Carlton Community History Group

ABN 89 670 391 357

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.


Carlton Voices

Carlton Voices

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.


Next Meeting

Date:Tuesday 3 September
Time:7.30 pm
Location: Meeting Room
Carlton Library
667 Rathdowne Street
North Carlton Vic 3054

The full schedule of meetings is available on the meetings page.                                          


The Stockade : Carlton's Forgotten Prison

In the mid-19th century there was a low security prison in what was then uninhabited bush, but which is now the suburb of North Carlton. The Lee Street Primary School now sits on this site. This illustrated talk by local historian Jeff Atkinson will tell the story of this prison and of the men who inhabited it – the prisoners, notorious warders and superintendents – and of the penal system in Victoria at the time of the gold rush.

Date:Sunday 22 September 2019
Time:2.00 to 4.00 pm
Cost:$10
Location:Downstairs Classroom, Princes Hill Community Centre
5 Bagung Lane, Princes Hill (rear 270 Macpherson Street)
More Information and Bookings:Email enquiries@princeshill.org.au or telephone 9387 7740.


Historic Walks

Princes Hill Heritage Walk

Join Local Historian Jeff Atkinson to walk and hear the history of iconic places such as Princes Park, the Carlton Football Ground and Melbourne General Cemetery. Listen to stories of past conflicts, and see fine examples of different architectural styles of the late 19th and early 20th century.

Date:Saturday 24 August 2019
Time:10 am to 12 noon
Cost:$10
Location:Meet at Princes Hill Community Centre, 5 Bagung Lane, Princes Hill (rear 270 Macpherson Street)
More Information and Bookings:Email enquiries@princeshill.org.au or telephone 9387 7740.


Victorian Grandeur History Walk
2019 Victorian Seniors Festival

Experience what are probably the best examples in Australia of the eloquent "boom era" architecture of the 19th century, in the generously designed streets of South Carlton – laid out in the 1850s by Robert Hoddle, who also designed the grid of Melbourne's central business district.

Date:Saturday 5 October 2019
Time:10 am to 12 noon
Cost:$10
Location:Starting point – On the the corner of Grattan and Drummond Streets, Carlton (Melways map 2B, G8)
More Information and Bookings:Email enquiries@princeshill.org.au. or telephone 9387 7740


Jewish & Italian Carlton Walk
2019 Victorian Seniors Festival

Walk through Carlton's historic streets with Jeff Atkinson, local historian and writer, to learn about the two communities that in the early and mid-twentieth century made Carlton one of Australia's first truly multicultural suburbs. Visit the sites of synagogues, churches and iconic businesses, hear stories of crimes and disputes and of those who prospered and struggled.

Date:Saturday 19 October 2019
Time:10 am to 12 noon
Cost:$10
Location:Starting point – Macarthur Square, near Rathdowne Street, Carlton (Melways map 2B, H7)
More Information and Bookings:Email enquiries@princeshill.org.au or telephone 9387 7740


Show and Tell

Do you have objects, photos or information relevant to Carlton in the past? Then put this date in your diary - Wednesday 9 October. On that day there will be a 'Show and Tell' session at the Kathleen Syme Library and Community Centre in Faraday Street, Carlton, where you can show what you have, and tell what you know, to local history experts. Watch this space for further details closer to the date.

This event is Organised by the Carlton Community History Group in conjunction with the Kathleen Syme Library and Community Centre.


Trades Hall

Trades Hall in Lygon Street is one of Carlton's and Melbourne's most historically important sites, being classified by the National Trust and included in the Register of Historic Buildings (Victoria). It is Australia's oldest and largest Trades Hall and a symbol of the importance of organised labour within Australian society in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Major campaigns and struggles that have had important ramifications for Australian society, such as the Anti Conscription Campaign of 1916-17, were run from there. Activities leading to the birth of the Australian Labor Party took place there, as did the first meeting of the Australian Council of Trade Unions in May 1927. Until 1968 Trades Hall was the headquarters of the Victorian branch of the Australian Labor Party.

For more information on this significant Carlton institution, read our latest newsletter.



Image Courtesy of The Age

Gas explosion in Princes Street, Carlton, near Station Street. The explosion site is notable for its lack of safety precautions - no hard hat or safety harness for the workman, and children are standing on the edge of the 20 feet deep hole to get a good view.

