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.
Have you seen our latest publication? Carlton Voices is an edited and illustrated collection of stories which reflect the immense diversity of our local history. It consists of researched articles as well as reports of interviews with people from a wide range of ages and ethnic backgrounds. Each "voice" describes its own Carlton in colourful detail. A Chinese family whose patriarch arrived here in 1855 experienced decades of discrimination which continued into World War 2. A woman who lives next door to the house where she was born almost 95 years ago remembers tearing up newspaper to use in the lavatory in the days when toilet paper was a luxury. The heyday of Italian Carlton is recalled by the children of the charismatic founder of the Australian Festival of Italian song.
Available for $15 (plus postage if applicable) from the Carlton Library and Alice's Bookshop in Rathdowne Street, North Carlton, and by mail order from CCHG. Visit the publications page for more information.
Date: Tuesday 7 May Time: 7.30 pm Location: First Floor Meeting Room
667 Rathdowne Street
North Carlton Vic 3054
The full schedule of meetings is available on the meetings page.
Australian Heritage Festival 2019
Melbourne General Cemetery Walk
Join Jeff Atkinson, a local historian and author, and tour through the historic Melbourne Cemetery to learn about some of the fascinating and notorious characters buried there. This walk is very popular so please register online in advance to ensure you have a place.
This walk is part of the Australian Heritage Festival, and organised in cooperation with the Carlton Community History Group.
Date: Saturday 27 April 2019 Time: 10 am to 12 noon Cost: $10 Location: Meet at Princes Hill Community Centre, 5 Bagung Lane, Princes Hill Bookings: Fully Booked More Information: Visit the Princes Hill Community Centre website or telephone 9387 7740.
South Carlton Walk
Walk through the historic and interesting streets of South Carlton to find remnants of the 1860s before the era of the cast-iron terraces, and learn something of Carlton's most notorious crimes, notable migrants, and more recent public controversies.
This walk is part of the Australian Heritage Festival, and organised in cooperation with the Carlton Community History Group.
Date: Saturday 18 May 2018 Time: 10 am to 12 noon Cost: $10 Location: Meet at Church of All Nations, corner Palmerston and Drummond Street, Carlton Bookings: Fully Booked More Information: Visit the Princes Hill Community Centre website or telephone 9387 7740.
The CCHG walks are fully booked, but you may be interested in the following Australian Heritage Festival events from associated organisations:
Amess Street and Churchill Island
Dr E. Rebecca Sanders, an historian who completed her PhD on the history of Churchill Island, will give an engaging and interesting talk on the History of Churchill Island and its prominent place in Victoria's Settlement.
Sunday 28 April 2019, 2.00 pm – 4.00 pm
Upstairs at Princes Hill Community Centre, 5 Bagung Lane, Princes Hill
$5.00 Registration Fee
Registration via Princes Hill Community Centre
History of the Flagstaff Gardens
Hear RHSV tour guide Chris Manchee share some of the fascinating history, mystery and insights into the Flagstaff Gardens. Delivered in partnership with the Richmond & Burnley Historical Society.
Sunday 28 April 2.30 pm – 3.30 pm
Richmond Library, 415 Church Street, Richmond
Bookings via Eventbrite
An Orcadian in Carlton
In 1852 a young woman from Westray, in the Orkney Islands of Scotland, made a life-changing decision to migrate to Australia. As Phoebe Papley lay on her bunk in the bowels of the plague ship Ticonderago, listening to the cries of children and the incoherent babbling of the dying, she must have wondered why she had taken this step that could end her young life. Many passengers died during the three month voyage and were buried at sea, along with their hopes and dreams. But the Orcadians – the people of the Orkney Islands – are known for their enduring spirit of survival. Phoebe survived and she went on to make a new life for herself and her family in Australia.
Read Phoebe's story and find out about her connections with the "Monster" petition of 1891, and a neolithic figure discovered in 2009.
Corner of Amess and Richardson Streets, North Carlton
Note: MMBW detail plans are available online at the State Library of Victoria's website.
In the days before the advent of electricity, the streets of Carlton were illuminated with gas lighting. There were gas lamps on many street corners and several examples still remain, as truncated lamp post bases. The Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works (MMBW) detail plans, drawn up in the late 19th and early 20th century, include codes showing the location of gas lamps (G.L.) and electric light posts (E.L.P.). The two methods of illumination co-existed for a time, but electric lighting eventually took over and the gas lamps were decommissioned. The upper portions of the lamp posts were removed, leaving the decorative bases.
