Carlton Community History Group

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Shaw Davey Slum
Photo: CCHG
The Shaw Davey Slum (Former Pugg Mahones)
Corner of Drummond and Elgin Streets, Carlton

Notes and References:

1 The survey recommendations were submitted to the Hon. H.R. Petty M.L.A., Minister of Housing, on 24 June 1960 and appeared in the Report on slum reclamation and urban redevelopment of Melbourne inner suburban areas, dated 21 July 1960.
2 Area no. 4 (approximately 74.2 acres in Carlton) was bounded by Princes, Nicholson and Lygon Streets and the rear of properties facing Elgin Street.
3 Area no. 4A (approximately 49.0 acres in North Carlton) was bounded by Lygon, Fenwick, Canning, Princes, Rathdowne and Lee Streets, excluding Curtain Square, the Kindergarten and Primary School.
4 The Australian Dictionary of Biography cites 1863 for John Curtain's Hotel, but this date is not supported by the evidence of Melbourne City Council Rate Books (VPRS 5708), Liquor Licensing Records (VPRS 7601) or a statutory declaration signed by John Curtain in 1882 (VPRS 460/P1/1154/50881).
5 Hotel names information sourced from Sands & McDougall and the R.K. Collection of Hotel Records.

Slumming it in Carlton

The Shaw Davey Slum, a refurbished bar opened for trading in May 2014, recalls a controversial survey from 1960 that identified large areas of Carlton and North Carlton for slum reclamation. Based on a comparison of two independent surveys conducted by J.H. Davey (Slum Research Officer) and Grahame Shaw (Senior Architect, Design & Research) of the Victorian Housing Commission, it was dubbed the "windscreen survey", amidst claims that the officers had simply driven through the inner suburbs and noted areas for reclamation. Shaw and Davey concluded:
There is danger that spasmodic rebuilding may eventually hinder complete redevelopment by enforcing adherence to the present road and right-of-way pattern - resulting in crowded housing in perpetuity. Only a vigorous programme of reclamation in known defined areas will deter owners from rebuilding on small sites.1

While many areas of the inner suburbs were lost to slum reclamation, community action and changing attitudes to social housing have meant that the Shaw Davey survey recommendations were never fully realised. In an almost complete turnaround, architects and builders are now coming up with creative solutions for rebuilding on small sites, which are in great demand and can command high prices.

Despite the choice of name, the Shaw Davey Slum is not actually within the reclamation area as defined by the survey, which stopped at the rear of properties on the north side of Elgin Street. The Shaw Davey Slum, on the southwest corner of Drummond and Elgin Streets, continues a long tradition of hotels dating back to the 1860s. Curtain's Hotel, also known as the Elgin Hotel, was built in 1865/66 and first licensed to Irishman John Curtain in February 1866. He went on to pursue a career in business and politics, but he suffered heavy financial losses, resulting in the sale of the hotel and other property holdings. The hotel was next licensed to Henry Bew in 1871 and John Fleming in 1873, when it became known as Fleming's Hotel. The name later reverted to Curtain's Hotel until the 1920s, when it became Stewart's Hotel for the remainder of the 20th century. In the 21st century, John Curtain's Hotel returned to its Irish roots as Pugg Mahones.2,3,4,5

More information on John Curtain

Grave of James Colgan
Photo: CCHG
Memorial stone on grave of James Colgan (1846-1899)
Melbourne General Cemetery

A New Street in Carlton

Carlton has a new street, on the former Housing Commission redevelopment site. Colgan Street runs for one block between Rathdowne and Drummond Streets, providing access to the new Australian Unity retirement living and aged care facility at 497 Rathdowne Street. Unlike nearby Reeves Street, which originally dated back to the 1860s, there was no pre-existing street at this location. However, the street name has historical links with both Carlton and Australian Unity.

James Colgan was born in Melbourne in 1846, the son of John Colgan and Margaret Leary. A law clerk, he was one of the founding members of the Australian Natives' Association (A.N.A.), a friendly society formed in 1871. He was the first Treasurer of the Board of Directors in 1877 and was appointed Secretary in 1878. He retired in 1881 and became a Trustee.

James Colgan was a resident of Carlton and lived at 345 Canning Street towards the end of his life. He died on 13 August 1899, one month short of his 53rd birthday. He was survived by his widow Sarah Agnes, who he married in 1872, and two adult children. Members of A.N.A. subscribed to a fund for the erection of a memorial stone above his grave in the Melbourne General Cemetery. The memorial stone was unveiled on 30 August 1901. Sarah Colgan died in 1924 and was buried with her husband.

