me about the history of the modernist building at 82-86 Clarke St? It was built as the first Melb production site of Coca Cola. My grandfather was an architect and it’s rumoured he designed it but I need corroboration of that?
    Thanks, Andy Calder

  51. jeannie blackburn Says:

    Can anyone assist with the history of 3 Cromwell Place south Melb around 1899. A nurse by the name of Eliza Highton was associated with the dwelling. Also a private hospital run by Beatrice Walker same era. Many thanks

  52. Mark Reed Says:

    My great Aunt owned a millinery and dress shop at 248 Coventry st. Her name was Ada Skeggs, nee Cain . In Fact I have a photo from the front of the shop with some women in front of the shop who I can’t identify. The shop was call Mrs Cain Milliner. Dress and mantle maker.
    I don’t know how to get the photo on this site but it would have been taken around 1900 the shop I think may have been there till at least 1945- 50. I was wondering if any one remembered it or the family and any stories I can put in a memoir

  53. The Hard Years « GARDENER Family in Australia & Beyond Says:

    […] A Brief History of South Melbourne ↩ […]

  54. Ian Garfath Says:

    A mate of mine who is no longer alive used it as a music venue. A friend who is o/s at present should know. He’s back at the end of September

  55. Reg Macey Says:

    I recently launched two local history Facebook sites. They are Born and Bred South Melbourne ( actually for anyone with a South Melbourne connection) and Port Melbourne History. I mention Prot Melbourne History site because old Montague dwellers mainly identified more with old Port Melbourne than South Melbourne ( I know, because I lived my first 6 years in Montague) New members and old photos welcome on both sites.

  56. Ian Garfath Says:

    I’m wondering what the” Record’ building in 242 Dorcas St South Melbourne used to be.

    • Therese Lynch Says:

      PS: The Record was operating from at least as early as 1862 in what was then Emerald Hill (now of course known as South Melbourne). Cheers 🙂

  57. Therese Lynch Says:

    The Record was a small local newspaper in South Melbourne, still published as late as the early 1970s when I lived in Park Street. I can’t remember where their office was but this is a very real possibility. Regards

  58. Ian GIaianarfathi Says:

    Thank you for the info about the Record’ building Therese

  59. Ian Garfath Says:

    That wasn’t supposed to read Ian Glaianatfathi

  60. Phil Hunter Says:

    HAVE DISCOVERED ANCESTORS WHO LIVED at 65 Cecil-street circa October 1869. Name of McEachern, captain Niel McEachern and his wife Mary Elizabeth McEachern who passed on 26/10/1869.
    Am trying to find out more about them, and the property, also any ancestors and descendants. I note there was a McEachern who played 14 games with South Melbourne, but passed away at age 23 before could add to that tally, and shortly after he was married.
    Any assistance would be exceptional

  61. Fay slatter Says:

    Does anybody know where in Middle Park was Honeybone’s hall. I believe it was originally Honeybone’s Hat factory and was converted to a hall in 1900.

  62. Martina Macey Says:

    Fay … it used to be at 149 Neville Street Middle Park … between McGregor Street and Armstrong street

  63. Fay Slatter Says:

    Thank you Martina I have a paper cutting of Grandparents who held their wedding reception there.

  64. Martina Macey Says:

    Your welcome … I found the information by doing a google search … doing family history myself I find doing a google search is the first thing i do ….

  65. Angela Brown Says:

    Very interested to see The Town Hall Hotel in South Melbourne. When I emigrated to Australia in 1974 my friend Joan Davies sponsored me and my then husband. Her mother owned the Hotel and it was the first place we went to following our arrival in Melbourne. Does anyone know Joan…would love to find her after all these years….

  66. Natalie Storey Says:

    I have been completing my family history and found about 8 years after my Great Great Grandmother and G-G Grandfather parted (not sure why) my G-G Grandmother was living at 146 Montague Street. This was between 1908 to around the 1920’s. I was wondering if there were any pictures of if anyone could help explain why she was there during that time. Her name was Christina Harris, she also had her youngest daughter Elizabeth with her. The rest of the children were with their father.