There are gas lamp bases at the following locations:
- Corner of Canning and Fenwick Streets, North Carlton ;
- Corner of Canning and O'Grady Streets, North Carlton ;
- Corner of Nicholson and Pigdon Streets, North Carlton ;
- Corner of Amess and Richardson Streets, North Carlton ;
- Corner of Lygon Street and Argyle Place, Carlton.
Corner of Nicholson and Pigdon Streets, North Carlton
The lamp post was made by "D. Niven and Co., Iron Founders, Collingwood"
Romance with a Revolver
Love makes the world go round, but for Gwendoline Bate the amorous attentions of her "dearest Romeo" turned her world upside down. In April 1906, she applied to the Carlton Court for a warrant to arrest Romeo Truda (Trudo), an Italian musician, for threatening her life.
A ROMEO OF TO-DAY
ROMANCE WITH A REVOLVER
A young woman of prepossessing appearance attended at the Carlton court yesterday, and applied to Messrs. Edwards and Goldspink, J's.P., for a warrant for the arrest of Romeo Truda, an Italian musician for threatening her life. She stated that her name was Gwendoline Francis [sic] Bate and that she lived in Barkly-street. Truda had, she said, threatened her life on several occasions. She had known him for nine months, and he wanted to force her into marrying him against her will. On the previous night and the night before that he broke windows in the house where she was residing. He said, "Sooner than see another man marry you I'll shoot you dead." She was certain he would carry out his threat if he got the chance. He carried a six-chambered revolver about with him, and was in the habit of getting very excited. About a fortnight ago he pulled it out, and pointed it at her head. On the previous night she heard him [at] the house, but kept in the background. He said he would break every window in the house and shoot everyone he found. She did not think he was right in his mind, and was afraid to venture out.
Susan Beamish stated that she lived the house with her mother. She had known Truda for ten months, but had refused to let him into the house during the past four weeks. The complainant had taken the revolver from him twice, a witness had locked it up. She heard Truda threaten complainant. He said would treat her worse than Jack the Ripper treated his victims; that he would cut her from the head down, and across her body. On the previous night he smashed the front stained-glass window, causing damage to the extent of £2, and she proposed to summon him for damaging property and abusive language. He said he would bring all the blackfellows in Melbourne to get the girl out of the house and that when he got hold of her he would finish her. He walked the verandah for two hours, at times wringing his hands and flourishing his walking stick. The bench granted a warrant for the arrest of Truda on the charge of using threatening words.
The Age, 19 April 1906, p. 4.
To find out how the tale of Romeo and Gwendoline ends, go to the Carlton in the News page.
The Name of the Prince
North Carlton has three princely locations - Princes Hill, Princes Park and Princes Street. CCHG has recently been asked to research the naming of Princes Hill, the area north of Macpherson Street and west of Lygon Street. Our investigations have turned up several contenders for naming rights, all members of British royal family from the nineteenth century.
The online Encylopedia of Melbourne attributes the naming of both Princes Park and Princes Hill to Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, the consort of Queen Victoria. Only one reference is cited - Prinny Hill : The State Schools of Princes Hill 1889-1989 - and this book, in turn, gives a different interpretation.1
Prinny Hill attributes the naming of both Princes Park and Princes Hill to Prince Alfred, the Duke of Edinburgh and son of Queen Victoria. Prince Alfred came to Victoria in November 1867 and is claimed to have visited the area that became Princes Hill, but was this location the same as Princes Hill the suburb? There are several newspaper references to "Prince's Hill" and "Princess Hill" dating back the 1860s and one published in 1867, the same year as Prince Alfred's visit, refers to "… the waste ground adjacent to Prince's-bridge, lying between the river bank and the Prince's-hill reserve ..." This reference, and others from 1861, place "Prince's Hill" in the vicinity of the Yarra River and Prince's Bridge, for which it most likely named. (Prince's Bridge, which opened in 1850, was named after Albert, the Prince of Wales.) 2,3,4,5,6,7
Prince Alfred's royal visit does not fit within the time fame for Princes Park. The area named as "Prince's Park" appeared on the Kearney map of 1855 and the land was permanently reserved in August 1864, three years before Prince Alfred's visit. So Prince Alfred is no longer a contender for the naming of Princes Park, but he could still be in the running for Princes Hill.