A.N.A. merged with Manchester Unity and became Australian Unity in 1993.

Birth, death and marriage records
Melbourne General Cemetery burial records
Probate file no. 72/302, 1899 (VPRS 28)

More Information:
A Centenary History of the Australian Natives' Association, Horticultural Press, 1971

Pat and The Poppyshop

Pat Knox, Carlton identity and owner of the Poppyshop, retired in 2014 after 47 years of business in Lygon Street. During that time, Pat has seen many changes in manufacturing and retailing, within the broader context of major social and political change in Carlton from the 1960s through to the present day. A savvy businesswoman, Pat has remained true to her ideal of selling good quality toys and gifts at a reasonable price.

Pat shared her memories of the Poppyshop with CCHG at a meeting in July 2010:

One of the things that people love about the Poppyshop, and I love it too, is that it's a happy place. People come in and they're happy, they're nice, they talk to each other. I have a lot of people who come in nearly every day, lonely people and they just come in and say "Hi" and we have a chat.
Pat Knox and the Poppyshop have made so many people happy over the years. CCHG wishes her every happiness in her retirement.

Tel Aviv Dairy
Photo: CCHG
Former Tel Aviv Dairy
183 Macpherson Street North Carlton

The Tel Aviv Dairy of North Carlton

The sale in February 2014 of the property at 183 Macpherson Street has broken one of the last links with the Jewish era in North Carlton. In 1926 the recently-emigrated Pahoff family took over the house and dairy at this address, running it until the 1960s when such businesses were no longer viable, and the house has remained in the family ever since. Like Glickman's bakery, Polonsky's butcher shop and Gotlib's grocery, Pahoff's Tel Aviv dairy features regularly in Jewish memoirs. The sour cream, it appears, was especially good. But the family is perhaps even better remembered for its remarkable work in sponsoring and organising the emigration of no fewer than forty families from their native Ukraine.

More information

Ruth Bailey
Photo: Courtesy of Ruth Bailey's family
Ruth Bailey 1941-2013

Vale Ruth Bailey

It was with great sadness that CCHG heard of the death of Ruth Bailey in late December 2013.

In 2010 CCHG was extremely fortunate in having the opportunity of interviewing Ruth, who was, like her mother and maternal grandmother, a Carlton girl born and bred.

Born in 1941, Ruth spent her childhood in what is now the first house north of the Carlton Gardens on the eastern side of Rathdowne Street and attended the nearby school, now Carlton Gardens Primary. She was also a regular visitor to a house in Palmerston Street opposite what is now Neill Street school. Her mother Keziah Blackburn had grown up in that house and her grandmother Alice Booth lived there during her long widowhood. When in the 1960s Alice became too frail to live alone, Ruth was newly married with a young baby and delighted to move into the house and area she knew so well. She remained there until her death.

Ruth was a delightful person to interview, with tremendous recall of detail, endless anecdotes and the rare ability to structure what she had to say so that it was effortless for her listener to follow her story. As a tribute to Ruth, CCHG has published a new booklet titled "Carlton Girls Born and Bred".

Visit our publications page for more information.

Council dump in North Carlton

Council dump in North Carlton
Photos: Courtesy of John E. Thompson
Council Dump near North Carlton Railway Station
Photographed in the 1960s

Vale John Duncan

Sadly, John Duncan, a CCHG supporter and contributor, passed away in 2013. He first contacted us several years ago, having enjoyed some of our material, and provided a great deal of colourful detail about his childhood in Princes Hill in the 1950s. It was, he said, a wonderful place to grow up.

On the other side of the railway line a little west of the station (now the North Carlton Neighbourhood House) was a massive junk yard, complete with dog and grumpy old watchman. We used to find all sorts of things including horse shoe nails, boxes & boxes of them. Despite many boots in the backside it was a favourite playground, as was the cemetery. The only school excursion I ever went on was a "trip to the country" by train to Diamond Creek for the day, with the nuns in all the heavy black regalia of the day and it was so hot.
It was on days like this that the kids enjoyed their local "pools", a huge tank in the local dye works and another at what was then Pullars Dry Cleaners in Rathdowne Street. John recalled the names of many local shopkeepers, especially those near the corner of Lygon and Paterson Streets where he went to school. He remembered crowding into a neighbour's house to watch the first television set in the street, and the dairy across the road at 69 Wilson Street. Carlton had a bad reputation at the time.
At a very tender age I knew of several sly groggers who the locals could go to to buy beer after hours and even Sundays, then there were at least 3-4 SP Bookmakers within walking distance of home. Dad ran one with his mate behind the Rising Sun Hotel.
One of the best of John's stories has been recorded on the Recollections page of this website under the heading Mr Briggs' Business.

