Carlton Community History Group

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have any questions about the history of Carlton, North Carlton or Princes Hill? Here is list of answers that may help in your research. If you cannot find the answer here, or elsewhere on this website, contact us.

Q. My great grandparents were married at 427 Rathdowne Street, Carlton, in 1900. Was this a church?

This address was a house named "Lyndhurst" and it was the residence of Rev. Archibald Turnbull from the late 19th to the early 20th century. Rev. Turnbull, a socialist clergyman, conducted marriage services according to the rites of Our Father's Church. Members of his family, wife and daughters, sometimes served as witnesses to the ceremony and their names may appear on marriage certificates. Rev. Turnbull died in 1901, but marriages by ordained clergymen continued to be advertised through to February 1902. The house and neighbouring properties were demolished to make way for the Neill Street Primary School, opened in 1973.

Q. Where was Carlton College?

Carlton College was a small private school for "young gentlemen", founded by George Neighbour in 1872. The school operated from a rented house in Cardigan Street, opposite Earnbank Terrace where Mr Neighbour lived. Within two years the college was "Carlton" in name only. The school moved to larger premises at the Traveller's Rest Hotel site in Nicholson Street, Fitzroy. In 1882, still retaining the name "Carlton College", the school moved to Royal Parade, Parkville, near Leonard Street. The school closed in 1910 and the headmaster, Gresham Robinson, and some of his students transferred to St Thomas's Grammar School in Essendon. There are no known archival records of Carlton College remaining. However, contemporary newspapers include advertisements and reports of speech nights and other school activities.

Q. Where is Madeline Street in Carlton?

Madeline Street was originally the northern extension of Swanston Street, from Victoria Street through Carlton to its intersection with Keppel Street. The street name was changed to Swanston Street in 1925 and the property addresses were re-numbered accordingly.
More information on Madeline Street

Q. Which other streets in Carlton have had name changes?

Most of the name changes took place in the late 1870s, but some of the old names (based on North Fitzroy street names) continued to appear in land titles and other official documents for some time.

  • Reilly Street, the boundary line between Carlton and North Carlton, was renamed Princes Street ;
  • Yorke (York) Street and Brierly Street were combined and renamed Lee Street ;
  • Freeman Street was renamed Curtain Street in North Carlton ;
  • Church Street was renamed Fenwick Street ;
  • Reid Street was renamed Richardson Street ;
  • Scotchmer Street was renamed Pigdon Street ;
  • Park Street, which ran from North Fitzroy in the east to Parkville in the west, was sometimes known as Parkside Street.
  • Tucker Street was renamed McIlwraith Street ;
  • Langridge Street was renamed Wilson Street ;
  • Sullivan Street was renamed Arnold Street ;
  • Longmore Crescent was renamed Bowen Crescent ;
  • Curtain Street in Princes Hill was renamed Paterson Street ;
  • Felstead Street was renamed Holtom Street ;
  • Story Street was renamed Lang Street.

Many of the small streets of early Carlton have disappeared or been incorporated into later buildings developments. Visit the Small Streets or Street Name pages for more information.

Q. I'm renovating and restoring a Victorian-era property. Are the original plans still available?

Prior to 1916, there was no requirement to lodge building plans with the Melbourne City Council. From 1872, when the provisions of the Melbourne Building Act were extended to Carlton, property owners, builders or architects were required to submit a "notice of intent to build" and pay the appropriate fee before the building project commenced. The information content of these notices varies and may include the type of building (eg: house or shop), name of owner, builder and architect (if applicable), address of building site (often just a street name) and a brief description of the work (but no actual plans). The original notices have been transcribed and can now be searched on the Australian Architectural index.

Q. What about building plans from 1916?

Selected building application plans (VPRS 11200) and files (VPRS 11201) are held by the Public Record Office of Victoria (PROV). The building application number (prefixed by "BA") may be obtained from the Melbourne Building Application Index. This index can be accessed online via the family history database Ancestry, which is available on subscription or free of charge at some public libraries. The Melbourne Building Application Index is included in the collection of "Victoria, Australia, Selected Trial Brief and Correspondence Registers and Other Images". From the search screen, go to "Card Catalog" or "New Collections" and search the keywords "selected trial brief", then select Melbourne Building Application Index from the pulldown menu. The records are filed by street name and address and include properties in the city and other locations within the municipality. Note that some of the records are poor quality scans from the microfiche and the addresses can be difficult to read.

Q. Where can I access the rate books for Carlton?

Carlton, North Carlton and Princes Hill were part of Melbourne City Council until the 1990s. Digitised copies of rate books (VPRS 5708) and valuation books (VPRS 3102) are available online at the Public Record Office of Victoria. The rate and valuation books are reproduced as whole volumes and it is no longer possible to search by ward name – you have to scroll through multiple images to find the appropriate ward and page. Carlton was originally rated in Gipps Ward (which also included properties in the city). As Carlton extended its boundaries northwards, the new Smith (1856) and Victoria (1869) wards were proclaimed. Victoria Ward is predominantly North Carlton and Princes Hill properties. The rate and valuation books provide names of the occupier and ratepayer (usually, but not necessarily the owner of the property), a description of the property (building composition, number of rooms, outbuildings, land dimensions etc) and the rated value.

Q. My house used to be a hotel. Where can I find information about it?

If you know the name of the hotel you can do a search of the Cole-Tetlow Index onsite at the State Library of Victoria, or the Index to Defunct Hotel Licences (VPRS 8159), available online at the Public Record Office of Victoria. These indexes record the date when a hotel licence was granted, transferred, lapsed or cancelled. Both indexes are valuable resources, but there are gaps in the records because the licensing registers (VPRS 7601) for certain years are missing.

If you do not know the name of the hotel, you can search the location in the Sands & McDougall directories, available online at the State Library of Victoria's website. One advantage of hotels in Carlton was that they were often located on street corners and are therefore easier to find in the directory. Note that the street address may not be the same as your current address, and the hotel may have had changes of name during its lifetime. A search of the National Library of Australia's database Trove could yield some interesting facts, including reports of licensing meetings, prosecutions for after-hours trading and other crimes.

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