Prince Albert Victor and Prince George of Wales
Prince Albert Victor and Prince George of Wales visited Victoria in June and July of 1881. They were Queen Victoria's grandchildren, and sons of Albert Edward, the Prince of Wales and heir to the throne. Albert Victor died in 1892, and his younger brother George was later crowned King George V, following the death of their father King Edward VII. The timing of their visit pre-dates the naming of Princes Hill by at least two years, and post-dates the renaming of Reilly Street to Princes Street. Timewise, the two princes could be contenders for the naming of Princes Hill, but they miss out on Princes Street.8
Albert Edward, Prince of Wales
Wikipedia gives an unreferenced statement that Princes Hill was named after the Prince of Wales. During Queen Victoria's reign, her eldest son Albert Edward was Prince of Wales and he became King Edward VII following her death in 1901. Also according to Wikipedia, Prince's Park in Liverpool, England, was named after the Albert Edward (born in 1841) when it opened in 1842. It is possible that Prince's Park (and hence the suburb of Princes Hill) was named after the Prince of Wales but, in the absence of any documentary evidence, this is pure speculation.9
Princes Park and Princes Hill
The area named Princes Park appears on the Kearney map of 1855 and in 1856 The Argus describes the park as:
"… another fine piece of thickly-wooded land, separated from the former [Royal Park] by the Sydney road which, from the commencement of the parks to the Brunswick turnpike, runs between an avenue of splendid trees. This park extends on the other side to the Merri Creek and quarries. The availability of this park is impaired by its being open from the Sydney road, and traversed in all directions by cart-tracks."10
Digitised Image: State Library of Victoria
Portion of the Kearney Map of 1855
Showing location of Prince's Park, the Cemetery, the Stockade Reserve and Smith Ward.
Reilly Street (lower right hand corner) was later extended into Carlton and renamed Princes Street, circa 1880.
By the time the land was permanently reserved in August 1864, Prince's Park had been reduced to 84 acres, between Sydney Road to the west and the Cemetery and Princes Park Road on the east. The loss of parkland to the east and north of the cemetery was most likely done with a view to releasing crown land for future residential development. This happened in November 1869, when the new Victoria Ward was created from the northern portion of the existing Smith Ward. Crown land on the east side of Lygon Street north of Reilly Street was first released in 1870, and the area immediately north of the cemetery, which later became Princes Hill, in 1875.11,12,13
In July 1883, The Age and The Argus reported that a deputation of residents approached the Mayor of Melbourne requesting the area behind the cemetery to be named Prince's Hill. The proposal was positively received, as it did not involve the renaming of existing streets, and the seed of Prince's Hill as a suburb was planted.
PROPOSED PRINCE'S-HILL SUBURB.
An influential deputation of residents of North Carlton, accompanied by Crs. Richardson, Leonard and Alderman O'Grady, waited upon the Mayor of Melbourne, at the Town Hall, yesterday, to request that that part of North Carlton, at the back of the General Cemetery, should be definitely named. Mr. Gardiner, M.L.A., was also present. It was pointed out that the designation, "at the back of the cemetery," was not agreeable to the ratepayers, and they asked that the locality should be named Prince's-hill. Mr. Dodgshun, in reply, said that if the deputation would forward to him their wishes in writing it would be brought before the City Council at its next meeting, when, as the names of the streets would not be interfered with, he had no doubt the wishes of the deputation would be granted.14,15
The phrase "should be definitely named" is interesting and suggests that the name Prince's Hill may already have been in informal use prior to the deputation, and Council approval was a foregone conclusion. The proposal was considered at a Council meeting on 23 July 1883 and referred to the Public Works Committee. By October 1883, the name Prince's Hill began to appear in Council minutes and in real estate advertisements, as distinct from the suburb of North Carlton. Both suburbs remained within Victoria ward. The apostrophe was later dropped from the names of both Prince's Park and Prince's Hill, probably for the convenience of signwriters and typesetters. However, the misnomer "Princess Hill", which sometimes appeared in newspapers in the early days, still persists today.16,17
The question of which prince gave his name to a suburb thousands of miles away from his home country is still open. Princes Hill has close historical and geographical links with Princes Park, as the area north of the cemetery was once part of the same park. The suburb may well have been named after Princes Park, in which case Prince Albert and his son Albert Edward could be rivals for the naming rights. Prince Alfred's visit of 1867 does not fit into the time frame for the naming of either Princes Park or Princes Hill. The younger Princes - Albert Victor and George - may have some claim to the naming of Princes Hill (but not Princes Park) in terms of the timing of their visit in 1881.