CCHG is deeply grateful to John and those like him who record their memories. Our sincere condolences to his family.

Carlton's Forgotten Prison

The Carlton Community History Group congratulates member Jeff Atkinson for winning a commendation in a recent essay competition run by the Prahran Mechanics Institute.

The Prahran Mechanics' Institute is a non-profit community organisation that operates a lending library specialising in the history of Victoria. One of its objectives is to encourage and facilitate historical research, and its Short History Prize was run as a way of achieving this. Entrants were invited to submit works relating to "a history of a place or an aspect of a place in Victoria".

The winner, announced in October 2013, was John Merry of the Sandringham & District Historical Society for an entry entitled A Boyhood by the Bay : Personal Reminiscences of My Life in Sandringham in the 1940s. Two other essays were commended including Jeff's, which had been submitted on behalf of the Carlton Community History Group. His essay, entitled The Stockade : Carlton's Forgotten Prison told the story of a low security prison that operated from 1853 to 1866 in what was then bushland just north of the town of Melbourne, but which is now the built-up suburb of North Carlton.

A Tramway Terminus in Station Street

Some time ago, CCHG put out a call for help in shedding light on the origin of the name "Station Street" in Carlton. The call has been answered by Carlton resident Mike Krockenberger, who has discovered a possible connection between Station Street and the Yan Yean tramway.

A plan of allotments at Carlton, North Melbourne, Parish of Jika Jika, dated 3 August 1859, shows the area bounded by Station, Elgin, Nicholson and Neill Streets marked as "Land set apart for Yan Yean Tramway Terminus." In the 1850s Matthew Bullock Jackson proposed that a wooden tramway, built to aid pipe-laying for Melbourne's water supply from Yan Yean, could be converted into a railway line for carrying building materials and passengers. This major transport project never went ahead and the land was released for sale in 1863.

The digitised map can be viewed online at the State Library of Victoria's website.

Plan of allotments at Carlton, North Melbourne, Parish of Jika Jika, 1859 (State Library of Victoria)
Yan Yean : A history of Melbourne's early water supply, Tony Dingle and Helen Doyle, PROV, 2003

Squizzy Taylor in Carlton

Have you been watching Underbelly Squizzy, screened on Channel 9 in 2013? The TV series has revived interest in Melbourne's notorious gangster Joseph Leslie Theodore "Squizzy" Taylor and raised speculation about the historical content of the events portrayed. Carlton played a key role in Squizzy's demise, as the place where he spent his final hour on 27 October 1927. More information

Betty Burstall

Photo: Courtesy Burstall Family
Betty Burstall
4 February 1926 - 14 June 2013

Betty Burstall

Betty Burstall was an activist, a powerful presence, a mover and shaker, a thinker, a partner, a parent, a teacher, a potter and painter, a very special person. She is best remembered for the most public part of her legacy, La Mama Theatre, a Carlton icon.

She had the courage of her convictions. She came back from a trip to America with the intention of trying to start a coffee-theatre like La Mama in New York, which had so impressed her. So in 1967, when confronted by a 'To Let' sign being hammered up on 205 Faraday Street, Carlton, a student area with an interesting ethnic mix, she hired it for about $14 a week to house a theatre group which aimed to perform modern Australian plays. The building had started life as a printing workshop and then became an underwear and shirt factory, not a usual theatre space, but it met at least two requirements - it was cheap and small. The people she gathered together now read like a Who's Who of Australian theatre whose stories are well documented.

Betty established principles which the group of actors, playwrights and staff still follow: keep the space open and accessible, avoid debt, and stay within the community, all groups which were to amply reward her efforts. As Liz Jones, her colleague and successor, says, "La Mama has never been about grand ideas, it has always been a launching place for great minds and great ideas, and it has always been a place which allows all members of the community to have a say." As she pointed out it did not matter whether they were or are theatre people, indigenous people, itinerants, the unemployed, or street people. It was also designed to be affordable and intimate and, while Betty was no doubt pleased to be honoured by an Order of Australia in 1993, one has the feeling she saw it as a reward for all those who had worked with and supported her, in the special adventure which was, and is, La Mama.

