The Carlton Community History Group (CCHG) was established by a committed group of people interested in the history of Carlton, an inner suburb of Melbourne, Australia. CCHG was incorporated in 2007 and launched at the Carlton Library in 2008.
We invite you to explore this website, find out more about us, read our newsletter, share your recollections and participate in our meetings and activities.
Time and Location
Date: Tuesday 5 December 2017 Time: 7.30 pm Location: Carlton Library
667 Rathdowne Street
North Carlton Vic 3053
The full schedule of meetings is available on the meetings page.
The death of an infant is tragic in any circumstances, but even more so when the death results from want of care and nourishment. Catherine Kennedy, the illegitimate daughter of eighteen year old Mary Ann Kennedy, lived a very short life. She was born in Carlton on 19 January 1899 and died seven weeks later on 11 March. Her death and the subsequent trial of her carer, an unregistered nurse with a criminal record, brought to the fore the notorious practice of "baby farming", condemned by Mr. Justice Hood as "an organised, deliberate and systematic plan of murder".
A Fiend in Petticoats
Read the story of Marie Theresa Thornton, the one-eyed woman dubbed "a fiend in petticoats".
Dracula's Last Bite
The Canals Have Gone Fishing
Two well known Carlton businesses - Dracula's Theatre Restaurant and Canals Seafood - are shutting up shop in 2017. Dracula's began in Drewery Lane, Melbourne, in 1980 and moved to larger premises at 96-100 Victoria Street, Carlton, ten years later in 1990. The converted brick factory site, on the corner of Cardigan Street, was originally designed by architect P. Hudson in 1912 and built by F. Frenchman for Ross, Robbins Co., brassfounders. Dracula's final performance will be on Saturday 23 December 2017.
Canals Seafood, at 703 Nicholson Street, North Carlton, celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. The business began as a fish and chip shop, operated by Spanish migrants Joseph and Maria Canals, in Collingwood in 1917. They moved to North Carlton in the early 1930s and took over an existing fishmonger's shop, which had been in Nicholson Street as early as 1905. Canals is a family business in the true sense, with successive generations learning the trade from their elders and making their own contribution to developing the business. Over the decades, migrants from Europe, like the Canals family, have done much to influence the Australian taste for fish and seafood. In 2017, the demand for quality seafood is greater than ever and the Canals brothers, John and Peter, have chosen to end on a high note and give themselves a well-earned break in retirement. The shop building was auctioned in October 2017 and the door is now open for another business - perhaps a fishmonger - to move in.
Notes and References:
Building occupancy information has been sourced from Sands and McDougall directories.
Building design information has been sourced from the Australian Architectural Index and Building Application Index.
The Age, 28 September 2017
Scaling the Heights at St Michael's Church
McIlwraith Street Princes Hill
Prayer might bring you closer to God, but sometimes a little extra help is needed. This crane was deployed to enable safe access to the roof of St Michael's Anglican Church for maintenance work to be carried out. The situation would have been very different in 1885, when the church was built. Before the advent of safe work practices in the construction industry, workers would have been climbing up rickety wooden scaffolding and hauling loads of bricks by hand. The foundation stone for the church was laid by Sir George Verdon on 18 February 1885 and the opening service was held on Sunday 24 May in the same year. The brick church, designed by architect James Gall (Gaul) and built by Robertson and Stewart, was described in the North Melbourne Advertiser as:Prior to 1885, there was no Anglican church in North Carlton and Princes Hill to serve the pastoral needs of the growing population. The nearest churches were St Jude's in Lygon Street, Carlton, and St Luke's in St George's Road, North Fitzroy. In 1885, Bishop Moorhouse sanctioned the separation of North Carlton to form a separate parish and St Michael's was born. A suitable site was found on the corner of Tucker (now McIlwraith) and Macpherson Streets and the land was procured by James Moorhouse, William Edward Hearn and Thomas Turner a'Beckett on behalf of the Anglican Church. The new parish and the building of the church had the full support of the community. Architect James Gall drew up the plans free of charge and the project was funded by donations and interest-free loans. Parishioners provided material support with donations of carpeting, chairs and other furniture, a church bell, collecting plates and communion cloths." … a commodious brick building 70 x 40 in the inside, walls 18ft. high with a Gothic roof running to about 45ft. high, the windows and doors have cement facings, the roof is lined with tongue and groved deal and varnished, while splendid ventilation is provided by a large lowered ventilator on the top 30 feet long, a dado of cement is now round the walls inside about 4 feet high and the remainder of the walls plastered, the windows are filled with cathedral glass, with tinted borders which gives the place a bright and cheerful appearance, sufficient ingress and egress is provided in five doors which all open outwards. The lighting of the church is excellent and a nice even light is distributed by two sunlights of four feet diameter, together with four standards round the chancel. Sitting accomodation is provided for 500 and the greater part of the available sittings have been taken up prior to the opening of the church."
"A commodious vestry is provided at the east end of the church, suitable for holding meetings in connection with parochial work. The cost of the building with the fittings and furniture will amount to nearly £2000, but this sum the committee expect by united efforts to clear off in a very short period, and from the known popularity as well as the energy of the new incumbent it is expected that the present building will very soon have to be devoted to the objects which the promoters had in view, viz., a Sunday School, and a large and commodious church built to meet the wants of this rising locality."
North Melbourne Advertiser, 20 February 1885, p. 3
North Melbourne Advertiser, 29 May 1885, p. 3
Certificate of Title, Vol. 1654, Folio 686, 1885
The St. Michael's Story : 125 years of Anglican Ministry in North Carlton. St. Michael's Anglican Church, 2010
Elm Trees in Curtain Square North Carlton
Looking South Towards Newry Street
Tree Removal in Curtain Square North Carlton
Curtain Square in North Carlton has had a major landscape change, with the removal of twelve elm trees from its north/south avenue. Six of the mature elm trees, estimated at 100 years old, were assessed as having structural defects and they posed a serious risk to public safety. The remaining elm trees, from more recent plantings, were not growing well in their current position and their removal allowed for a new avenue of 16 trees to be planted. The Scarlet Oak, Quercus coccinea, was selected as the replacement species. Tree removal took place in September 2017 and care was taken to minimise disruption to the resident wildlife population.
From Quarry to Quercus
Curtain Square North Carlton
Of course, it will take some time for the new avenue of trees to become established, but Curtain Square has gone through many changes in its history. Curtain Square occupies 1.46 hectares of the area bounded by Rathdowne, Canning, Curtain and Newry Streets and the land was first reserved for recreational purposes in May 1876. However, it had an earlier history as quarry worked by convicts from the Collingwood Stockade from 1853 to 1866. The convicts spent their days doing back breaking work in the quarry, hewing blocks of bluestone with hand tools, then they were marched back to the stockade (now the site of North Carlton Primary School in Lee Street) to be locked up overnight.
The contrast between the work of the convicts and the amenity of Curtain Square as a public recreational space could not be greater. A report in The Argus of April 1877 spoke in glowing terms of the area being "hardly recognisable as the place it was 12 months ago". The old quarry holes were filled in and the area was planted with a variety of trees and shrubs in pleasing arrangements. It was noted "the great hollows which formerly existed have been filled up with street sweepings, and are now being covered with a thick layer of mould." The legacy of this infill material was noted a hundred and fifteen years later in the Curtain Square Masterplan of 1992. Cracks in the walls of buildings, constructed in the 1930s and 1940s, were attributed to subsidence on the former quarry site, as was the tilt of the elm trees in the vicinity. The buildings, a "men's shelter" and a toilet block, were demolished in the 1990s.
The reserve, also known as Curtain's Square, was named in honour of John Curtain, who was instrumental in having the land reserved for ornamental and recreational purposes. He was a Melbourne City Councillor and Member of Parliament, the publican of several hotels in Carlton and a well known real estate developer, who at one stage owned over fifty properties in Carlton. Curtain Street, on the northern boundary of the square, is also named after him.
Curtain Square tree replacements, City of Yarra, 2017
Crown Title, Vol. 887, Folio 273, 5 May 1876
The Argus, 6 April 1877, p. 5. This article includes a detailed list of trees planted in the reserve.
