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 1 May 2018 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.
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
8,000 Leeches for Dr Leach
In 1915 Dr J.A. Leach, of the Teachers' Training College in Grattan Street, Carlton, came up with an unusual scheme to relieve the suffering of patients in local hospitals and, at the same time, feed the starving people of Belgium. He set a target of 8,000 striped leeches to be collected by school children throughout Victoria. The timing of the collection in autumn was important to ensure an adequate supply of medicinal leeches over the winter months, when the slippery creatures were known to hibernate. The appropriately named Dr Leach offered to receive postal consignments of leeches at his address in Carlton and deliver them to the Melbourne Hospital, where a fee of 10 shillings per 100 would be paid. This money would go towards the Belgian Relief Fund.
To find out more about Dr Leach's appeal and his instructions on how to collect the leeches, go to the Carlton in the News page.
The Hangman's Tale
Thomas Walker was good at his job. Though despised by many, he performed an essential service and was the final link in the chain of criminal law enforcement. As the public, or common, hangman and flagellator, he had performed 18 executions and countless floggings during the nine years from 1884 to 1893. In his role as Hangman Jones, Thomas Walker had despatched prisoners who protested their innocence right until the end, those who admitted their guilt and accepted their fate, men who sought solace in their religious beliefs and those who stoically mounted the scaffold, or quaked at the sight of "the drop". He treated them all with the same attention and efficiency that his office demanded. But for all his skill and experience as a hangman, Walker had never executed a woman. Only one woman, Elizabeth Scott, had been judicially hanged in Victoria, for instigating the shooting death of her husband as he lay in a drunken stupor. That was in 1863 and, during the last three decades, women had killed their husbands or lovers, or even their own children, but judges were reluctant to pronounce the death sentence on a woman.
Now, in January 1894, Walker was tasked with the execution of Frances Knorr (also known as Frances Thwaites), a woman who had killed innocent babes. There were many people in the community strongly opposed to a woman being executed, regardless of her crime. Walker reported for duty as usual at the Melbourne Gaol on Saturday 6 January and went to his quarters, where he was to spend the days leading up to the execution. He was troubled in his mind and his private life was in turmoil. There was that business with the Conacher girl a few months ago, when his complaint of assault had been dismissed in the Carlton Court. His wife had left him for a time, amidst accusations of domestic violence, but she had come back to him again. Would she still be there when he went home after the execution? Would the voices inside his head fall silent? Walker locked the door, took off his coat and drank a swig of whiskey. Once he had made up his mind, he felt some sense of peace.
Read the story of Thomas Walker, the hangman who sent 18 prisoners to their deaths.
The Good Doctor
1942 - 2017
Dr Serge Liberman, medical general practitioner to a generation of people in Carlton, Brunswick and other inner suburbs, died on 22 December 2017. Here are thoughts and recollections from some of those for whom he was a treasured doctor, friend and writer.
Judith Biddington: There are many skilled doctors and writers in our community, but most don't have necessarily have skill in both areas. Serge Liberman did, he was a good doctor and a good and interesting writer. In addition, as a humanist and humanitarian, he had great people skills. No wonder people in Carlton followed him up to Brunswick when he moved from one suburb to the other, or flocked to his talks when he gave them. Serge had the capacity to involve you, as his patient, in what was happening to you, to explain, to answer all your questions honestly and sensibly, thereby treating you with respect. He always knew your history, even long term, over forty years for some members of our family. He was also very likeable and so many of his patients regarded him as a friend; even when they did not share his ethnicity they still enjoyed his writing and excellent scholarship. He would also have made an exceptional teacher. He will be sorely missed.
Anne Marie Lynzaat & Richard Trembath:
There are many stories I could tell about Serge Liberman who was our GP for decades. The one I shall tell comes from when he had retired, and it illustrates his compassion and empathy with his patients. About a year after he left the Lotus Medical Centre he read the death notice I had placed in the newspaper regarding my brother in law's death from pancreatic cancer. Anne Marie and I were both surprised and moved by the letter we received from Serge shortly afterwards. In it he expressed his best wishes and sympathy for our loss. He concluded with a typical dry joke that Anne Marie's unusual surname helped pick out the notice from all the others!