Betty was also influential in the development of her husband Tim Burstall's film career and he was a part of the fertile creative scene that centred on La Mama. Their two sons, Dan and Tom are also involved in the film industry. They have much to be proud of.

Dr Judith Biddington
Public Officer

Book Launch Completes Successful Year for CCHG

On Saturday 17 November 2012 the Carlton Community History Group Inc launched their new publication Walking Along Rathdowne Street : 100 years of shopping, services and stories in North Carlton by Margaret Rich. As the acting president, Jeff Atkinson, commented, "What a fantastic book launch".

Jacki Fristacky, our new Mayor, long term Nicholls Ward councillor and CCHG patron made an interesting and thought provoking speech. However, it was very crowded. We had between 55 and 60 people crammed into the meeting room and had to turn others away, for which we apologise. We sold many books on the day and have since had to reprint 100 more copies. The Library has already sold out its initial stock, the local post office has agreed to sell the books and we have had orders from as far afield as Provence, Ireland and New Zealand. Margaret's research skills and her experience as a teacher has made what could have been a pedestrian list into an interesting read. The enthusiasm generated also reflects the community's involvement with the suburb , the street itself and its history. As we had hoped, this book has already generated more local history to add to our collection.

If you have any stories or photos about any part of Carlton we would appreciate you passing them on to us. It is a fascinating suburb, as are the people who have lived, and continue to live here. We want to preserve their contributions be they large or small. Contact us

Fancy Footwork at Carlton Hall

In 2012 Dancehouse celebrated 20 years of contemporary dance in North Carlton. The leading edge dance hub was established in June 1992 at Carlton Hall in Princes Street, formerly occupied by the Carlton Community Centre. Carlton Hall has a long association with dance, as a venue for social dances, dance classes and dance performance. But the most famous dance took place in 1877 between two political rivals, James Munro and John Curtain.1

Carlton Hall was built in February 1877, in controversial circumstances during the election campaign for the new seat of Carlton. James Munro, an avowed temperance advocate, stood against Carlton publican John Curtain. According to Michael Cannon in the Land Boomers, Munro's pro-publican opponents prevented him from hiring a hall in Carlton, so he countered their opposition by building his own hall in 14 days, at a cost of £2,000. The Burchett index confirms that James Munro registered his notice of intent to build a public hall in Reilly Street (later renamed Princes Street) on 10 February 1877. Carlton builder John Pigdon must have worked around the clock to have construction completed in time for Munro to address a meeting of electors on Monday 5 March 1877. But the claimed cost of £2,000 is in question. R.N. Henningham, in a letter to the editor of The Argus, refutes allegations that John Curtain denied Munro access to his hall in Drummond Street, and states a considerably lower construction cost of "£200 or £300" for Munro's new public hall. Was this amount closer to the actual cost of construction, or was it an attempt to diminish public sympathy for James Munro? In the end, the electorate decided in favour of Munro, who won the seat of Carlton by a narrow majority in May 1877. Four years later in September 1881 Carlton Hall, including its furniture and fittings, was sold for £1,755.2,3,4,5,6,7

James Munro honoured a pre-election promise in granting 2 years' free rent to the Carlton Mechanics' Institute, for establishment of a free reading-room, subscription library, gymnasium, and debating society. The Mechanics' Institute also collected rent revenue from tenants and other users of the hall. A separate court of petty sessions for Carlton was established in 1878, and Carlton Hall provided temporary premises until the new court house was built in Drummond Street. In keeping with its origins, Carlton Hall was home to several temperance organisations, friendly societies and masonic lodges, and served as a polling booth for state and municipal elections well into the 20th century.8,9

As a Melbourne City Council property, Carlton Hall was the focus of victory celebrations following the end of World War 2 in August 1945. With a critical housing shortage in the immediate post-war years, Carlton Hall and several other council properties offered overnight emergency accommodation for families evicted from their homes. In April 1947, the Carlton sub-branch of the RSL was granted a lease of Carlton Hall, at a rent of £260 per year. George Ward, who grew up in Henry Street, remembers following the Anzac Day march along Rathdowne Street to Carlton Hall. "Us kids would march behind and those who got to sit on the floor down the front were given food and drink." The RSL Carlton sub-branch remained at Carlton Hall until the late 1960s, when they moved to Louisville in Amess Street North Carlton.10,11,12,13

The Carlton Community Centre was established in the 1970s and offered community activities, school holiday programs and classes to residents of Carlton and North Carlton. Following the re-organisation of council boundaries in the 1990s, Carlton Hall was transferred from Melbourne City Council to its present owner, City of Yarra.