Curtain Square Masterplan, Urban Design Team, City of Melbourne, April 1992, p. 6
Underage enlistment was common in World War 1. The record appears to be held by an English boy, Sidney Lewis, born in 1903, twelve years old when he enlisted and 13 when he fought at the Battle of the Somme in 1916. The best known Australian boy soldier is Private James Charles Martin who was 14 years and 9 months when he died at Gallipoli.
When Queen Mary was in Melbourne in 1901, on the occasion of the opening of the first Federal Parliament, she visited the Women's Hospital, Carlton, and was photographed with a baby in her arms. The baby is now Private J. A. Wharton, of the Victorian Infantry. His parents live in Richmond. He is a husky fighter, aged 16 years, with 14 months active service to his credit. He enlisted when 14½, giving his age as 18, and came scatheless through the terrible fighting at Bullecourt and in other engagements. Recently he sent a cutting of the photograph mentioned from the Melbourne "Herald" to the Queen, and was immediately invited to Buckingham Palace, where he spent last Sunday, dined with the King and Queen, and the Queen acted as mother to him, personally showing him over the Palace. The incident has revealed Private Wharton's age, and it is improbable that he will be again sent to the front.
Portland Observer and Normanby Advertiser, 29 November 1917, p 2
It makes a great story but does not entirely stand up to scrutiny as indicated in a more detailed account of Private Wharton's escapade, published in the Weekly Times in November 1917. He actually enlisted early in 1917 and sailed from Melbourne on May 11, his 16th birthday. By November his parents had not received word that he had been to the front. In any case he could not have fought at Bullecourt, the battle for which took place some months before. A letter received recently showed that he was still in England at the beginning of September. The background to Private Wharton's enlistment, however, is a reminder of the fervour with which many Australians joined the conflict. Jack's father, now Corporal Joseph John Arthur, enlisted with the Australian Imperial Force early in the war, and Jack, the eldest of eight children, shared with his mother the task of helping to keep the home together. He was employed as a lorry driver, and was earning £2/2/ a week, but was anxious to get to the front.
"He gave me no rest," says Mrs Arthur, who lives at 12 Shelley street, Richmond. "He pestered me for over twelve months. I told him that he was my sole support, and I could not let him go. At last he worried me so much that I promised that if his father came back he could go. His father did come back, having been wounded in the leg, and sure enough Jack kept me to my promise. As he was only 15, and did not want the authorities to find this out, he enlisted under the name of Wharton, which was my maiden name and I signed his papers."
Weekly Times, 24 November, 1917 p 1
Mrs Arthur's husband, Corporal Arthur, fought on the Somme, at Pozieres, and elsewhere. He was wounded and returned to Australia, but in November 1917 he re-enlisted, found fit for home service only. Corporal Arthur died in 1952. His boy soldier son outlived him by only 4 years.
Find out more about what happened in Carlton 100 years ago.
Princes Street is the dividing line between Carlton and North Carlton, and a major thoroughfare for east-west traffic. When the lights turn red at the Canning Street intersection, few travellers could fail to notice the distinctive Edwardian building on the south west corner. The Dan O'Connell Hotel is a Carlton institution and perhaps best known for its St Patrick's Day celebrations. The present hotel building is over 100 years old and was designed by Smith & Ogg and built by C.F. Pittard in 1912. It was named after Irish political leader Daniel O'Connell (1775–1847), but the Irish connection goes back even further, to a earlier hotel on the same site.1
The Munster Arms
The Munster Arms Hotel, named after the province of Munster in the south of Ireland, was first licensed to Margaret McCrohan in 1875. Her application of 8 June was initially opposed, and the close proximity of two other hotels - the Pioneer hotel and United States Hotel - may have been a contributory factor. The application was postponed for 14 days and the licence was granted on 22 June 1875. The original building was described as a small brick hotel, with nine rooms, a bar and a cellar. Mrs McCrohan and her husband Eugene ran the hotel until 1881, when the licence was transferred to George Henry (Harry) Wallace.2,3,4
Wallace held the licence for about a year only, and ran into trouble when removing an unruly patron from his hotel in October 1881. He took legal action against Daniel Dorian (Dorien) for assault, but this case was dismissed by the City Bench. A few months later on 27 February 1882, Dorian, a bricklayer, sought the sum of £300, as damages for an assault and battery, and malicious prosecution. The civil case was heard in the Supreme Court before a judge and jury. The presentation of evidence from both parties took the greater part of the day and the judge commented that the case could have been dealt with in a lower court. After a short deliberation by the jury, Dorian, the plaintiff, was awarded £5, considerably less then the desired amount.5
By the end of the month, George Henry Wallace had transferred his licence to Annie McCanny. Mrs McCanny, former licensee of the Kensington Hotel, did not have the capital to finance her new hotel business and she entered into an arrangement, to the value of £396, with the Melbourne Brewing and Malting Company Limited. Such financial arrangements were common in the nineteenth century and enabled persons of limited financial means to go into business. The brewing company acted as a de facto bank and the hotel was "tied" to the company and required to sell its beer. The bill of sale between Annie McCanny and the Melbourne Brewing and Malting Company Limited, dated 30 March 1882, includes a detailed room-by-room inventory of the hotel contents, and this gives a fascinating snapshot of the hotel in the 1880s.6
On 24 September 1882, Annie McCanny, her niece Mary Ann Cunningham and her friend Elizabeth Vernor had a frightening experience, when four drunken men forced their way into the hotel after closing time. The men went on a rampage, chasing young Mary Ann, throwing a decanter at Elizabeth, breaking a window, smashing glasses and damaging fittings. When Thomas Henderson (alias Pangburn), James Gawthorn, Thomas Whelan and John Robinson appeared in the City Court to answer the charges, they pleaded drunkenness as an excuse, and offered to make good the damage. The magistrate, Mr Panton, took a hard line and denied drunkenness as an excuse for ruffian behaviour, and he fined the men accordingly.7
Annie McCanny died intestate on 17 June 1883, aged 33 years, and she left two young sons, James and Henry. Their father, Thomas McCanny, could not be located and there was an outstanding protection order against him for domestic violence. (Ironically, the protection order enabled Annie to obtain the hotel licence because, at the time, there were restrictions on granting licences to married women.) The Melbourne Brewing and Malting Company Limited took possession of the hotel, as was their right, and the "two intelligent looking" boys appeared in the City Court charged with being neglected children. The magistrate, Mr Panton, was sympathetic to their plight, but Annie's estate, valued at £405, 8 shillings and 6 pence, was tied to the Melbourne Brewing and Malting Company Limited and there was no financial provision for her children. The boys were sent to St Augustine's orphanage in Geelong, and the Victoria Police Gazette later reported that the younger brother, Henry, had absconded in 1891.8,9,10
It could be said that the Munster Arms Hotel died with Annie McCanny. Once the administrative arrangements of Annie's estate were sorted out, the hotel was taken over in August 1883 by Mary Buggy, who paid £100 for the licence. It was during her time as licensee that the Munster Arms became the Dan O'Connell, with the new name first appearing in the Licensing Register in December 1883. The Dan O'Connell continues to trade in the 21st century and remains the only surviving licensed hotel south of Princes Street, between Nicholson Street and Rathdowne Street. This area of Carlton was once populated with a number of hotels, all of which have been delicensed, though some former hotel buildings still remain. The Dan O'Connell's immediate neighbours, the Pioneer Hotel and the United States Hotel, were delicensed in 1907 and 1925 respectively.11
Notes and References:
1 Building information has been sourced from the Australian Architectural Index and Melbourne City Council Rate Books
2 Hotel licensing information has been sourced from the Licensing Register (VPRS 7601) and Index to Defunct Hotel Licences (VPRS 8159)
3 The United States Hotel was on the corner of Canning and Neill Streets, Carlton. It is now the Princes Hill Gallery.
4 The Pioneer Hotel was on the corner of Station and Neill Streets, Carlton. The building no longer exists.
5 The Argus, 2 March 1882, p. 5
6 Conditional Bill of Sale 60205, Mrs McCanny to the Melbourne Brewing and Malting Company Limited, 30th March 1882 (VPRS 8350)
7 The Argus, 30 September 1882, p. 12
8 Probate File of Annie McCanny, 25-885 (VPRS 28)
9 The Argus, 7 August 1883, p. 10
10 Victoria Police Gazette, 23 September 1891, p. 270
11 The Argus, 15 August 1883, p. 11.
For more stories of Carlton pubs, read our August 2017 newsletter.