Shelley Marcus & Peter Tilley:
As patients of Serge Liberman in Carlton and Brunswick from the 1990's until his retirement in around 2013, my wife Shelley and I came greatly to appreciate his excellence and warmth as a GP but also his scholarly and literary interests. He was a late-20th-century version of Anton Pavlovich Chekhov, who was likewise a doctor and master of the short story. As a Russian-speaker and translator myself, I enjoyed our conversations on cultural matters during consultations. Serge received the Alan Marshall Literary Award in 1980 and 1981, and Shelley and I have an autographed copy of his 2011, 836-page magnum opus, 'The Bibliography of Australasian Judaica 1788-2008'. Serge will be much missed.
It is a rare privilege to have the wise counsel and empathy of the same doctor from the gawky edge of early adulthood until the wistful edge of retirement. I first went to the Lygon St clinic in the early 1970s with a throat complaint and soon found myself settling to see Serge whenever possible, following to new offices in Brunswick by the mid 1990s. The strictly physical complaints, increasing as I aged, he dealt with smoothly and competently, and I soon found I could also trust him to advise on matters of emotional health, with the same warm efficiency. I also discovered in his writings how deep his understanding of others could go, such as in his short story, published in The Age, of an elderly Italian widower readying to leave for Australia. Upon his retirement in 2013 I felt a door was closing on a large part of my life. Now I know it is shut for good. Addio Serge.
Serge Liberman was a popular doctor and you sometimes had to wait a while to see him, but he always gave you his full attention and care. One day I was sitting in the waiting room, suffering from what I thought was the world's worst cold, when I heard a terrible hacking cough coming from the consulting room. My symptoms were trivial by comparison with this patient, who sounded like they were at death's door. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that the "patient" was, in fact, Dr Liberman himself. He was obviously unwell, but he was still seeing a few patients before going home to rest. He wrote a certificate for my time off work and, with his characteristic humour, he pushed a blank form towards me and asked if I could write a certificate for him. I gave him the rest of the week off.
An obituary, with an overview of his life and work, appears in the Sydney Morning Herald.
As well as his medical work, Serge Liberman was a chronicler of Jewish, and also of other migrant lives, in Carlton and other parts of Melbourne, which came alive in his writings. Much of his writing output can be found at his website.
In December 2014 Serge Liberman gave a talk to the Carlton Community History Group entitled "Writing Jewish Carlton". A copy of the talk can be found on the Academia website.
Carlton's Forgotten Railway Line
Photo: Jeff Atkinson
Former North Carlton Railway Station
In a park in North Carlton sits a nineteenth century Neo-Gothic style building that looks remarkably like an old railway station, but is in fact in the middle of the park and nowhere near any railway line. The linear park in which it sits marks the route of the now defunct and long-forgotten Inner Circle railway line, and the building was once the North Carlton station on this suburban line. Built 130 years ago in 1888, the Inner Circle line ran from Royal Park station on the Upfield Line behind the Zoo, across the top of North Carlton and North Fitzroy, to Rushall station on the Epping line.
To find out more about Carlton's forgotten railway line, read our latest newsletter.
Related Item: Travelling in Carlton
The boutique Milly Sleeping closed in February 2018, after more than 12 years in Carlton. The business at 157 Elgin Street, a small two storey shop with a narrow staircase, began in 2005. Mother and daughter team of Janette and Leah Muddle have supported local designers and stocked an eclectic range of clothing and accessories. "Milly Sleeping" was not, as might be expected, named after the two resident cats, which were sometimes seen sleeping in the front window. It was named after a painting by Ernst Kirchner.
And So To Bed
Nearly 100 years ago, in September 1919, a very different style of business was transacted at 157 Elgin Street. Joseph Nolan, a hairdresser, appeared in Carlton Court on a charge of having used his premises for gaming purposes between 10 July and 1 September 1919. His was one of several local businesses raided by police and a search yielded the incriminating evidence of betting tickets and marked money. Nolan pleaded guilty and was fined £40, with £3 costs.
The Argus, 6 September 1919, p. 17
Two well known Carlton businesses - Dracula's Theatre Restaurant and Canals Seafood - shut 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 was on Saturday 23 December 2017.
Dracula's Last Bite
The Canals Have Gone Fishing
Canals Seafood, at 703 Nicholson Street, North Carlton, celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2017. 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 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. 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 a 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
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.
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.
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.
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.