  67. Marilyn Deeble Says:

    Throughout my life I have been given very little information in relation to my maternal Grandfather whose name was James Dowdle McGowan Born 1891) Emerald Hill. He was a tobacco worker and after returning from the war appears to have divorced his wife Elizabeth and then has had a relationship bearing 2 children to my maternal Grandmother. Recently on fb a relative mentioned that my auntie had stated that the Grandfather was a boxer which I initially scoffed at but on checking internet have found John Reid McGowan so there could actually be a connection. Can anyone help me with historical knowledge of the names of his 6 children. Also, interestingly I had always queried why I was named Marilyn and was told that it was after a relative whose name was Mary Ellen but never told which side of the family. Then when researching, have found that John Reid McGowan’s 2nd wife was named Elizabeth (same name as my mother) Mary Ellen Dykes…as soon as I saw the middle names it felt like a piece falling into place for me. I think he may be my Great Grandfather. My Grandfather James returned from the war after suffering gas poisoning several times and appears to have had a severe drinking problem which was probaby caused by PTSD. Any information which would provide me with Gentleman Jacks childrens names much appreciated.

  68. Barbara Hodgetts Says:

    `My great grandad lived at 65 Cecil – he purchased 1 Cecil street in 1926 – would like any information re this family. His name was Theodore Petersen.

  69. Napier Street School South Bank | ci Says:

    […] A BRIEF HISTORY OF SOUTH MELBOURNE | Streets of South … – A BRIEF HISTORY OF SOUTH MELBOURNE South Melbourne, between the south bank of the Yarra River and … of Cecil Street down near the corner of Napier Street, … […]

  70. Kate Wardhaugh Says:

    I am researching my family who lived at Emerald Hill in 1878 by the names of Albert Wain and Josephine Wain (Good). he was a tobacconist.

  71. cindy Says:

    hi im after the name if anyone knows of the primary school behind the st vincents boys home around 1960s in napier st south mel thanks

  72. Kathryn Johnson Says:

    Hi my great great grandfather and mother lived on Bank street Emerald hill and had 6 or more kids here from 1862-71. His name was Alexander Purcell and his wife Elizabeth sarah or Sarah elizabeth. He was from Jamaica so ide guess dark skinned. Any info from anyone would be great.

  73. Coral Roberts Says:

    My father & his younger sister were born at South Melbourne was there a hospital there in 1903

  74. Nicki Nieboer Says:

    Hi trying to find what type of building was located at 54 Moray Place (or Murray Pl?), S.M. Also 26 City road, S.M.Not having much luck finding the type of premises.

    • robertsgrogan Says:

      Check South Melbourne Rate Books, held at library in Bank Street.

    • Peter Otzen Says:

      Nicki, Around 1900 the numbering of properties was standardised in greater Melbourne.
      Sands and McDougall catalogues show the old numbers.
      The Historical Society (bank Street near Sth Melb Town Hall) has a document relating the old numbers to the new.
      Originally, many streets were numbered West to East, with odd numbers on the left.
      The change was to re-number from East to West – still with odd numbers on the left.
      The modern numbering also has Streets numbered from South to North. Not sure what happens where a street is “diagonal”.
      btw. in 1895, 54 Moray Place was on the West side, registered Frederick Menner, between York and Coventry (#56 was on the corner).

      • nicki49 Says:

        Thank you so much, that’s the best information I’ve had yet. Because I live in Gippsland, it’s hard to find the time to get down to the library in Bank Street.

  75. Helen Elliott Says:

    What a great site. Thankyou. I am looking for any photos of the children at St Luke’s Anglican school and kindergarten – other than the one on St Luke’s website. I am interested in years between 1910 -1918. Thankyou.

  76. Barbara Hodgetts Says:

    My great, great Grand father lived in Cecil Street – it would have been in the early 1900’s – his name was Theodore Petersen – he may still have been there in 1915 as my grand father (Theodore Henry Petersen) still gave this address when he joined the armed forces as he had lost touch with father. Is there any information that anyone could give me.

  77. Jessie Adams Says:

    I am searching for the location and photo of two homes ‘KELSO’ and ‘FALKIRK’ in Albert Park/South Melbourne area in the late 1800s to early 1900s. Believed to have been occupied by the Monteath Family. It would be wonderful if they have survived!

    • therese Says:

      H i Jessie

      Looks like you’re in luck. There’s an article in Trove that lists Kelso and the Monteath’s address in South Melbourne:

      The Age page 7, 6 June 1908

      LOW—MONTEATH.— On the 30th April, at Dor-
      cas-street Presbyterian Church, by the Rev. J. B.
      Galloway, William Charles, youngest son of the late
      William Low, of “Red Hill,” Chewton, to Hilda
      May, second daughter of Charles Monteath, of
      “Kelso,” South Melbourne. At home Wednesday,
      Thursday and Friday, 10th, 11th, 12th June, at
      “Kelso,” 213 Bank-street, South Melbourne.

      Also, I looked in Google earth and it looks like the house is still there next door to the South Melbourne police station which is No 211 Bank Street. I grew up around the corner.