In April 1880, the satirical magazine Melbourne Punch gave an account of a "hare and tortoise" race, in which a pedestrian outpaced a horse-drawn North Carlton cab. But did this event actually take place as reported? The total walking time of 54 minutes from the Kent Hotel in Rathdowne Street, North Carlton, to Bourke Street in the city sounds about right, but did Mr Tibbits really have enough time to stop off at a pub for a drink, and to visit a relative in hospital? Conveniently, there were no independent witnesses to this remarkable event and it was not reported in any other newspapers at the time. The slow pace of North Carlton cabmen and their propensity for taking detours were recurring themes in Melbourne Punch in the 1880s, so the "race" may well have been a belated April fool's joke. But why let the facts get in the way of a good story?
The Great Race
EXCITING RACE - MAN VERSUS HORSE
A novel and interesting contest took place in one of the suburbs last Monday morning, the result of which will go far to corroborate the statements of those persons who believe that a human being is capable of more endurance than that noble animal, the horse. It is to be regretted that the struggle was an unpremeditated affair, as had it been possible to give publicity to it, it would doubtless have attracted a large crowd of the patrons of pedestrianism and the turf. Appended are particulars of the race :— It appears that Mr. Tibbits started as usual from his residence in North Carlton last Monday. At the Kent Hotel stood one of those cab-horses which have rendered the North Carlton rank famous for the speed of its cabs and the blasphemy of its patrons. "Town, sir?" said the cabman, shaking out the reins and saying, "Whoa, Emma," a perfectly unnecessary injunction to administer to his very much woebegone steed. "I just want to leave a parcel a few doors along the street," said Tibbits ; "you can pick me up as you come along." "Right, sir," said the North Carlton Cabman as he began to examine his harness, and skim the horizon with bloodshot eye in search of stray passengers. Precisely as Tibbits left his parcel and strolled townwards along Rathdowne-street, the North Carlton cab-horse started from the Kent Hotel. The man in advance was about two hundred yards ahead, but the horse was going well within itself, 33 to the minute,
When Tibbits had reached the corner of Elgin and Rathdowne-streets the horse had gained considerably, not more than one hundred and fifty or sixty yards separating the man and the horse. Tibbits glanced around when he reached the corner, and seeing the cab gaining sensibly on him, he thought he would slacken off his pace, and go along the usual route to let the cab pick him up as soon as possible. When the man had reached Lygon-street the advantage was considerably in his favour, for the few customary excursions up the byestreets after imaginary passengers had thrown the horse back. Once in Lygon-street, however, the large bones, strong muscles, and superior condition of the horse began to tell in its favour. At Grattan-street the man, although not exerting himself, was scarcely fifty paces in front, but just then the horse bolted down one part of Grattan-street, as far as the University, to a man who wasn't going to town, and then up the other way to the Carlton Gardens to witness a dog-fight. This had the effect of giving the pedestrian a heavy lead; and as the horse turned into Lygon-street again, the man was just doubling the corner at the junction of that street with Queensberry-street. The cabman now put forth his undivided efforts to catch the pedestrian in time to justify the charging of threepence as fare to town.
It was 9.15 when the cab left North Carlton. The first halfmile was done in 17 minutes, and the pace now became terrific. The University Hotel was passed at 9.35, Queensberry-street at 9.41, and Madeline-street was reached at 9.46, the man still holding a good lead. The unusual pace now began to tell upon the game old North Carlton cab-horse. He knew he was overmatched, but he still struggled bravely on. The pedestrian perceiving that there was little chance of the cab overtaking him, slackened off speed, went into a public house for a drink, and called into the hospital to see how his poor relation was progressing. When he came out the cab-horse was just passing Lonsdale-street, Tibbits quickened his pace, and the cab-horse strained every nerve - a most exciting finish took place. The man and the horse raced neck and neck past the Globe, but then the breathing space which he had had, and the liquor, gave the victory to the man, for he passed into Bourke-street, hands down, several lengths in advance of the horse. The man had scarcely turned a hair. The horse showed evident signs of distress and fatigue, but persevered on to the Hobson's Bay Station. The race was most exciting, particularly at the finish. The distance was about two miles, and remembering the heavy nature of the course, and the usual speed of a North Carlton cab-horse, the time, 54 minutes, must be considered extremely fast.
Melbourne Punch, 8 April 1880, p. 3
Madeline Street was originally the Carlton extension of Swanston Street.
The Melbourne Hospital was in Lonsdale Street, on the site now occupied by the QV Centre, and the Globe Hotel was on the north east corner of Swanston and Little Bourke Streets, Melbourne.
What do a teacher, soldier, journalist, trade commissioner, senior bureaucrat, a parliamentary and national librarian, a spymaster, a counter terrorist and a prisoner of war have in common? It would appear that the range of skills and talents required by these activities were encompassed in a man called Allan Percy Fleming in the course of his 89 years - he lived from 1912 to 2001. According to Peter Golding's thoroughly researched book, Fleming taught for a while at his old school Scotch College, then embarked on a career in journalism, first on the Melbourne Argus and then Brisbane's Courier Mail, where he was a leader writer. At the outbreak of World War 2 he enlisted as a private in the AIF, rose to the rank of lieutenant–colonel, was decorated, wounded twice, captured and escaped. He went back to journalism, then got a job to reorganise Australia's defence intelligence, became a trade commissioner in Paris to represent Australian international trade negotiations and then switched to become the Commonwealth Parliamentary Librarian, then the National Librarian. After he 'retired' he set about establishing Australia's first counter terrorism organisation.
An Unqualified Success : Alan Percy Fleming
By Peter Golding
How did the son of a gripman on Melbourne's cable trams, whose broken, troubled family saw him separated from his mother and sister, and living with his father and a step-mother, and going to school at Lee Street North Carlton Primary, manage to be prepared for all his subsequent occupations? It seems he owed a lot, not just to his natural talents, but to the support of two great teachers, William Arthur Empy at Lee Street, North Carlton, and William Still Littlejohn at Scotch College.
This small exchange between the German Field Marshall Rommel and prisoner Allan Fleming, should be enough to encourage everyone to read about him.Rommel to Fleming:
"You know you Australians are very good fighters ... But we will win the war. You will not win the war."
Fleming to Rommel:
"I'm sorry, sir, but I don't think you will win the war ... We will win the war. To help us we have a secret weapon."
Then he turned around and pointed at the XXXX bottle of beer.
I highly recommend this book. It is fascinating and informative about local conditions in North Carlton, as well as the experiences of a young boy at school and of soldiers during wartime. It is also utterly Australian.
Dr. Judith Biddington, CCHG
An Unqualified Success, by Peter Golding, was published by Rosenberg Publishing Ltd in 2013.
It is with great sadness that CCHG notes the death at 93 years old of "Bea". Her recollections of her Carlton childhood were recorded in 2010 and provide a vivid insight into the kind of lives lived by poorer residents in what was then a vibrant working class suburb, as well as describing the effects of the outbreak of World War 2 on a young woman just finding her feet in the world of employment.
Bea married soon after the war and over the decades raised a family of four and gradually acquired the professional qualifications and experience she had missed out on when she left school at 14. Additionally, at the age of 64, she undertook an Arts degree majoring in Art History and Italian. She described those years at university as the highlight of her life. It was characteristic of her energy that, when she was interviewed at the age of 86, she was still employing an Italian tutor to work with her and a small group of friends in maintaining their language skills.
Bea spent the last couple of years of her life in an aged care home, something her daughters suggested to her with some trepidation as a temporary respite but which, characteristically, she enjoyed so much that she immediately elected to make it permanent.
Vale Bea, a full life indeed.
Who would have thought that waiting for her friend to change her stocking could have made such a difference? Read Bea's story and find out how this seemingly trivial event had a big impact on her young life.