A Blast from the Past

On 25 September 1956, Carlton was rocked by an explosion described by a local resident as "like an atom bomb." In the 1950s, Australians were acutely aware of the power of atomic bombs. The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan in the closing days of World War 2 was still fresh in the minds of many returned service personnel, and the British government had conducted nuclear weapon test explosions in Australia. The explosion in Carlton involved a test of a different kind and, while the casualties were minor, the consequences could have been more serious.

Two small children had a remarkable escape from injury yesterday when a gas pipe exploded in Princess [sic] Street, Carlton, yesterday and dug a hole 20 feet deep in the footpath. The children, Carol Weares, 5, and Johnny Johnston, 4, of Neill Street, Carlton, were passing when the explosion occurred, but they escaped with shock. They were flung into the hole and were covered with mud.

The explosion occurred when compressed air forced through the pipes by Gas and Fuel Corporation workmen shattered the underground pipe. A sheet of flame leapt six feet high, mud was flung and covered the roadway for 60 feet. A flying piece of steel cut the overhead wires and brought one down. A 10-lb. [10 pound] rock put a huge dent in the roof of a passing car. The driver, Mr. Lindsay David Turner, of Westafolds, Templestowe, farmer, was driving home from the show.1

The explosion also made front page news in The Argus, which reported a list of casualties:

The children, who were treated at Royal Children's Hospital, were:
Carol Anne Weares, 5, of Neill St., Carlton, severe shock, minor facial acid burns, and scratches.
John Johnson, 4, of Neill St., severe shock and lacerations.
The motorist injured was Mr. Lindsay Turner, of Templestowe, treated on the spot for a bruised right arm.
2

In the 1950s, Neill Street was open to traffic at its eastern end and Princes Street was a narrower roadway. Neill Street was closed, at both the Nicholson Street and Rathdowne Street ends, in the 1980s to avoid a bottleneck of traffic feeding into Alexandra Parade and the eastern freeway. The land bounded by Princes, Station and Nicholson streets was acquired by the Roads Corporation in 1994 for road widening. 3,4

References:
1 The Age, 26 September 1956, p. 1
2 The Argus, 26 September 1956, p. 1
3 Victoria Government Gazette, 22 December 1982, p. 4188
4 Certificate of Title, Vol. 10172, Fol. 530



Image:CCHG
No Parking Sign in Canning Street, North Carlton


Image:CCHG
Iron Lacework, Cnr. Canning and Macpherson Streets, North Carlton

Keep off the Grass

This sign on the median strip in Canning Street, North Carlton, states quite clearly:

NO PARKING ON LAWN RESERVATION
OFFENDERS PROSECUTED

But are parking officers from Melbourne City Council likely to cross the municipal boundary of Princes Street to issue an infringement notice? The sign, bearing the Melbourne City Council's name and coat of arms, is a relic of times past, when Carlton, North Carlton and Princes Hill were all part of the same municipality. North Carlton and Princes Hill were hived off from Melbourne City Council and joined the newly-created City of Yarra in the 1990s.

There are plenty of other reminders of Melbourne City Council to be found in North Carlton and Princes Hill. The coat of arms appears on the green street bollards and in the iron lacework of many shopfront verandahs. The images of fleece, bull, whale and sailing ship date back to 1843, when wool, tallow and oil were the chief exports of the colony (then part of New South Wales).

Next time you go for a walk along Canning Street, have a look the bollards and compare the coat of arms images with those on the "no parking" sign. The whale and sailing ship images have been relocated to the lower half, while the bull has been moved up to join the fleece on the upper half. The change was made in 1970 in order to have the land-based and water-based images placed, logically, on their respective levels. Why didn't someone think of that back in 1843?1

Reference:
1 Melbourne Coat of Arms


A Carlton Cat Goes to Town

Cats are well known for their ability to find themselves a cosy spot on a cold winter's day. In August 1950, a Carlton cat decided that the spare wheel of Mr Matthews' car was a nice spot for a cat nap – until the car took off.

CAT WENT FOR RIDE

THIS all began when Mr Gorden [sic] Matthews, of Nicholson Street, Carlton, walked into The Herald office, and said he had driven around Melbourne for two hours with a cat sitting on the spare wheel under his station waggon. With newspapers spread on the roadway, photographer Bob Buchanan lay full length to get his picture. Photographer Laurie Richards, returning from another assignment, saw him and took this photograph.1 A City Council water truck driver switched off his sprays just in time to save a drenching. Buchanan peered, swivelled, and made encouraging noises … The cat wouldn't budge. Richards and Mr. Matthews got to work to lower the spare wheel. Mr Matthews stripped the thread; Richards skinned his knuckles. A woman in the crowd told another that she'd heard the men were removing an unexploded bomb.