      I hope this is what you are looking for?



      Your Family Genealogist


  78. therese Says:

    Hi Jessie

    Looks like you’re in luck. There’s an article in Trove that lists Kelso and the Monteath’s address in South Melbourne:

    The Age page 7, 6 June 1908

    LOW—MONTEATH.— On the 30th April, at Dor-
    cas-street Presbyterian Church, by the Rev. J. B.
    Galloway, William Charles, youngest son of the late
    William Low, of “Red Hill,” Chewton, to Hilda
    May, second daughter of Charles Monteath, of
    “Kelso,” South Melbourne. At home Wednesday,
    Thursday and Friday, 10th, 11th, 12th June, at
    “Kelso,” 213 Bank-street, South Melbourne.

    Also I looked in Google earth and it looks like the house is still there near the south Melbourne police station. I grew up around the corner.

    I hope this is what you are looking for?



    Your Family Genealogist


  79. Jessie Adams Says:

    Thank you so much Therese. We will make a trip to Bank Street to view the home!

  80. Joanne Says:

    Hi I was wondering if anyone could help me:
    I am looking for any information on the McApline Family that owned a Milk Bar on Clarendon St Corner (not sure which) around the 1910-1925? Please any information would be greatly appreciated.

  81. Gaylene Black Says:

    Hi – thanks for the interesting read. My family came from Sth Melbourne – Boundary St – Alma (Lavertey) Hank & Mornington Hank -Three boys Ken, Robert (my father) and Laurie. Dad and Laurie owned the butcher shop in City Road for many years and then ran a butcher shop in the South Melbourne Market. I would be interested in finding out if anyone remembers them.

  82. Lynette Dowsey Says:

    Anyone know anything about the Matters family in South Melbourne

    • Kacie Says:

      Hi, I’m trying to find out some information regarding my dads biological parents. He was legally adopted by Lily and Tom Woods who lived on Gladstone street. The Fawcett sisters (who lived on Heath street) informed Lily Woods of a baby (my dad) and whether she was interested in adopting him. She did. Does anyone know of these Fawcett sisters? Or where I could find more information of this adoption. His birth details only list his mother and she has now passed. Any information would be greatly appreciated. Thank you

  83. Zhael Says:

    Hi, my 86 year old Aunt, Margot Bostock of Middle Park, is the Granddaughter of Elijah Bostock who, along with his 2 brothers (James and Walter Bostock) founded Bostock Bros. Butchers of 212 Clarendon Street, South Melbourne. Apparently they were the official meat suppliers to Government House in the early 1900’s. Does anyone have any more information? Cheers.

  84. Clothe Says:

    […] Grogan, Robert, ‘A brief history of South Melbourne’, Streets of South Melbourne, 2007, https://streetsofsouthmelbourne.wordpress.com/a-brief-history-of-south-melbourne/ […]

  85. Josephine Batten Says:

    Hi, I’m looking for a “long-shot”. I have discovered that my 2XGGF John Reidy lived at 63 Raglan Street, Emerald Hill. He was a dairyman which I have just found information on ancestry that he paid 12/- for Rates on 30th September 1864. Not sure of his wife’s name as 2 names have been placed on ancestry. I’m trying to find which one was the “real” Mrs. John Reidy. The names I have are Margaret Quinn and Ellen Brown.
    Mr John Reidy b: 1809 Kilmaley, County Clare. Ireland d: 21 December 1869 in Emerald Hill. Victoria. He died of chronic disease of the lung. I have it that he married Margaret Quinn 1830 in County Clare (if this is the correct Mrs. John Reidy).
    Margaret Quinn b: 1812 County Clare. Ireland. d:1869 Gordon, Victoria.
    According to ancestry they had 7 children.
    I have no information on Ellen Brown other than my 3-4 cousin through DNA test has Ellen Brown as Mrs. John Reidy.
    John Reidy arrived on the ship “Neptune” 1838.
    Margaret Quinn arrived on the ship “Surry” 1836.
    That is all the information I have on my ancestors and any assistance to find where Raglan Street, Emerald Hill was/is and my ancestors would be much appreciated. Thank you.
    Josephine Batten.