In her recent book For a girl : a true story of secrets, motherhood and hope, writer Mary-Rose MacColl gives an account of the time she spent at a home for unmarried pregnant girls in Carlton in the 1970s. Mary-Rose became pregnant at 18 and she travelled interstate, from her home city of Brisbane, to have her baby and give it up for adoption. While community attitudes towards single mothers were changing at the time, there was still a social stigma attached to being "a girl in trouble". In the case of Mary-Rose, she had left home and lied about the married man who had made her pregnant, in order to protect his identity and reputation. She kept her secret for years and it was only after the birth of her second child, a son, that the long-suppressed memories surfaced and she was able to embark on her painful journey of reconciliation and recovery.1
A Girl in Trouble
Mary-Rose's home during her pregnancy was the St Joseph's Receiving Home at 101 Grattan Street, conveniently near the Royal Women's Hospital, and run by the Sisters of St Joseph. The Receiving Home was first established in Barkly Street, Carlton, in 1902 by Margaret Goldspink, a well known charity and welfare worker. Within a few years, the home moved to the larger premises in Grattan Street, an opulent two-storey house designed by W.S. Law and built for Louisa Langley in 1890. Mrs Langley, who also owned the adjacent aerated waters factory, was declared insolvent in 1905, forcing the sale of the house and factory site to pay her creditors. The Catholic Church purchased the property, measuring 56 feet by 132 feet, for £2,000 in late 1905 and Archbishop Carr invited the Sisters of St Joseph to take over management of the Receiving Home in 1906. During World War 1 the building was extended, at a cost of £4,000 (twice the original purchase price), with a new wing and chapel that was officially opened by Coadjuter-Archbishop Daniel Mannix in February 1915. The land on the eastern side, towards Lygon Street, was later acquired and the houses of Grattan Terrace (nos. 81 to 99) were demolished in 1960 to make way for a new accommodation wing. 2,3,4,5,6,7,8
For nearly 80 years, St Joseph's Receiving Home offered shelter to thousands of pregnant women and also provided short term residential care to children considered by the courts to be neglected or "at risk". The supporting mother's benefit was introduced by the Whitlam Government in 1973, when it was acknowledged that single mothers needed support, not condemnation, to keep their babies. Rates of adoption, which was once seen as a convenient solution to a social problem, have dropped off dramatically since the 1970s, while the birth rate of ex-nuptual babies has risen steadily during the same period. These babies are now more likely to be born and raised in the community than in institutions. The Receiving Home closed in 1985, when it was merged with St Joseph's Babies Home to form the new St Joseph's Babies' & Family Service in Glenroy. The 1960s accommodation wing was demolished in the 1990s and redeveloped as a retail and residential complex. The Royal Women's Hospital, where many of the Receiving Home residents had their babies, relocated to new premises in Flemington Road, Parkville, in 2008. 9,10,11,12
Image Source: The Advocate, 27 February 1915, p. 27
Architect A.A. Fritsch's drawing of St Joseph's Receiving Home extension, officially opened in February 1915.
The original 1890 building facade was replicated in the new wing, and a chapel was added on the western boundary.
The houses of the former Receiving Home are now numbered 103 and 105 Grattan Street, Carlton.
1 The Age Good Weekend, 22 April 2017, p. 22-24
2 Mackillop Family Services
3 Land ownership and occupancy information sourced from land title records and Melbourne City Council rate books
4 Australian Architectural Index
5 The Age, 13 May 1905, p. 12
6 The Advocate, 6 January 1906, p. 16
7 The Advocate, 27 February 1915, p. 27
8 Register of Demolitions, 1945-1975 (VPRS 17292)
9 Find & Connect : History & information about Australian orphanages, children's homes & other institutions
10 Births Australia (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 3301.0)
11 Australian Social Trends (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 4102.0)
12 Building Application Index (VPRS 11202)
Good news for Rathdowne Street shoppers - the former St Clements greengrocer, which closed in February 2017, has re-opened under new management in May 2017. Senserrick, currently at 687 Nicholson Street North Carlton, is expanding its business into Rathdowne Street. Senserrick and St Clements are the latest in a long line of greengrocers that have occupied the shop at 384 Rathdowne Street since the 1930s, with the exception of a few years from the late 1940s when it was a wholesale hardware business. Longer term residents will remember the Tucci family, who operated the greengrocer's business from the mid 1950s through to the 1990s. The purchase of fruit and vegetables was often accompanied by an impromptu Italian lesson, courtesy of Francesca and Paolo. They retained ownership of the building after their retirement and the business has been continued by a succession of greengrocers. Paolo died in April 1993 and Francesca in June 2016, at the age of 90 years. Both were buried in Melbourne General Cemetery, Carlton.
A Fruitful Business
The two storey shop building was sold in late 2016 and 384 Rathdowne Street is once again selling fruit and vegetables in 2017.
Image: Courtesy of Tucci Family
The Tucci Family in the 1960s
The Travelling Samovar closed in late 2016 and the former tea house entered the next phase of its history as the café Extension of Time, opened in February 2017. The new café retains a link with the Travelling Samovar and has a small selection of Samovar teas available.
The Samovar Travels On
The two-storey building at 412 Rathdowne Street, North Carlton, which dates back to the 1890s, was a tobacconist shop for sixty years. None of the subsequent business occupants - pastrycook, confectioner, milk bar, picture framer, noodle shop, café or tea house - can rival the tobacconist in terms of longevity. Read more about the tobacconist shop that became a tea house.
An upstairs fireplace and surrounding brickwork is all that remains of the original Carlton Inn Hotel
One of Carlton's earliest extant hotel buildings, on the corner of Leicester and Pelham Streets, was demolished illegally over the weekend of 16 and 17 October 2016. The Corkman Irish Pub, which was subject to a heritage overlay, was reduced to rubble, despite a stop-work order being issued by the Melbourne City Council. The hotel was originally built as the Carlton Inn and first licensed to George Edmonds (Edmunds) in 1856. Over the next one hundred and sixty years, the hotel served many glasses of beer and played host to generations of university student pub crawls.
Another One Bites the Dust
At the time the Carlton Inn was built, the area north of Victoria Street, including Carlton and parts of North Melbourne, was not subject to the provisions of the Melbourne Building Act (1849). Buildings could be constructed and demolished without permits and this contributed to the somewhat haphazard development of Carlton in its early days. Nowadays, there is a rigorous system of planning, building and demolition permits in place, but this was not enough to save the Corkman Irish Pub, which will be sadly missed.