None of these claims is supported by firm documentary evidence and CCHG is seeking your help. Contact us if you can shed any light on the naming of Princes Hill.
Notes and References
1 Brian Carroll. Princes Hill, Encylopedia of Melbourne
2 Nicholas Vlahogiannis. Prinny Hill : The State Schools of Princes Hill 1889-1989, p. 5
3 The Age, 30 November 1867, p. 5
4 The Argus, 6 March 1867, p. 4
5 The Herald, 29 October 1861, p. 6
6 The Argus, 3 December 1861, p. 6
7 Port Phillip Gazette and Settler's Journal, 21 March 1846, p. 2
8 Melbourne and its suburbs, 1855 (Kearney map)
9 Victoria Government Gazette, no. 77, 2 August 1864, p. 1670
10 The Argus, 25 June 1881, p. 8
11 Wikipedia is a wonderful resource, but the information content is variable in accuracy and subject to revision. The entries for Princes Hill and Prince's Park (Liverpool) were accessed 5 March 2019.
12 The Argus, 8 February 1856, p. 4
13 Victoria Government Gazette (see note 5 above)
14 Victoria Government Gazette, no. 61, 5 November 1869, p. 1767
15 Parish Plan of Jika Jika, M314 (14) and land title records.
16 The Age, 12 July 1883, p. 7
17 Minute Books of Council Meetings, 1883, p. 509 and 568 (VPRS 8910)
For more information on place and house names in Carlton, go to the Names page.
Melbourne General Cemetery
The Melbourne General Cemetery has in the past been embroiled in controversy, scandals and criminal activity. Since its first burial in May 1853, the cemetery has seen interments of people from all walks of life, from prime ministers and prominent citizens through to paupers in common graves. The cemetery was originally designed by Albert Purchas in the manner of a public park, with trees, shrubs and open space, and was the first of its kind in Victoria (possibly also in Australia). As originally envisaged, the cemetery was an attractive place for passive recreation and peaceful contemplation. But the management of the cemetery has not always been peaceful.
In our latest newsletter, CCHG takes a look at the Melbourne General Cemetery and its interesting, sometimes scandalous, history. This newsletter was written by CCHG President Jeff Atkinson, who also conducts the very popular cemetery tours, organised jointly by the Princes Hill Community Centre and CCHG.
Open this link to view the newsletter.
Another Business Closes in Rathdowne Street
The Feathered Arbour
430 Rathdowne Street, North Carlton
The Feathered Arbour has closed in February 2019, with the expiry of the lease at its business premises. The building at 430 Rathdowne Street, North Carlton, home to the Feathered Arbour for the past six years, was once owned by motor mechanic Martin Shelley, who also operated his business at 420 and 520-522 Rathdowne Street.
The End of an Era for Community Health in Carlton
622 and 624 Lygon Street, North Carlton
Former Home of Carlton Community Health Centre
The Carlton Community Health Centre closed in November 2018, bringing to an end 39 years of community service. The centre first opened its doors on 1 October 1979 in a pair of terrace houses at 622 and 624 Lygon Street, North Carlton, near Princes Street. During the intervening years, the health centre has seen changes in the demography of its client base and the delivery of services, within the broader context of administrative, political and social changes. North Carlton was originally part of the City of Melbourne, but the reorganisation of municipal boundaries in the 1990s saw the service transferred to City of Yarra. The Carlton, Collingwood and Fitzroy Community Centres amalgamated as North Yarra Community Health (NYCH) in 1994.
