Such was life

Olde Melbourne guidebooks

Wondering what the cab fare rate was in Melbourne in 1973? Or the opening hours of St Paul’s Cathedral in 1911? Or where must imported explosives be unloaded in 1925?  Melbourne’s old guide books hold the answers; they combine miscellaneous facts with practical information for the visitor to the ‘seventh largest city of the British Empire.’ (The Melbourne guide book, p. 1) Read the rest of this entry »

Violet Town railway disaster

On a very hot Friday, 7 February, 1969, just after 7.00am, the Southern Aurora, Australia’s overnight express passenger train between Sydney and Melbourne, collided head-on with an Albury-bound goods train, 174km north of Melbourne. The Melbourne-bound Southern Aurora ran through the Violet Town crossing loop where it should have waited for the goods train to pass. Read the rest of this entry »

Unexpected sketches

A library patron recently led me to a beautiful book containing sketches by the prison artist William Stanford. The patron had an old newspaper article which mentioned the book, but did not give its title. According to the article:

Although shabby, the book (which the writer of this article recently presented to the public library) is a treatise on physics.  It is well bound.  It has been interleaved with blank paper, and on these leaves are pen and pencil drawings of surprising beauty and craftsmanship – signed William Stanford.

Read the rest of this entry »

Is your Victorian history project award-worthy?

Nominations for the Royal Historical Society of Victoria’s 2014 Victorian Community History Awards are now open. The awards recognise ‘excellence in historical method’, and the types of works that can be nominated include:

  • non-fiction books and ebooks
  • websites
  • small publications (for example, brochures and newsletters)
  • school projects
  • exhibitions
  • radio
  • CDs and DVDs
  • guided history walks
  • apps
  • vodcasts and podcasts
  • digitising projects
  • indexing projects
  • cataloguing projects
  • original research

The awards on offer are:

Victorian Community History Award $5000
This award recognises the most outstanding community history project submitted in any category.

History Publication Award $2000
For a non-fiction publication or e-publication on Victorian history which could include a biography or a story of social, urban, institutional, regional or cultural history.

Local History – Small Publication Award $1500
For the best small publication which could include, but not limited to, a published booklet, journal, zine or newsletter article which features Victorian local, cultural or social history.

Local History Project Award $2000
This award recognises activities that enhance access to records of significance to local communities. The project should increase access, awareness and participation in history on a local or community level including, but not limited to, digitising, indexing, cataloguing, resources and original research.

Young Historians Award (Students from years 3 – 12) $500
This award will be presented to the best historical project or essay by a group of students or individual student.

Collaborative Community History Award $2000
This award recognises the best community collaborative work which involves significant contribution from several individuals, groups or historical societies.

Multimedia History Award $2000
For the best presentation of history which uses non-print media. This project can include, but is not limited to, multimedia exhibitions, radio, CD/DVD, phone apps, website, digital video/podcasts or online applications.

Historical Interpretation Award $2000
This award recognises unique formats of historical representation based on actual events or historical fact. Applicants are encouraged to submit history related experiences told through physical exhibitions, artistic interpretation, history walks and tours.

Family histories are generally not included unless they contain substantial content relevant to the development of a Victorian district.

Works must be published between 1st July 2013 and 30th June 2014.

Entries close on 1st August 2014. Find out more from the Royal Historical Society of Victoria (PDF, 770KB). Best of luck!

It will look better embossed!

Frank Firestone was responsible for many examples of iconic design and advertising imagery for predominantly Australian brands and products. Read the rest of this entry »

Victoria’s lost places

Here’s a test of your local history knowledge: where is Emerald Hill? What about Sandhurst, Sandridge, Hotham or Phillipstown?

If you’re not sure, don’t worry! Gazetteers and atlases are rich with examples of Victorian place names that have fallen out of use. Read the rest of this entry »

Temperance and Melbourne’s grand coffee palaces

The temperance movement originated in the 19th century and urged for the reduction or prohibition of alcohol. Whilst temperance societies were initially founded during the 1820s in the United States and England, it was during the 1830s that they emerged in Australia. Read the rest of this entry »

Victoria’s budget 1852

In 1852 Victoria was barely one year old, after separation from New South Wales in 1851. It was ‘the period of the greatest social and political disorganisation that the colony experienced.’ (A history of the Colony of Victoria…p.1) Read the rest of this entry »

Victorian Historical Journal 1911-2010 now online

For over a year, we’ve been providing free access to digitised copies of the Royal Historical Society of Victoria’s magazine for 1911-1954Thanks to the Society, we’re now able to make Victorian Historical Magazine and Victorian Historical Journal issues from 1955 to 2010 available too.  The journals are a fantastic source of information about people, places and events in Victoria’s history. Read the rest of this entry »

World War 1 poetry

From enlistment to conscription, to laments for the lost to our duty to England, war poetry spans all the hardship and reasoning of battle. Read the rest of this entry »