Notes and References:
An Act for Regulating Buildings and Party Walls and for Preventing Mischiefs by Fire in the City of Melbourne, 12 October 1849 (Melbourne Building Act, 1849)
The Age, 7 May 1856, p. 2
Melbourne Planning Scheme. City North Heritage Review, 2013 (Revised June 2015)
On the last day of October each year, children, some dressed in ghoulish costumes, take to the streets and celebrate the time-honoured tradition of Halloween. In 2016, local residents had even more reason to celebrate, as 31 October marked the centenary of the first electric tram service along Lygon Street. Lygon Street originally had a cable tram service, dating back to December 1887, as far as Elgin Street, but passengers wishing to travel further north had to offload and catch a horse-drawn omnibus. Nicholson Street and Rathdowne Street had cable trams north of Elgin Street, so why should Lygon Street have a "an antiquated bus service which is believed to be identical with the one that conveys visitors to the Ark up to the top of Mount Ararat?" 1
100 Years of Electric Trams in Lygon Street
The impetus for an electric tram service came from the northern suburbs of Brunswick and Coburg, which had grown in population in recent years, creating a demand for improved transport. At a meeting of the Brunswick Council on Monday 13 June 1910, Mr R. Kyrle, Secretary of the North Brunswick Progress Association, proposed a scheme of running an electric tram line along Lygon Street and Holmes Street to the Coburg Cemetery. This was taken up by the East Brunswick Tramway League in February 1911 and followed up by a series of meetings with residents and ratepayers of Brunswick, Coburg and North Carlton later in the year. The proposal received enthusiastic support, but its successful implementation was dependent on co-operation and cost-sharing between the three municipalities of Brunswick, Coburg and Melbourne (representing Carlton and North Carlton). There was a precedent for this scenario in the Prahran & Malvern Tramways Trust, which had operated electric tram services from May 1910 and was now returning a profit. The proposed Lygon Street line would be about 4½ miles (7¼ km) long from Elgin Street, Carlton to Coburg, at an estimated total cost of £80,000, compared to the Prahran & Malvern Tramways Trust cost of £90,000. The cost-effectiveness of running trams from Elgin Street to Park Street was questioned because the section between Princes and Macpherson Streets was occupied on the western side by the Melbourne General Cemetery, whose residents had no further need of transport. An alternative route of running electric trams down Park Street to connect with the Rathdowne Street and Nicholson Street cable tram routes was considered and rejected, as it would it would be of no benefit to the residents of Princes Hill (North Carlton) and would contribute to overcrowding on the existing cable tram lines. Eventually, the tram routes and administrative arrangements were sorted out, but Lygon Street had to wait another five years for its electric tram service. 2,3,4,5,6,7
In February 1914, the Brunswick & Coburg Tramways Trust was established to construct and operate an electric tramway from North Carlton to Brunswick and Coburg. Later that year, in October 1914, the Trust was re-constituted as the Melbourne, Brunswick & Coburg Tramways Trust, reflecting Melbourne City Council's involvement. The much-anticipated Lygon Street electric tram service was opened in two stages in 1916, with an extension of the Coburg line from Moreland Road to Park Street via Lygon Street opened on 14 August, and a further extension from Park Street to Queensberry Street, via Lygon Street, Elgin Street and Madeline (Swanston) Street on 31 October. Residents of Carlton and North Carlton had a preview of the tram service the day before, when members of the Trust went on a trial run before the official opening. On the afternoon of Tuesday 31 October 1916, under threat of a storm typical of Melbourne's spring weather, six electric trams, officials and curious onlookers assembled at the corner of Madeline and Queensberry Streets. Care was taken to ensure that all parties were represented in the ceremony and the ladies, no doubt, had some assistance from tramways staff. After introductory speeches, Lady Hennessey, wife of Melbourne Lord Mayor David Hennessey, cut the blue ribbon spanning the track and proceeded to drive the leading tram, followed by Mrs Reynolds, wife of the Chairman of the Tramways Trust, driving the second tram. The tram procession continued along Madeline, Elgin and Lygon Streets to Park Street, where a second ribbon cutting ceremony took place. Mrs Phillips, Mayoress of Brunswick, took charge of the leading tram and travelled through Brunswick to Moreland Road, the boundary line between Brunswick and Coburg. Mrs Richards, Mayoress of Coburg, then cut another blue ribbon and took over for the final leg of the journey to Bakers Road, Coburg. 8,9
Unlike cable trams, which were drawn along by a continuous below-ground cable, electric trams were powered by electricity via a network of overhead wires. Any interruption to the power supply, whether from a substation outage, damage to overhead wires or loss of connection between the trolley pole and the wires, brought the tram to a stop. A tram taking a corner at speed could lose its trolley pole connection and another could get stuck at a "cut off" point, which marked the change from one power supply to another. Electric trams could travel at a higher speed than the old cable trams and they had a different braking system. There was a spectacular incident in Carlton in July 1925, when the dynamo of an electric tram fused, disabling the air brakes and sending the tram hurtling along Lygon Street at a speed of thirty miles an hour. The tram continued out of control up Elgin Street to Madeline Street, where the driver was finally able to apply the emergency brakes and bring the vehicle to a shuddering stop. Neither the driver, nor the passengers on board, were injured, but the incident was a cautionary tale of the immense power of an electric tram, compared to a cable tram or horse drawn omnibus. 10
In the first twelve months of operation, the Lygon Street tram service had the dubious honour of a suicide. On the afternoon of 7 June 1917, Hector Henry Porter, aged 63 years, was seen wandering across the tram tracks in Lygon Street, North Carlton, near Paterson Street. He stepped in front of a city-bound tram, in what appeared to be a deliberate act of suicide, and suffered fatal injuries. At the inquest held a week later, the coroner Robert Hodgson Cole found that Porter died by his own act and had shown signs of mental unsoundness at the time. He cleared the tram driver, Ernest William Hoare, of any blame for the death. A few years later, in February 1920, a cyclist died in a shocking accident in Lygon Street near Curtain Street, North Carlton. The cyclist was riding along the tram tracks when he was first hit by a city-bound tram, which then propelled him into the path of another tram travelling north. The man, thought to be named Harvey, was identified only by a numbered Wharf Laborers' Union badge he was wearing. 11,12
The Lygon Street tram service remained under the control of the Melbourne, Brunswick & Coburg Tramways Trust for five years only until the end of 1919. In November of that year, the Melbourne & Metropolitan Tramways Board (MMTB) was established to operate the entire tram system in Melbourne. The Melbourne, Brunswick & Coburg Tramways Trust, along with four other municipal tramways and the private Northcote cable line, came under the control of MMTB on 2 February 1920. The decision was not popular amongst some local council officials, who considered they were better placed to operate their own tram services. The Board's original plan to replace existing cable and horse drawn services with electric trams proved to be unachievable on such a large scale. The cable tram network had reached the end of its useful life and was progressively shut down, with some routes converted to electric traction and others replaced by motor buses. This was the fate of the North Carlton route along Rathdowne Street, closed in August 1936, and the Carlton route along Lygon and Elgin Streets in April 1939. The Nicholson Street route was closed in October 1940 and temporarily replaced by motor buses, but services to East Brunswick were later restored with electric trams in 1956. 13,14,15,16,17
The Melbourne & Metropolitan Tramways Board continued until 1983, when an integrated tram, rail and bus network was created under the control of the Metropolitan Transit Authority. For the first time ever, the travelling public could transfer from one service to another on the same ticketing system. The 1990s saw major political and administrative changes, with the privatisation of public transport and other state-owned utilities. In a short-lived (some might say ill-fated) move, tram services were split between two independent operators, Swanston Trams and Yarra Trams, in August 1999. This arrangement proved unsustainable, as Swanston Trams (re-branded as M>Tram) failed to meet its performance targets and withdrew from the contract in December 2002. Yarra Trams assumed control of the entire tram network in April 2004 and continues to operate services to this day. Trams have become larger and more complex in operation, but the basic tram infrastructure of metal tracks and overhead wires is essentially the same as it was on that spring day in 1916, when the first electric tram travelled along Lygon Street.18
Notes and References:
1 Coburg Leader, 17 February 1911, p. 1
2 Coburg Leader, 17 June 1910, p. 4
3 Reuben Kyrle (Keirl) was a colourful character. In April 1906, he appeared in Carlton Court as defendant in a maintenance case involving his wife Elizabeth and in 1915 he was "deported" from Tasmania for impersonating a transport officer.
4 Coburg Leader, 17 February 1911, p. 1
5 Coburg Leader, 21 July 1911, p. 4
6 Coburg Leader, 1 September 1911, p. 4
7 Coburg Leader, 15 September 1911, p. 4
8 A brief history of the Melbourne, Brunswick and Coburg Tramways Trust. Tramways Publications, 1999, p. 1
9 Brunswick and Coburg Leader, 3 November 1916, p. 2
10 The Age, 17 July 1925, p. 13
11 Inquest 1917/482, 14 June 1917
12 The Age, 25 February 1920, p. 10
13 The Argus, 28 October 1919, p. 6
14 The Argus, 3 August 1936, p. 8
15 The Argus, 18 April 1939, p. 11
16 The Argus, 28 October 1940, p. 2
17 The Argus, 6 April 1956, p. 5
18 Yarra Trams Website
Former Bank Building
Corner of Elgin and Rathdowne Streets Carlton
(Now occupied by Prinzi Collections)
Notes and References:
1 Elgin Scrap Metals Pty Ltd owned the corner site from 1980 to 1984, when ownership was transferred to Mordcha Pty Ltd.
2 Bank branch locations sourced from advertisements in Sands and McDougall.
3 The Argus, 24 March 1884, p. 15
4 Australian Architectural Index, record no. 78821
5 The National Bank of Australasia was established in 1858, two years after the Colonial Bank of Australasia.
6 Geoffrey Blainey and Geoffrey Hutton. Gold and paper 1858-1982 : A history of the National Bank of Australasia, Macmillan, 1983. p. 184
7 ibid, p. 322
Bank branch closures are all too common in the era of internet banking, but for the National Australia Bank in Carlton, it was a case of "one branch closes and another opens." The Carlton branch at 129 Elgin Street closed its doors on Friday 12 August 2016 and re-opened at 288 Lygon Street on Wednesday 17 August. The branch had occupied the single-storey building on the south west Rathdowne Street corner site, next to Elgin Scrap Metals, since 1984. But the bank's history in Carlton goes back another hundred years. 1
The Last Bank in Elgin Street
The Colonial Bank of Australasia was established in 1856 and by 1884 it had fifty branches in town and country Victoria. In March 1884, a small advertisement appeared in The Argus inviting tenders for the erection of a new Colonial Bank of Australasia at Carlton. The following month, a notice of intent was lodged with Melbourne City Council to construct a bank building on the north west corner of Rathdowne and Elgin Streets (later numbered 126 Elgin Street). The bank was designed by architects Smith & Johnson and built by Alex Kemp of Rathdowne Street, North Carlton. There were branches of the Bank of Victoria, Commercial Bank of Australia, London Chartered Bank, and Savings Bank of Victoria already established in Carlton, but the economy was booming in the 1880s and increased competition was considered good for business. A few years later, the Colonial Bank of Australasia survived the depression of the 1890s, while many other banks and financial institutions went to the wall. 2,3,4
The final phase of the Colonial Bank of Australasia's life came in the immediate post-World War 1 period. The Colonial Bank of Australasia merged with the larger National Bank of Australasia, in what was regarded as a positive business move at the time. On 25 November 1918, the Colonial Bank of Australasia went into liquidation and its staff, accounts and premises were transferred to the National Bank of Australasia. The stationery and signage at the Carlton branch was changed and the bank continued to operate at the Rathdowne Street corner site until the 1980s. 5,6
The 1980s saw major changes, with government deregulation of the banking and finance sector. The National Bank of Australasia merged with the Commercial Banking Company in 1982 to become the National Australia Bank. The Carlton branch at 126 Elgin Street moved across the street to the newly-constructed building at 129 Elgin Street in 1984, and remained there until its closure in 2016. While the National Australia Bank still has a branch in the Lygon Street tourist precinct, Elgin Street has, regrettably, lost its last bank. 7
Play Area at Lincoln Square Carlton
Lincoln Square, in Swanston Street Carlton, has seen it all. This leafy green space close to the CBD, site of a Bali Memorial and reserved for public use since 1853, has survived attempted road incursions, locked gates, gang warfare, a gruesome murder and a recent take-over by skateboarders.
Fun and Games at Lincoln Square
Find out more about the history of this significant public space.
Former Cable Tram Engine House
Corner of Rathdowne and Park Streets North Carlton
Site of Former North Carlton Cable Tram Route
Rathdowne Street North Carlton
Notes and References:
1 John Keating. Mind the Curve. Transit Australia Publishing, Rev. ed., 1972, p. 137
2 The Carlton cable tram route (also known as Johnston Street Bridge) travelled via Lygon, Elgin and Johnston Streets and terminated at Abbotsford. The North Carlton route followed the Carlton route to Rathdowne Street, then travelled north to Park Street. Lygon Street north of Elgin Street was not part of the cable tram network.
3 The Advocate, 18 June 1887, p. 19
4 The Age, 25 April 1888, p. 5
5 The Age, 21 July 1890, p. 6
6 The Age, 20 July 1928, p. 15
7 The Argus, 27 April 1914, p. 11
8 The Age, 9 December 1890, p. 6
9 The Age, 7 July 1924, p. 10
10 The Age, 15 April 1919, p. 6
11 Yarra Trams Website
12 The Argus, 3 August 1936, p. 8
13 The Argus, 18 April 1939, p. 11
14 The Age, 16 May 2016
15 The Age, 13 July 2016
August 2016 marks the 80th anniversary of the last cable tram to run along Rathdowne Street, North Carlton. The North Carlton route from Elgin Street to Park Street, opened on 9 February 1889, was a relative latecomer to Melbourne's cable tram network. Melbourne commenced its first cable tram service to Richmond in 1885, and services along Nicholson Street to Park Street, and Carlton via Lygon and Elgin Streets were introduced on 30 August and 21 December 1887. Lygon Street north of Elgin Street was not part of the cable tram network and had to wait until October 1916 for an electric tram service. 1,2
The Perils of Tram Travel
Cable trams revolutionalised public transport and enabled large numbers of passengers to travel at an affordable cost. But, like any innovation, tram travel was not without its problems. Road users – people crossing the street, children at play, cyclists, hand carts and horse drawn vehicles – had to make way for a larger and more powerful beast. Inevitably, there were accidents, some fatal, and The Advocate reported in June 1887: "By tram accidents no less than six persons have lost their lives and twenty-three been injured in less than two years." 3
Carlton had its fair share of mishaps on the streets serviced by cable trams. Carlton's first tram fatality occurred on the evening of 24 April 1888, when a nine year old boy named Thomas Stewart was caught underneath a dummy car in Lygon Street. The boy, who lived with his parents in Union Place, Carlton, died soon after arrival at Melbourne Hospital. Children were, unfortunately, often casualties of tram accidents. Two young children playing in Lygon Street were injured in July 1890. They had moved out of the way to avoid an oncoming tram, but were hit by another travelling in the opposite direction. In October 1927, Victor Stobaus, aged seven years, had his foot badly crushed when it was caught under the wheel of a tram in Rathdowne Street near Newry Street. The foot was later amputated, but young Victor's disability not prevent him from becoming a talented footballer in the Melbourne Boys' League. Victor's father, Robert Stobaus, made an unsuccessful claim for £499 damages against the Tramways Board in the County Court in July 1928. 4,5,6
Saturday 25 April 1914 was a particularly bad day for tram accidents in Carlton. In the morning, Walter England, a clerk at the Carlton Court, fell from a moving tram on the corner of Lygon and Drummond streets, and was dragged some distance along the road. Mr. England suffered injuries to his ribs and hip and was admitted to the Melbourne Hospital for treatment. That afternoon, a more serious accident took place near the corner of Grattan and Lygon Streets. John Griffiths, a 26 year old tutor at the University High School, was crossing the road behind a north-bound tram when he was struck by another tram travelling towards the city. Mr. Griffiths was pinned beneath the dummy of the tram, which had to be lifted off the rails before he could be extricated. He was taken to the Melbourne Hospital, suffering from a compound fracture of the leg, extensive abrasions, and shock. 7
Tram passengers were also at risk in the old open-style tram cars. Sarah Dicker, a young woman who worked at Mrs Garland's fancy goods shop in Drummond Street, had a fainting fit and fell from a tram onto the road in Elgin Street in December 1890. She suffered head and facial injuries. Charles W. Jonah, aged 76, of Union Place, Carlton failed to heed the tram gripman's warning of "mind the curve" and fell from a tram as it turned the corner from Rathdown Street into Elgin Street in July 1924. Mr Jonah was admitted to hospital and discharged after treatment. 8,9
Of all the tram accidents reported, possibly the most tragic occurred in April 1919, while a tram car was being shunted at the sheds in Nicholson Street, North Fitzroy. Tram gripman Victor Cocking, who lived nearby in Canning Street, North Carlton, was entering Nicholson Street from Mary Street when he saw a child fall off the back of a dummy car. He rushed across Nicholson Street but he did not know, until he picked up the child's body, that it was his own son, John Cocking. The boy, aged six years, died later that evening in the Children's Hospital. 10