As with many enforced amalgamations, the three centres did not always work together in harmony, and Carlton had its own problems with administration and internal politics. Missionaries, Radicals, Feminists, written by Hamish Townsend and published in 2012, gives a lively account of North Yarra Community Health's sometimes turbulent history. The book is available at Carlton, Collingwood and Fitzroy libraries. You can also view an e-copy at:
Our Daily Bread
Image: Courtesy of Owens Family
Bread delivery carts outside Owens &Dixon Bakery in Victoria Street, Carlton.
Dale bread was baked on the premises in 1929.
Have you ever wondered what went into a loaf of bread in the good old days before food labelling? In the 19th century, bakers had a list of permitted ingredients to choose from, as defined by the Bakers and Millers Statute of 1865.1
"All bread made for sale or sold or exposed for sale within Victoria shall be made of pure and sound flour or meal of wheat, barley, rye, oats, buckwheat, Indian corn, peas, beans, rice, or potatoes or any of them and with any common salt, pure water, eggs, milk, barm leaven, potato or other yeast and mixed in such proportions as may be thought fit, and with no other ingredient or matter whatsoever."
But not all bread was as wholesome as prescribed by the Statute. The aluminium compound "alum" was sometimes added to bread flour as a bleaching and bulking agent. The practice was illegal in Victoria and in 1871 five Carlton bakers were fined for selling bread adulterated with alum. Those fined accounted for about one third of the bakers operating in Carlton at the time.2
In 1891 Curt Frederick Reinhold Urban, a Prussian migrant baker of 352 Drummond Street, Carlton, applied for registration of a patent for "An improved manufacture of malted bread".3
LATEST NEWS in the BREAD Line.
No more Complaints of Indigestion after Eating
URBAN'S PATENTED MALTED BREAD:
What causes the indigestibility of bread is the starchy matter therein. By using malt-or better Diastase of Malt-this starchy matter is changed into a substance which saves our stomach a lot of hard work by rendering it easily digestible for those suffering from an impaired digestion. The process adopted in the manufacture of this Malted Bread answers to perfection, as following analysts shows :"The analysis of Urban's Malted Bread is as follows :-Water, 29.70; fat, 0.70; carbohydrates and gluten, 68.08; ash, consisting of phosphate of lime, magnesia and salt 1.52-100.00. C. R. Blackett, Government Analyst." Keeping a week. Delivered daily. Critiques sent on application. Sole manufacturer and patentee, C. Urban, 352 Drummond St., Carlton.
At the time, the link between the protein gluten and coeliac disease was yet to be discovered, and the starch component of bread was thought to cause digestive problems. People on gluten free or lo-carb diets would be horrified to know that Urban's malted bread contained 68.08% carbohydrates and gluten.
During the depression years many families were struggling to feed their children and in 1929 Dr John Dale, Medical Health Officer for the City of Melbourne, devised a bread recipe to ensure adequate nutrition for school lunches. The so-called "Dale bread" was baked by Owens & Dixon of Victoria Street, Carlton, and distributed locally and to regional areas in Victoria and southern New South Wales. The key ingredients were skim milk powder and wholemeal flour, in the proportions of 3½ ounces (approximately 99 grams) of milk powder to a pound (approximately 454 grams) of flour. Otto Henry Tuck, of the Universal Bakery in Grattan Street, Carlton, came up with a new version of starch reduced bread in 1936.4,5
BAKER AND PASTRYCOOK MANUFACTURER OF
The Famous NEW ERA Starch Reduced Bread
Highly nutritious, perfect in flavor, easily digested. New Era Bread is a fine source of energy and vitality.
It is one of the best and most economical foods that money can buy.
O.H. TUCK, UNIVERSAL BAKERY
20-26 Grattan Street, Carlton.
Unexpected additives sometimes found their way into a loaf of bread. In 1945, Otto Henry Tuck was charged with selling unwholesome bread that was infested with weevils. The whole consignment was withdrawn from sale and the weevil infestation was traced back to a flour sifting machine, and unhygienic conditions in the bakery. A few years later in 1951, a flour bag label was found inside a half-loaf of bread from Powers Bakery in Rathdowne Street, North Carlton. The cardboard label had somehow survived the baking process and was discovered by a customer when she sliced the loaf.6,7
Notes and References:
1 Victoria. Bakers and Millers Statute (No. CCXLIII of 1865, Section 3)
2 Weekly Times, 7 October 1871, p. 12
3 Oakleigh Leader, 12 December 1891, p. 5
4 The Herald, 16 July 1929, p. 4
5 The Herald, 4 November 1936, p. 39
6 The Herald, 13 November 1945, p. 8
7 The Herald, 19 February 1951, p. 5
For more information on bakeries in Carlton, read our November 2018 newsletter.