Fifteen minutes later the spare wheel dropped. The cat looked out … a camera clicked … and the cat jumped, and raced up Flinders Street past The Herald loading dock. The photographers raced after him. At the last driveway the cat and an incoming Herald van jammed on their brakes. The cat veered and went for cover under a car, farther up the street. The photographers jockeyed for position. The cat moved east toward Spring Street, under cars … until Peter Hansford, a bystander, crawled underneath one car and made a grab. The cat dashed back down Flinders Street among the Herald vans. It bounded underneath one about to leave for Warragul and crouched down on the spare wheel, but Peter Hansford pulled him out.

The crowd cheered, the cat blinked, and Buchanan handed him to Mr Matthews and took the shot he'd set out to get nearly half an hour before. So the cat drove back in the station waggon to join other mouse-catching cats "on the payroll" of the factory at which Mr Matthews works – but this time on the front seat!

The Herald, 10 August 1950, p. 3
1 Note: Photographs of the cat's adventure in Flinders Street are included with this article.

To read more news stories of Carlton, go to the Carlton in the News page.


Turning on the Waterworks at Carlton Gardens


Image: Punch, 31 December 1857, p. 6

Notes and References:
1 Melbourne Water website
2 Yan Yean : A history of Melbourne's early water supply, Tony Dingle and Helen Doyle, PROV, 2003
3 The Age, 24 December 1857, p. 4
4 The Argus, 1 January 1858, p. 5
5 The Age, 1 January 1858, p. 4
6 The Age, 5 January 1858, p. 4
7 Plan of Allotments at Carlton, North Melbourne, Parish of Jika Jika, Public Lands Office, 1859
8 The Argus, 26 November 1858, p. 5
9 City West Water website

Water security is a global issue and in Melbourne we are fortunate to have good quality drinking water available on tap. In the early days, the city's water supply was precarious, particularly during the summer months. Rainwater had to be collected, bores were sunk and water was pumped and carted from the Yarra River and other water courses. As the town's population grew, so did the demand for water and the only long term solution was to construct a reservoir to hold water and convey it via a system of pipes to the city. Yan Yean, north east of Melbourne, was chosen as a suitable site, with water drawn from the Plenty River. Construction took place over four years, commencing in December 1853, and it was a major engineering project for its time. The cast iron water pipes from the reservoir were laid through bushland to the outskirts of Melbourne, then followed the course of what later became St Georges Road to join Nicholson Street near Yorke (later Lee) Street and thence to the Carlton Gardens. 1,2

In December 1857, when the suburb of Carlton was just a few years old and North Carlton was yet to be created, the main valve was installed at the Carlton Gardens in readiness for the official opening of the Yan Yean Waterworks. As the hot days of summer arrived, the citizens of Melbourne eagerly awaited their new water supply, as announced by The Age on Christmas Eve:

It is understood that Melbourne is to be treated to something like a miniature deluge on the occasion of the opening of the Yan Yean waterworks, on the 31st of December. Jets d'eau are to be placed at every corner of every principal street ; but the great torrent is to issue in the vicinity of Carlton Gardens, under the auspices of His Excellency The Governor. The Melbourne Total Abstinence Society are to celebrate the event by a grand procession through the city.

In the same edition of the newspaper, The Age made a "glass half empty" comment that the stand pipes, which had previously supplied water to parts of the city, were to be removed "to induce the owners of property to lay the water on to their houses". This, as claimed by the The Age, had led to water carriers doubling their price from three to six shillings a load, and the burden of cost would fall on tenants. The Age concluded: "As it is, the completion of the Yan Yean water works instead of being a boon will prove a very great source of annoyance to most of the inhabitants of Melbourne." 3

The last day of 1857 dawned and by noon an estimated crowd of 7,000 had gathered at the Carlton Gardens. The Governor of Victoria, Henry Barkly, was unable to attend due to disposition, and the honour of opening the main valve went to Major-General Macarthur, the Commander-in-Chief of Her Majesty's Forces in Australia. Other dignatories included Dr. Greeves, President of the Water and Sewerage Commission, Bishop James Palmer, Premier William Haines, Mayor Thomas Smith, Justice Redmond Barry and engineer Matthew Bullock Jackson, who superintended the whole scheme. 4