Cable trams had their heyday in the 19th century, but lasted only a few decades into the 20th century. The cable tram network was phased out from the 1920s through to 1940 in favour of electric trams, which promised a more efficient service and better carrying capacity. Lygon Street already had an electric tram service, dating back to 1916, north of Elgin Street. The Carlton, North Carlton and Nicholson Street cable tram routes were replaced with motor buses. When the North Carlton route closed on 2 August 1936, both the tram car and crew were besieged by souvenir hunters, seeking a piece of memorabilia. Three years later, when the Carlton route closed in April 1939, the Tramways Board foiled an alleged plot by hoodlums to seize the last tram and push it into the Yarra River. They had learnt from previous acts of vandalism and employed the simple strategy of substituting motor buses on the last night of service. Melbourne's last cable tram ride was from Bourke Street in the city to Northcote on the evening of 26 October 1940. Services via Nicholson Street to East Brunswick were later restored with electric trams in 1956. 11,12,13
Melbourne's electric tram network, one of the largest in the world, survived threats of closure in the mid-20th century and has continued to grow into the 21st century. The dangerous days when tram passengers travelled on running boards, or by hanging out of open doorways, have gone and many safety features have been incorporated into modern tram design. But accidents can still happen. In May 2016, a tram was derailed and crashed into a house in High Street, Kew, when a car travelling in the opposite direction strayed onto the tram tracks. Two months later in July 2016, a horse drawing a tourist carriage crashed its head through the driver's window of a tram in Swanston Street in the city. As expected, the horse came off second best to the larger and more powerful beast, but was not seriously injured. 14,15
Related Item: The Cable Trams of Rathdowne Street
Image: State Library of Victoria
Intercolonial Handball Match
Former Loughrea Hotel
75 Elgin Street Carlton
Side Wall of Former Handball Court
22 to 24 Macarthur Place Carlton
Notes and References:
1 Evening News, 3 December 1973, p. 2
2 The Age, 24 May 1869, p. 3
3 The Argus, 16 January 1874, p. 5
4 The Advocate, 17 January 1874, p. 9
5 The Argus, 20 January 1874, p. 4
6 The Argus, 23 January 1874, p. 5
7 The Age, 28 January, p. 3
8 The Tasmanian, 7 February 1874, p. 11
9 The Advocate, 18 December 1874, p. 15
10 The Argus, 1 March 1875, p. 5
11 The Age, 3 June 1882, p. 6
12 The Age, 24 October 1905, p. 10
13 Index to Defunct Hotel Licences (VPRS 8159)
14 Land title records
15 Building Application Index (Melbourne City Council)
In November 1873, Victoria issued a sporting challenge to New South Wales to play Australia's first intercolonial handball match. New South Wales accepted the challenge "for either money or honour" but, in the spirit of sportsmanship, they agreed to play for honour only. The New South Wales contingent favoured their home town of Sydney for the inaugral match during the Christmas holiday period. However, Victoria won the first round by declaring that Melbourne would be a popular sporting destination at that time, owing to the visit of the All England Eleven, and the New Year's racing. 1
For Money or Honour
With the city decided, a suitable playing venue had to be found. There was a handball court in King Street, Melbourne, but Carlton, just out of the city, offered an alternative venue. The Carlton handball court, at the rear of the Loughrea (Lough Rea) Hotel in Elgin Street and backing onto Macarthur Place, was built by publicans Peter Taylor and John Curtain. The court was opened officially in May 1869 and was well patronised for both handball and racquet games. As publican of the Loughrea Hotel, Mr Taylor was able to provide a ready supply of drinks to slake the thirst of players and spectators alike. He was also credited with fostering the sport of handball, introduced into Australia by Irish immigrants in the nineteenth century. 2
The first day of play took place on Thursday 15 January 1874 and was attended by a crowd of 250 enthusiastic spectators. Hot weather conditions were trying for both players and spectators, and The Argus commented: "The game is essentially a manly one, and no one with flaccid muscles or short wind can by any possibility ever hope to shine at it." Over the next three hours, the crowd was treated to a series of nine double-handed games, contested by brothers John and James Doyle for Victoria and Messrs. Dillon and Thompson for New South Wales. New South Wales was declared the winner in five out of the nine games, but it was noted that the Victorian players scored 141 points, to the New South Wales players' 137. On the second day of play, Mr Dillon, representing New South Wales, took on Victoria's James Doyle in a series of single-handed matches. Dillon triumphed and things were looking grim for Victoria. 3,4
The final day of play dawned on Monday 19 January 1874 and the Victorian team had one last chance to show their prowess in a series of three-handed games. Prior to the main event, the crowd was kept entertained by a scratch match featuring John Curtain, M.L.A, who "showed that he was no mean player." The atmosphere was electric as the players entered the court - the Doyle brothers and Mr McNamara for Victoria and Messrs. Thomson, Dillon and Gaffney for New South Wales. McNamara proved to be an asset for Victoria, while Gaffney was considered the weak point for New South Wales. Victoria succeeded in winning five games outright and was declared the winner. In the end, New South Wales won the overall competition, but Victoria won the day. 5
Intercolonial rivalry aside, the post-competition mood was good natured and the New South Wales players were treated to a dinner, courtesy of the Hon. Michael O'Grady, at the Manchester Unity Hall in Swanston Street. By special arrangement with John Curtain, M.L.A, and the Minister of Railways, the players were granted free rail travel on government lines within Victoria. On the day of their departure for Sydney via the steamer Wentworth, 27 January 1874, the players had a champagne luncheon and were driven to Sandridge (Port Melbourne) in a drag and pair of greys. The farewell party included John Curtain, members of the Victorian Intercolonial Committee and several of Victoria's leading handball players, all of whom wished the visitors bon voyage and looked forward to meeting them again next year. 6,7,8
In December 1874, while plans were being finalised for the return intercolonial handball match in Sydney, a telegram from Port Darwin announced the death of Peter Taylor. When the news was later relayed to the Carlton handball court, the matches scheduled for that day were cancelled and the court was closed as a mark of respect for the man who had done so much to establish handball as a permanent fixture on Melbourne's sporting calendar. In February 1875, the Victorian team won easily against New South Wales over three days of competition. No doubt Peter Taylor would have been proud of their achievement. 9,10
The intercolonial handball match became a regular sporting event, alternating between Melbourne and Sydney, through to the 1890s. As the sport's popularity increased, handball clubs cropped up in Melbourne suburbs and country towns. Carlton established its own handball club in June 1882, under the patronage of John Curtain. Curtain, co-founder of the Carlton handball court, died in 1905. 11,12
The Loughrea Hotel at 75 Elgin Street was delicensed in 1919 and this also marked the end of the Carlton handball court. The owner, Victoria Brewery Pty Ltd, had no further business interest in a hotel without a liquor licence and it was sold in 1920. The handball court was converted into a brick factory facing Macarthur Place, then subdivided from the old hotel site in 1950. In 1970, the factory building at 22 to 24 Macarthur Place was bought by architect John Mockridge and was granted a new lease of life. The brick factory was gutted, an extra storey was added and a new residence was built within the shell of the old building. The original brickwork has been uncovered in recent years and evidence of its earlier function can be seen from the Macarthur Street frontage and side laneway. 13,14,15
For more information on sport and recreation in Carlton, read our newsletter on sport and recreation in Carlton.
More information on John Curtain.
There are two poignant letters in the military record of Sergeant John Justin Leichardt Katterns. Correspondence is common in soldiers' files but it almost always comes from, or is addressed to, the military authorities. The Katterns' letters are unusual because one was written by the soldier to his mother while he was serving in Egypt in 1915, the other by his mother to a friend in Carlton.