    • therese lynch Says:

      Hi Josephine 63 Raglan Street, South Melbourne (formerly known as Emerald Hill) is now low-rise apartments.  Raglan Street runs between Clarendon Street and Moray Street. Directly opposite on the other side of the street though is still original houses and will give you some idea of the type of residence he lived in.  (See below for a photo of numbers 62 and 64 Raglan Street, South Melbourne. I had a quick look on Trove.nla.go.au for John Reidy in Emerald Hill and it looks like there were two of them.  One was the Licensee at the Maori Chief Hotel in South Melbourne in 1872.  See the newspaper snippet below. The applications refers to licences to operate a public house.  That pub is still there and still operating. This John Reidy died in 1879. The other John Reidy lived at 88 Cobden Street, Emerald Hill and had a son Thomas who pre-deceased him in 1869 and was buried at the Melbourne General Cemetery in Carlton. This John Reidy then died himself, aged only 60 at the end of 1869. I looked up his Thomas’ death registration index record and it says his mother’s maiden name was Campbell.  (See Below). If you do a search of digitised newspapers in http://www.trove.nla.gov.au you will see other items. Hope this helps.Therese

  86. TONY Says:

    Hi i used to live near the town hall .Now ihave been living in greece for the past 45 years and i cant any information about the old Eastern road primary school .Especially about where the records & library have been moved to.The only thing I have found out is that the old building has been sold as aresidential property.Has anyone more information about this?

  87. Bafbara Hodgetts. Says:

    My great grand father Theodore Henry Petersen and his family lived at 65 Cecil Street, South Melbourne- does anyone have any information they can share with me. Barbara.

    • Peter Says:

      What date? The city was re-numbered around 1900.

      • Barbara Hodetts Says:

        My grandpa gave this address when he enlisted for WW! he never found his dad.

      • Peter Otzen Says:

        In 1895, the Sands and McDougalls catalogue had “Booth, Stephen” living at 65 Cecil St. 65 was part of where the Spotlight Centre near South Melbourne Market is.
        #71 was a hotel on the corner (where a food shop now is), and #65 may have been close to where “Brazil”coffee shop now is. Certainly North of York Street.

  88. Anna Says:

    Looking for a photo of 25 Clarendon St, South Melbourne from back in 1925 – wondering how I would go about finding one. Tried google maps but it is now a very large imposing building.

  89. Carolyn Says:

    Try History Pin. There are some fantastic photos on there with the location pinned.

  90. Peter Says:

    Anna, that “imposing building” is the CROWN Metropol – the third of the hotel towers forming the CROWN CASINO complex (along with the gaming rooms, restaurants and theatres. Prior to the the CROWN Metropol, the site was a garage/car sales yard. I should have several pictures of the site – I live at #80 and used to look down on that site.

  91. Laurie Middleton the twins. Pop Middleton champion Sportsman etc was our Grandfather..fid reside at that same address for 25 years born 1939.left 1965. Says:

    The Middleton Family owned millions in property .S’t Kilda Road..all around . And made the boots and shoes for the Gentery. The famous Lasts that belonged to our top goverment people..all gone!.an uncle was under suspicion.

  92. tony h Says:

    Hi Ive been living in greece for the past 45 years but for 6 years I lived in south melbourne. After a lot of searching i found out that my school (Eastern road) has become a residential building.Does anyone know where the library of the school was tranferred to?( I remember leaving a book there in 1974) Not so interested in finding the book but i would really like to know where the records of the school went to

  93. Piero Pompeani Says:

    I have a Victorian era Australian cedar chiffonier with a stencil mark on the back “Trueman 41 & 115 Clarendon St, South Melbourne”
    I gather that the furniture trades/retailers moved into Clarenden Street in the 1880s and would greatly appreciate any information available on theTrueman business.
    Cheers, Piero

  94. Dale Says:

    I’m trying to find records of the Primary or Secondary school that HORACE MORRELL went to between 1917 and 1926. Horace lived at 4 Church St, South Melbourne from 1917 to 1928. I went past the house some weeks ago and it has obviously been replaced with a 1950s cream brick house. I also have a picture of Horace in his school uniform at aged 10 years old, photographed in 1922. So, maybe he attended a Private or Catholic school, to be wearing a school uniform in 1920’s. Anyone who knows anything about Horace Morrell at that time and the school he attended would be most appreciated.
    Cheers, Dale

  95. Sandy Says:

    Trying to find any help with information about my Ancestor’s that lived at Little Tribe Street SM. Morris Wells/WIlls and Florie (Holmes) until Morris’ death in 1920.
    Also my mother’s family lived at 80 Gladstone Street SM.their names were James Johnston and Christina Bloomfield Knight and my grandmother was a Annie Knight living there until she married and moved to 1 Lt.Tribe Street,SM.
    Any assistance would be very much appreciated.

  96. Gabby Says:

    We are trying to find the history of 443 Clarendon street south Melbourne and what it was built for . Hope someone can help

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