Notes and References:
1Melbourne Times Weekly, 20 June 2012, p. 20
2Cannon, Michael. The Land Boomers, Lloyd O'Neil, 1986, p. 243
3Burchett Index, Reg. no. 7073, 10 Feb 1877
4The Argus, 2 March 1877, p. 4
5The Argus, 28 February 1877, p. 7
6The Argus, 14 May 1877, p. 5
7The Argus, 13 September 1881, p. 2
8The Argus, 11 July 1878, p. 4
9Building occupancy information sourced from Sands & McDougall and contemporary newspaper advertisements.
10The Argus, 15 August 1945, p. 4
11The Argus, 12 March 1946, p. 7
12The Argus, 28 April 1947, p. 8
13Ward, George. Henry Street and beyond

A Daring Feat in Carlton

Hot air balloons are a familiar early-morning sight in Carlton, harking back to a more romantic era in air transport. In February 1908, thousands of spectators paid sixpence apiece to watch aeronaut Alphonse Stewart execute a daring triple parachute descent from a hot air balloon. This was not the first parachute descent seen in Melbourne - several years previously another aeronaut had descended in a single drop - but it was the first involving a series of three parachutes, each of which was cut away as the next one opened.1

The 28 year old French Canadian, dashingly dressed in "a bright blue suit of tights", took off from the Exhibition Oval in the Carlton Gardens and waved to the cheering crowd as the balloon rapidly ascended to several thousand feet. The crowd watched with excitement and tredipation as the aeronaut appeared to drop from the sky, before each of the three parachutes opened and carried him back down to earth. In his first descent on 15 February 1908, Stewart narrowly missed telegraph wires and landed safely in Station Street, Carlton. His second descent on 19 February took him further, landing in Lygon Street, North Carlton. Stewart was cheered on by the crowd, but not everyone was happy with the outcome. Collingwood butcher Hughie Hart had his cart commandeered to carry the aeronaut and his parachute, causing considerable damage to the vehicle. The abandoned hot air balloon landed on Mr Dainty's house at 179 Pigdon Street and, as reported by the North Suburban Chronicle, "luckily no one happened to be very near at the time".2,3,4,5

Stewart's third and final descent on 22 February almost saw his demise. The daring aeronaut landed in the Melbourne General Cemetery, breaking his right leg and putting him out of action for some time. While Alphonse Stewart had suffered many cuts and bruises in his 10 year aeronautic career, this was the first time he actually sustained a broken bone - ironically in the last ten feet of a 3,000 feet descent.6,7

Notes and References:
1 The Argus, 17 February 1908, p. 4
2 ibid
3 The Argus, 20 February 1908, p. 5
4 The Argus, 21 February 1908, p. 3
5 North Suburban Chronicle, 22 February 1908
6 The Argus, 24 February 1908, p. 4
7 Sydney Morning Herald, 17 January 1908, p. 5

From the Pacific to Carlton

Did you see the TV show "The Pacific" when the soldiers came to Melbourne for their R & R? If you had, you would have seen US marine Robert Leckie visit his girl friend in a double storey house in Rathdowne Street. Then he visited his neighbour in a lovely double fronted house in Fenwick Street.

This program has been screened all around the world showing a little piece of Carlton.

La Porchetta Farewells Rocco Pantaleo

Rocco 'Rocky' Pantaleo, who died in a road accident on 26 March 2010 at the age of 53, will be remembered as an important force in the rejuvenation of the Rathdowne Street shopping strip between Curtain and Fenwick Streets, North Carlton. Shops at both ends of this block have over more than a century always survived economic and demographic changes, but a number of shops in the middle of the block became private dwellings as early as the 1930s. One such was 392 Rathdowne Street, out of commercial use for thirty years when in 1974 Santo Aiello and a partner opened Porchetteria, later called La Porchetta. According to newspaper reports, it was in a run-down condition when in 1985 it was taken over by Rocky Pantaleo, who had arrived in Australia as a young man of 21 and speaking no English less than ten years before. It was the first of his tremendously successful pizza restaurants which over the years expanded into a huge franchised business and four frontages in Rathdowne Street. The steady flow of diners is a mainstay to local shops of all kinds and local residents and long-term traders alike acknowledge the importance of Rocky Pantaleo's contribution to these Rathdowne Street shops.