The Argus reported the occasion in matter-of-fact detail, while The Age, one again, took a "glass half empty" approach. The reporter complained about the lack of accommodation for the press, and the poor organisation of the event and crowd control of the procession that followed through the city:

Immediately on the arrival of the head of the procession at the crossing of Elizabeth street and Flinders street, a desperate attempt was made to get the congregating masses into some kind of order. Sweltering policemen pushed and shoved about until they became almost apoplectic, and the choleric Dr Greeves fought desperately for room to work the lever with which he set the jet d'eau in play. The worthy Doctor kicked and spluttered, and snapped, and at last, with the aid of a herculean policeman, encouraged by the bland smile of his Worship the Mayor, elbow room was procured, and the jet d'eau was squirted into a carriage filled with ladies, who in their innocent confidence had driven up to get a sight of the first jet d'eau to be set in motion in the capital city of the Southern Hemisphere. In a moment they were drenched from head to foot. Their coachman was so nearly drowned that he was some minutes before he could move out of the range of the first jet of the Yan Yean. 5

A few days later, The Age acknowledged one positive outcome of the improved water pressure and reported that: "The Superintendent of the Melbourne Fire Brigade informs us that the nozzles of the delivery pipes have already been enlarged, so as to meet the great pressure of the Yan Yean waters." 6

A little-known consequence of the waterworks project was that the land bounded by Station, Nicholson, Elgin and Reilly (Princes) streets in Carlton was reserved from sale for use as a tramway terminus. Matthew Bullock Jackson proposed that the wooden tramway, built to aid pipe-laying from Yan Yean to the Carlton Gardens, could be converted into a locomotive railway line for carrying goods and passengers. This would open up Yan Yean and locations along the way to settlement and sightseeing traffic. It was a bold idea and no doubt Jackson had the engineering skill and ability to make it happen, but funding was lacking and the project never went ahead. The land was released for sale in 1863 and, as a result, the buildings on the east side of Station Street between Elgin and Reilly (Princes) streets were of later construction than those on the west side. 7,8

Fast forward to mid-2019 and the time has come to renew the water main servicing both Carlton and North Carlton. The existing water main running beneath Nicholson Street is 140 years old – not quite as old as the Yan Yean pipes – and is nearing the end of its operational life. The new – and larger diameter – water main is to be installed beneath Canning Street, from Faraday Street through to Park Street, and will involve tunnelling under the major intersections at Elgin and Princes streets. Apart from renewing the pipes, the water main has to be re-located as the new tram superstops in Nicholson Street will make it difficult to access the existing pipes for essential maintenance. Life was much simpler in the 1850s, when public utilities did not have to compete with each other for space. However, we do enjoy the health and benefits of modern living and clean water. 9


Congratulations Judith


Photo: CCHG
Judith Biddington (left) receiving her Award of Merit from Richard Broome

On Tuesday 21 May 2019 Dr Judith Biddington, founder and inaugural president of the Carlton Community History Group (CCHG), was presented with of an Award of Merit by the Royal Historical Society of Victoria for "meritorious service" to a historical society. Thirteen years ago, Judith identified the need for a local community history group in Carlton and set about to achieve this goal. She placed a notice in the Carlton Library and this lead to the established a pattern of monthly meetings with presentations by people with some light to shed on the experience of growing up and living and working in Carlton. Within a year the Carlton Community History Group was meeting regularly, became incorporated, and achieved affiliation to the Royal Historical Society of Victoria.

From the start her approach has been to engage with local people directly, including shopkeepers, teachers, potential speakers for meetings, long term residents, representatives of organisations like churches and our local mosque, gathering history on the ground, and most importantly, involving and enthusing people. Along with several other hard working and dedicated members, Judith began recording a series of interviews with present and former Carlton residents. These oral histories are now to be digitised and made more accessible. She also began a series of special events and regular publications produced by the CCHG, commencing with her own booklet "Some Women of Davis Street : 1891 and 2008". Judith edited Des Norman's book "Through the eyes of a child : A street in Carlton 1939-45 and contributed a chapter to CCHG's latest publication "Carlton Voices", launched in October 2018.

Judith has also written several articles and book reviews for the CCHG website and these reflect her eclectic range of interests.