Farewell to Mangala
Image: Courtesy of Mangiamele Family
Dorotea Mangiamele at Mangala
The atmosphere at the recent annual production by the Mangala Studios of Yoga and Creative Dance was reassuringly familiar. The theatre was packed with family supporters looking forward to another evening of quirky entertainment. Paper lanterns were laid out in the foyer for the usual just-after-dark walk through adjacent parkland. Peter Hockey was at the microphone, ready to narrate the storyline which would draw together the dances of a wide range of age groups. The youngest dancers were still at that age where they couldn't resist the temptation to rush to the edge of the stage and peer into the audience, looking for their parents so that they could wave to them. The oldest performers, some of them 19 or 20, took an altogether cooler approach, as one would expect of veterans of, in some cases, ten such productions. But the familiarity fell away when the performance finished and Peter announced that it had been the 37th - and the last. After almost 50 years at the corner of Grattan and Lygon Streets, Mangala is leaving Carlton and restructuring. Parking and traffic problems are part of the reason. Sadly, this move comes at the same time as the loss of another local institution, the Lygon Food Store, just a few minutes away.
The success of this dance studio over so many years with students of all ages can be ascribed to its very relaxed approach. Yoga forms an integral part of the program for older students and the emphasis is on individual responses to music, not on the learning of rigid routines. No pointe shoes here! Everyone dances bare-footed. Today the studio is run by Peter and Sue Hockey and Claudia Mangiamele. Peter also offers tuition in Tai Chi. The women, now in their sixties, are daughters of Dorotea Mangiamele, who founded the school in 1970, and have been involved with it since they were teenagers. They have another important link to Carlton. Their father was Giorgio Mangiamele, a popular family photographer for Italian families in the 1960s and 1970s, but more importantly director of a number of ground-breaking films dealing with the experience of Italian migrants. The best known of these, Clay, was chosen to compete at the Cannes film festival in 1965.
Related Item: The Side Window
Vale Frank Del Monaco
20 June 1943 – 2 September 2018
Image: Courtesy of Del Monaco Family
The Del Monaco name is one long associated with the family clothing business begun in 1938, on the corner of Faraday and Lygon Streets, Carlton. The family name features, for instance, in the book Carlton: A History (ed. P. Yule), where the family also played a role in the establishment of the iconic La Mama Theatre, set up in the building behind the Del Monaco shop.
Frank worked for many years in the family business, and was heavily involved in local business and Italian community activities, remaining passionate about the history of Lygon Street, even after the end of the family business. He was a regular at CCHG meetings from its beginnings in 2006-07, until distance and poor health restricted him to occasional telephone contact with various members on topics that still engaged him.
He was devoted to his family, with his four brothers, and five chidren surviving him, having lost one son earlier.
Strangers on a Tram
Madge Connor was on her way home late one night in June 1918, taking the North Carlton tram, when she accidently dropped a bag of cakes she was carrying. A young man sitting nearby came to her assistance and picked up the bag. He seemed friendly, but the mood changed when he allegedly interfered with her clothing, pulling her skirt up to her knees. Madge slapped his face, then called for Constable Tucker, who happened to be on the same tram. If Henry Le Versha, 18 years old, was intent on an act of indecent assault, he had chosen the wrong target. Madge Connor was not only a policewoman, but also one of the first women to be appointed to the police force in Victoria.
To find out more about Madge Connor and her encounter with Henry Le Versha, go to Crime in Carlton
La Mama up in Flames
The Aftermath of the Fire
Carlton residents woke to the shocking news that La Mama Theatre in Faraday Street was gutted by fire in the early hours of Saturday 19 May 2018.
The innovative theatre was founded by Betty Burstall in 1967, in the style of La Mama in New York. The small two-storey building, once owned by the Del Monaco family, was a printing workshop, and an underwear and shirt factory before its transformation into an intimate theatre space. Betty Burstall, the "Mama" of La Mama, died in 2013.