Letters from the Great War
More information on Sergeant Katterns
Image source: CCHG
Former Confectionery Factory of S.T. Nunquam
413-415 Nicholson Street North Carlton
Notes and References:
1 Australian Architectural Index
2 Building occupancy information sourced from Sands & McDougall directory listings and Melbourne City Council rate books
3 Melbourne City Council building application plans and files, BA 2890, 1920 (VPRS 11200 and VPRS 11201)
4 Building ownership information sourced from land title records
5 Carlton, North Carlton & Princes Hill Conservation Study, 1984
6 Biographical information sourced from birth, death and marriage records
7 City of Yarra, Planning application no. 991221, 1999
For many decades, residents of North Carlton woke to the smell of peppermint emanating from a confectionery factory in Nicholson Street. The two-storey, red brick building on the corner of Newry Street was built by T.E. Mathews for Stanislav Techitch Nunquam, manufacturing confectioner, 100 years ago in 1916.1
The Smell of Peppermint in the Morning
Nunquam's factory was not the first manufacturing facility to operate at the corner site. Russell & Sons, manufacturing confectioners, were there from 1909, and Johnston Brothers, furniture manufacturers, prior to that date. The earlier building was described as "brick factory and stabling" in council rate books. There were two cottages (nos. 417 and 419) on the northern boundary and these were later separately acquired for expansion of the business. In August 1920, a building application was lodged for a multitubular boiler and chimney stack, designed by C.S. Mears, a furnace builder of Tilson Street, Ascot Vale. The work was completed within two months, in the backyard of the cottage at 417 Nicholson Street.2,3
In 1955, when Stanislav Nunquam was 73 years old, ownership of the factory building and adjacent cottage (no. 417) was transferred from S.T. Nunquam Pty Ltd to Nunquam Pty Ltd. The change of business name can be seen in later photographs, with the lettering "S.T." painted out on the Nicholson Street façade. Stanislav died in 1966, aged 84 years, and his remains were cremated at Springvale Cemetery on 25 November 1966. His widow Nellie survived him by four years and died in Queensland in 1970.4,5,6
The confectionery business that bore Nunquam's name continued for another three decades. The second cottage (no. 419) was acquired by Nunquam Pty Ltd in 1978 and the company owned all the land between Newry Street and the laneway to the north. With the downturn in manufacturing in the 1990s, conversion of inner city factory buildings to residential apartments proved to be a lucrative business. The land was sold in 1999 and a planning application for construction of six warehouse dwellings was lodged with City of Yarra in September 1999. The cottages were demolished in 2000 and replaced with modern structures, but the external appearance of the brick factory building remained largely unchanged. The old copper pots have ceased boiling and the fine dusting of powdered sugar that was often seen on the upstairs window ledge has long since gone. The tall chimney, built in 1920, remains as a visual memory of North Carlton's industrial history.
More information on Stanislav Techitch Nunquam, the man whose surname means "never".
Kathleen Syme Library and Community Centre
251 Faraday Street Carlton
It might seem strange to find a story about a travel diary written by a Russian in 1903 on a Carlton local history website. However, it sheds light on a small part of our history. The travel diary of 34 year old Aleksandr Leonidovich Yashchenko records the impressions of a Russian educationist and natural scientist who visited Australia for 3 months in 1903. He landed in Fremantle on the 2nd of July 1903 and sailed for Canada in October of that year. He visited places in Western Australia, South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland and travelled by coach, train and tram, and ferry on the Murray River, as well as on foot.
A Russian Visitor
Aleksandr Leonidovich Yashchenko
The main objects of his attention were the provision of education, the native flora and fauna, and the indigenous people with whom he spent some time observing football, spear and boomerang throwing and other aboriginal displays. He met local dignitaries, like Frank Tate, the Director of Education, John Smyth, the Principal of Melbourne Teachers' College, the Russian Consul, Mikhaylovich Ustinov, various Protectors of Aborigines, as well as numbers of people who were born, or had made their home in Australia, as well as local indigenous people and those whose job was to protect them. He was generally very well received.
The whole diary is available in the Special Collections section of the Baillieu Library at Melbourne University and makes interesting reading. This short piece centres on part of Yashchenko's visit to Melbourne, time spent at what appears to be the Faraday Street School (SS 112) in Carlton, the home of the first practising school in 1880 and associated with every branch of teacher training until its closure in December 1972.
More information on Yashchenko's travel diary
At a time when the nation's biggest convenience store chain is being cast as 'rorting wages of its workers' it is worth noting that the history of one of the world's earliest trade union buildings is in Carlton, on the fringe of the central city, originally solely financed and built by the workers to serve as a place for the labour movement. This article centres on the role of the Trades Hall in Carlton and its connection with the fight for regulated working conditions, particularly the Eight Hour Day. It was originally built in timber, after a successful union campaign in 1856, and was largely replaced by a two storey building with an imposing classical façade, bluestone foundations and brick walls with a cement render finish in the 1870s.
The Trades Hall
Part of Our History
More information on Trades Hall and the Eight Hour Day
Often we think of the World War 1 serviceman as young, single and eager for adventure. But many did not fit this stereotype. Read the story of John Lelean Cope, 48 years old, who left behind his wife and adult daughters in "The Manse" in Princes Street, North Carlton when he sailed for Gallipoli late in 1915.
A Chaplain at War
As we currently commemorate Australia's participation in wars, we need to see what role women played. Women are part of all societies, but when those societies are under stress the roles that women traditionally play can be either reinforced, questioned or even changed, temporarily or forever, and undoubtedly a state of war places a society under stress. So what happens in one town or suburb can be replicated in another. Both of the women cited as case studies in this article had some connection with Carlton and are therefore important to CCHG, but both also made significant contributions to many areas of Victoria.
Women and War : Two Case Studies
Lygon Court lies in the heart of Carlton's restaurant and shopping precinct - the place to meet for coffee & cake at Brunetti, see a movie at the Nova or do the weekly supermarket shopping at Woolies. The shopping centre, which occupies a block between Lygon and Drummond streets, was built in the 1980s, amidst protests about the loss of heritage buildings and inevitable change to Carlton's character. The Drummond Street frontage was once home to Freeman's Livery Stables and the Paramount Pram Factory, which in turn gave its name "The Pram Factory" to an innovative theatre group that later occupied the site.
Horses, Prams and Plays
Horses, prams and plays make an interesting combination. Read the story here.
Magnificent men in Flying Machines
Digital Image: State Library of Victoria
Artist's Impression of Queen's Coffee Palace
Corner of Rathdowne and Victoria Streets Carlton
In August 2015 CCHG received a request for help in tracing the provenance of an 1827 French edition of the New Testament. An inscription on the inner cover suggests that it was acquired by Otto Jung in 1852. Inside the book, where presumably it has been for a century, is a used and opened envelope posted from Lorne and sent to Otto Jung at 1 Rathdown Street, Carlton. This was the address of the very grand Queen's Coffee Palace, begun in 1888 but because of the financial collapse never finished as intended. On the back of the envelope is a message in French, dated 1915. Not all of it is legible but the gist is very clear. Jung is making a gift of the book to "my beloved Paggie ... the only one in the Laver families (except her brother Lol) to have studied French" and recommends that she and her brother should read it from time to time.
Otto Jung's Bible
German-born Otto Jung arrived in Victoria in 1853 as a young man of 23 - presumably his French New Testament, acquired in the previous year, travelled with him. He settled in Castlemaine where he became a close friend of the Laver family, who were farmers at Chinaman's Creek. When Jonas Laver died in 1880 leaving a family of seven sons, Jung, now a wealthy man, took the younger boys under his wing. William Adolphus, the fourth son, was a talented violinist and when a visiting German musician heard him play as a teenager he offered him training in Europe. In 1883 William and his mother Mary Ann travelled to Frankfurt with her two youngest boys. It is thought that Otto Jung accompanied them. In 1885 or 1886 Mary Ann died, but with Jung's support the three young Lavers stayed on. One son, Rudolph, remained permanently in Germany but in 1893 Jung continued his support for this family by helping the youngest boy, Ralph, establish a successful preserving factory in Collingwood.
William returned in 1889 in order to lobby for appointment to the Chair of Music, about to be set up at the University of Melbourne. He was not successful but became a private piano teacher and in 1895 oversaw the establishment of the Melbourne University Conservatorium of Music, initially located in the Queen's Coffee Palace. Otto Jung paid the rent for the first term. William married in 1894 and four children were born over the next five years. Lol (Laurence Otto) was the oldest and Paggie (Violet Agnes) the only daughter. Jung may already have been living at the Coffee Palace in 1895. Certainly it is his address on the electoral rolls from 1903 onwards. When he wrote his note to Paggie in 1915 she was 19 years old, Lol was 20 and their father's long-time supporter was 85. In the same year William Adolphus Laver achieved his ambition and became the third Ormond Professor of Music at the University of Melbourne. Otto Jung died in 1916. An interesting detail is that death notices in the Age and Argus recorded only his name, age and residence in the "Queen's Buildings". There is no reference to the Laver family to whom he had been so good a friend over so many years, or to anyone else.
Have you seen our latest publications?
Visit the publications page for more information.