The Bassos of North Carlton : A Love Story and a Full Life

Betty Burstall 1926-2013

Carlton Footballers Who Fought and Died in the Wars

A Russian Visitor : Aleksandr Leonidovich Yashchenko

The Trades Hall : Part of our History

Vale Des Norman 1930-2015

Women and War : Two Case Studies

Book reviews



Image source: The Argus, 19 January 1916, p. 11

The Coulthard Boys

The family name "Coulthard" is of special significance in Carlton. George Coulthard was a tobacconist, with a business in Lygon Street, and he was also a well-known cricket and football player. He played over 100 games for Carlton from the 1870s until his untimely death on 22 October 1883, aged 27 years. George Coulthard was inducted into the AFL Hall of Fame in 1996.

George Coulthard's nephews William George (known as "George") and Vincent John Coulthard enlisted in World War 1. In January 1916, George Coulthard became the poster boy in an advertising campaign for Zam-Buk ointment. The product had been on the market for some years and, with the outbreak of World War 1, the manufacturer saw an opportunity to promote its healing powers to Australian soldiers at the front. The newspaper advertisements featured the image of a fresh-faced soldier in uniform and comments from a letter, supposedly written by George Coulthard from Mex Camp in Egypt to his father William in O'Grady Street, North Carlton.

The advertisement claimed that Zam-Buk ointment could treat all manner of ailments, including: –

"Cuts, abrasions, eczema, bad legs, sores, boils, breakings-out, piles, stiffness, chafings, ringworms, strained muscles, poisoned wounds, bruises, scalds, abscesses, scratches, back pains, festering sores, blood poison, sprains, pimples, stiff neck, ulcers, running sores, swellings, &c."

But there was one shameful disease that Zam-Buk ointment could not cure, as Vincent Coulthard discovered on his way to war in Europe in August 1916.

Read the story of the Coulthard brothers, who served in both World Wars, and George's son William, who made the ultimate sacrifice in World War 2


A Shot in the Dark

In 1915, John Moran was one of many young Australian soldiers who died, but his name was not honoured amongst the fallen. He did not die a heroic death on the battlefield, or in a military hospital from injury or disease. Instead, he died trying to escape from a thwarted burglary attempt at the North Carlton Drill Hall in McIlwraith Street. John Moran did not give his life for his country, he gave it for a few pounds in cash and cheques.

On the morning of 17 February 1915, Richard Rockett was making preparations for the day's work. He was a carrier living in Wilson Street, Princes Hill, and he kept his horses in a vacant paddock next to the North Carlton railway station. Having collected the horses, he walked back along Wilson Street and he noticed a man in a soldier's uniform lying face downwards on the ground opposite the drill hall. He thought the man was asleep – possibly sleeping off the effects of a night's drinking – and went to wake him. The man was unresponsive but, because his body was still warm, Rockett hastened to fetch Dr Howard, who lived nearby. It was too late, all Dr Howard could do was certify the death. The police were called in and they were soon able to connect the deceased man with events of two hours before at the drill hall. The man had been shot by Sergeant Major Charles Kerry and he had slowly bled to death from a bullet wound in the back.

Read about the sensational shooting of a soldier by an army officer on Australian soil.


Nurse Basser's Hospital

Ellen Forehan sat, pen poised, and contemplated the document placed before her. Her husband Jeremiah had died a few weeks ago, on 29 November 1890, and in his will he appointed her executrix of his estate. She was now to sign an affidavit that would grant her probate of her husband’s estate, valued at £1,231, 16 shillings and one penny. An official of the Supreme Court of Victoria had read and explained the document to her, and he believed that she had fully understood the content. In his presence, Ellen made her "X" mark on the affidavit. Ellen Forehan, the woman who could not sign her own name, later went on to become matron of Rosedale House private hospital in Carlton

Read Nurse Basser's story.


Gas Lighting in Carlton


Image: CCHG
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 Pigdon Streets, North Carlton ;
  • Corner of Amess and Richardson Streets, North Carlton ;
  • Corner of Rathdowne and Barkly Streets, Carlton ;
  • Corner of Lygon Street and Argyle Place, Carlton ;
  • Corner of Swanston and Pelham Streets, Carlton.


Image: CCHG
Corner of Nicholson and Pigdon Streets, North Carlton
The lamp post was made by "D. Niven and Co., Iron Founders, Collingwood"


Another Business Closes in Rathdowne Street

430 Rathdowne Street
Image: CCHG

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
Image: CCHG

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:

https://croakey.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/MissionariesRadicalsFeminists-2.pdf


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

Frank Del Monaco
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.


Little but Fierce


Photo: CCHG
Shakespeare Street Mural
North Carlton

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
Related items:
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 women 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


Architect's drawing of St Joseph's Receiving Home
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.

References:
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)


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