In the theatre tradition of "the show must go on", Saturday night's performance of Bully Virus went ahead at the alternative venue of the Kathleen Syme Library & Community Centre, on the corner of Faraday and Cardigan Streets.
Related item: Betty Burstall 1926-2013
Bridget Kinsman (née Ballot), beauty therapist of Newry Street, North Carlton, lost her fight with cancer and died on 16 May 2018. She will be remembered as a gentle and caring soul, and will be sadly missed by her family, friends and clients. Bridget opened her salon Carlton Beauty Care in 1995, in a quaint two storey building on the corner of Newry and Henry Streets. Newry Street was not a prime location for a business, compared to the main shopping area of Rathdowne Street nearby, but it worked for Bridget. Word got around and her client base grew. She never had to advertise her services because the recommendation of a satisfied client was worth more than a thousand dollars of advertising. While other businesses came and went, Bridget's was one of the longest running to continuously occupy the building.
Bridget Kinsman (13 August 1968 - 16 May 2018) was farewelled at St Peter's Eastern Hill on 24 May 2018. CCHG extends its condolences to her husband Jeff and their two sons.
The shop at 119 Newry Street was built in 1881 by W. Hearndon. It has had a variety of uses over the years, including a fancy repository, tinsmith and bootmaker and repairer.
Fish is Back on the Menu
A new seafood business, The Fishmonger's Son, has opened at the former Canals shop in Nicholson Street, North Carlton in May 2018. The two-storey building at 703 Nicholson Street was auctioned in October 2017, following the retirement of John and Peter Canals. The Canals family 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 was 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 was greater than ever and the Canals brothers, John and Peter, chose to end on a high note and give themselves a well-earned break in retirement.
Notes and References:
Building occupancy information has been sourced from Sands and McDougall directories.
The Age, 28 September 2017
Little but Fierce
Shakespeare Street Mural
Have you see the new mural facing the mini park in Shakespeare Street, North Carlton? The text "Little but Fierce" is taken from William Shakespeare's play A Midsummer Night's Dream and was suggested by a local resident. The full wording is: "And though she be but little, she is fierce". That Shakespeare Street is "little" there is no doubt. The street is narrow and runs for one block only, between Drummond and Lygon Streets. For the "fierce" side of Shakespeare Street, we need to look back in history.
Shakespeare Street was the scene of at least two shooting incidents, one fatal, in 1922 and 1944. The street was identified as a "slum pocket" by the Housing Investigation and Slum Abolition Board in 1936-37. The people of Shakespeare Street had a battle on their hands in the 1950s and 1960s, when the Housing Commission of Victoria condemned five cottages on the south side (nos. 7 to 15 inclusive) as unfit for human habitation. The cottages were demolished in January 1970, leaving a vacant space ready for development. Without doubt, the fiercest battle fought in Shakespeare Street was in the 1970s, against the inappropriate building of a block of cluster flats on the south side of the street. Residents and other concerned citizens took action, at their own expense, by cleaning up the vacant site and creating a mini park for the benefit and enjoyment of the community. They bravely put their money where their mouth was, so to speak, and entered into an agreement with the City of Melbourne to buy the land. Decades later, the mini park and its new mural remain a tribute to the power of community action.
More information on Shakespeare Street
Shooting in Shakespeare Street
The Penny Dreadful
The Munster Arms
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 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.
A Girl in Trouble
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
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)
Play Area at Lincoln Square Carlton
Fun and Games at Lincoln Square
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.
Find out more about the history of this significant public space.
For more information on the squares of Carlton - Argyle, Curtain, Lincoln, Macarthur, Murchison and University - read our August 2018 newsletter.
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)
For Money or Honour
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
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.
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
The Smell of Peppermint in the Morning
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
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
A Russian Visitor
Aleksandr Leonidovich Yashchenko
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.
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
The Trades Hall
Part of Our History
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.
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
Women and War : Two Case Studies
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.
Digital Image: State Library of Victoria
Artist's Impression of Queen's Coffee Palace
Corner of Rathdowne and Victoria Streets Carlton
Otto Jung's Bible
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.
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.
Home | News | About Us | Recollections | Street Names | Small Streets of Carlton | Carlton in the News | Crime in Carlton | Travelling in Carlton | Carlton in the War | Rathdowne Street | Images of Carlton | Publications | Membership | Meetings | Contact Us | Links