Farewell Jack Ward

In 2009 one of our members, Jack Ward, died. The Carlton Community History Group will miss him for a variety of reasons. Jack was not only a really nice man, cheeky, friendly and always on time, he was passionately interested in North Carlton where he and his brother George and his younger sister Froney grew up. Half brothers Jack and George Ward and sister Froney lived in Fenwick St and later Henry St on the edges of the Rathdowne street shops. Together their experiences cover the time from Jack's birth in 1934 to the family's departure for Doncaster in 1966 some 32 years later when Froney was 12. Their memories record changes in the shops, businesses, and the characters and actions of the people who lived around them. Jack found us after looking at a number of history groups, and he and George came all the way from Glen Waverley and Croydon to attend our monthly meetings. They have been a source of a great deal of information.

Jack was influential in our Rathdowne Street project partly because of his persistence in wanting us to make a map of the shops. One day he stood up at a meeting and drew a startlingly accurate map of the shops in the area between Fenwick and Newry Streets. We copied that and it became the basis for some interviews with him and George supplemented by material from Froney. Suddenly the picture of Rathdowne Street was not only peopled with exotic, hard working Jews and Italians running businesses but well established, hard working, generous, and gregarious Australians whose community, lives and activities came to life through colloquial and somewhat less than politically correct anecdotes. That part of our history had somehow gone missing, perhaps because it might seem too ordinary. But history is more than great or extraordinary men and women. We will remember Jack fondly and will go on working with George and Froney as we know he would like us to do. Although he left school like many of his generation at 14, he obviously had a sharp mind and went on learning and contributing all his life. Local history would be poorer and less accurate without people like him. We thank him sincerely.

Some Women of Davis Street : 1891 and 2008

Why Women of Davis Street?

In 2008 the CCHG became aware of a chapter in They are but Women : The Road to Female Suffrage in Victoria, which looked at the lives of some women who lived in Davis Street who signed a petition in 1891 calling on the Victorian Government to grant votes to women. We acknowledge the contribution of that research and build on it to explore the similarities and differences between the lives of those women and some women who currently live in Davis Street. We know the petitioners wanted votes for women and we examine the attitudes of the contemporary women to the achievement of that goal.

The work also raises the question of when we should be celebrating the centenary of suffrage for Victorian women. Should it be when the legislation was finally passed by both houses of Parliament in November 1908, the granting of Royal Assent and gazetting of the legislation in March 1909 or the first state election when women actually exercised that right on 16 November 1911?

The Carlton Community History Group thinks we should celebrate them all.

We celebrated the passing of the legislation, in conjunction with the Yarra Council, in November 1908 with a performance by Wilma Farrow of The Immigrant's Friend and the Womens' Campaigner about the lives of Caroline Chisholm and Vida Goldstein, both ardent suffragists.

We are currently celebrating Royal Assent and the gazetting of the legislation with a small display tracing the development of the campaign in the Carlton Library.

We will celebrate again in 2011, 100 years after women first voted in a Victorian election. Did any of your forbears sign that petition?  If so, can you tell us something about them?  We have a list of all women in Carlton and North Carlton who did, but many others also come to the area later.  They could form the basis of our celebration in 2011.

We also need to remember how easy it is to be confused about dates. Most of us believe that with Federation in 1901 women were granted the right to vote. In a sense that is true, but the first election for Federal Parliament was held in 1901 under state electoral laws, all of which were different and women who lived in Victoria, New South Wales, Tasmania and Queensland were not able to vote. We forget that in December 1908, after the suffrage legislation passed both houses of parliament an election was held in Victoria but women could not vote then either because the bill had not received Royal Assent. We also tend to forget that although after March 1909 women could vote they did not get a chance to do so until 1911 and could not stand for state parliament until May 1924.

In March 2009, more history has been made. The first woman has been elected as Premier of any state in Australia, Queensland.  Our contemporary respondents will take heart from that result. But it is likely they will also be asking when Victoria will be making this kind of history?

CCHG Inc -  March 2009

Judith Biddington and Wilma Farrow
Photo: David Langdon

CCHG President Judith Biddington and Wilma Farrow

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