Local history publications

Book spines  

The City of Stonnington has produced a number of local history publications. Many of these, along with publications produced by local historical societies and others, are available to borrow or purchase from Stonnington libraries. We also have a range of local history eBooks and eBrochures that can be downloaded for free. See below for more information.

Local history books and eBooks

Stonnington's indigenous history

In 2006, council engaged Dr Ian Clark and Laura Kostanski from the University of Ballarat to undertake research into the indigenous history of Stonnington. The research resulted in An indigenous history of Stonnington: a report to the City of Stonnington. The summary report, Stonnington's indigenous history, contains a brief history, key people, indigenous clans, countries and languages and significant sites, and is a useful introduction.

Indigenous history full report (214 pages)(PDF, 22MB)

Indigenous history insert (2 pages)(PDF, 1MB)

Indigenous history summary (36 pages)(PDF, 2MB)    

Local history eBrochure series

All of the local history brochures in the Explore Stonnington series are available for download. They are also available at the Stonnington History Centre and Stonnington libraries.

Central Park eBrochure(PDF, 242KB) 

Chadstone eBrochure(PDF, 377KB) 

Chapel Street North eBrochure(PDF, 732KB)

Como eBrochure(PDF, 365KB)

Hedgeley Dene eBrochure(PDF, 601KB)

Malvern Gardens eBrochure(PDF, 200KB)

Malvern Valley Golf Course eBrochure(PDF, 506KB)

Northbrook eBrochure(PDF, 189KB)

Prahran & Malvern Tramways Trust eBrochure(PDF, 601KB)

Prahran Market eBrochure(PDF, 503KB)

Prahran Mechanics Institute eBrochure(PDF, 817KB)

Prahran Town Hall eBrochure(PDF, 412KB)

Princes Gardens eBrochure(PDF, 1MB)

Stonington mansion eBrochure(PDF, 358KB)

Stonnington City Centre eBrochure(PDF, 370KB)

Toorak House eBrochure(PDF, 2MB)

Toorak Village eBrochure(PDF, 839KB)

Victoria Gardens eBrochure(PDF, 387KB)

Stonnington thematic environmental history

The Stonnington Thematic Environmental History is a history of the City of Stonnington from indigenous times to the present day. It is arranged according to themes, which provide a context to assist with the identification of heritage places including buildings, precincts and landscapes. The book and interactive CD are available for purchase (book, $20.00, CD $10.00), and may also be viewed at Stonnington libraries. Updated pages saved as an eBook are available to download in sections free of charge (see below).

Chapter 1 - Creation; Chapter 2 - Altering the environment; Chapter 3 - Settling the land; Chapter 4 - Transport & communications; Chapter 5 - Governing & administering Australia; Chapter 6 - Developing local, regional & national economies; Chapter 7 - Retailing & hospitality; Chapter 8 - Building suburbs; Chapter 9 - Education; Chapter 10 - Community & culture; Chapter 11 - Why is Stonnington significant? 

Thematic history update (Introduction and chapters 1 and 2)(PDF, 12MB) 

Thematic history update (chapters 3 and 4)(PDF, 8MB) 

Thematic history update (chapters 5 to 8)(PDF, 11MB) 

Thematic history update (chapters 10, 11, index and appendices)(PDF, 14MB) 

Thematic history update addendum (15 pages)(PDF, 166KB)  

Histories of the former City of Malvern

John Butler Cooper's pioneering history of Malvern, History of Malvern: from its first settlement to a city, was commissioned by the Malvern Council and was published in 1935:

The history of Malvern (Cooper, 338 pages)(PDF, 16MB) 

The commissioned sequel to this book is Lynne Strahan’s Private and public memory: a history of the City of Malvern, published in 1989:

Private and public memory (Strahan, 344 pages)(PDF, 12MB)

This was later followed by a supplement, Alleyn Best's The History of Malvern: A supplement 1988-1994:

The history of Malvern supplement (Best, 87 pages)(PDF, 3MB)

A small booklet titled A commemoration by the City of Stonnington of the 150th Anniversary of the first Meeting of the Gardiner Road Board (later Malvern Council), was produced for a special event held at Malvern Town Hall in November 2006:

150th anniversary of the first meeting of the Gardiner Road Board (12 pages)(PDF, 1MB)

Melbourne's most fashionable suburb: a history of Toorak, east of Kooyong Road, 1840-1998, by Di Foster (unpublished thesis, Monash University, 1999). A full copy of the work may be viewed at the Stonnington History Centre or Monash University, or you can download individual chapters (text only) below:

Toorak, introduction (Foster, 4 pages)(PDF, 27KB)

Toorak, contents (Foster, 14 pages)(PDF, 201KB)  

Toorak, chapter 1 (Foster, 7 pages)(PDF, 44KB)

Toorak, chapter 2 (Foster, 15 pages)(PDF, 91KB)

Toorak, chapter 3 (Foster, 14 pages)(PDF, 77KB)

Toorak, chapter 4 (Foster, 20 pages)(PDF, 119KB)

Toorak, chapter 5 (Foster, 16 pages)(PDF, 96KB)

Toorak, chapter 6 (Foster, 14 pages)(PDF, 89KB)  

Toorak, chapter 7 (Foster, 8 pages)(PDF, 44KB) 

Toorak, bibliography (Foster, 8 pages)(PDF, 37KB) 

Toorak, Appendix A (Foster, 25 pages)(PDF, 55KB)

Histories of the former City of Prahran

John Butler Cooper's substantial History of Prahran, from its first settlement to a City (rev. 1924), commissioned by the Prahran Council, was originally published in 1912, and revised in 1924:

The history of Prahran (Cooper, 438 pages)(PDF, 10MB)

The first edition (1912) has been digitized by the University of California Libraries and is available for viewing on an eReader:

The history of Prahran, from its first settlement to a City (1912) by J.B. Cooper

For a thorough history of Prahran from 1925, see Sally Wilde’s The History of Prahran Volume II, 1925-1990 (1993) and the supplement, The History of Prahran: a supplement, 1990-1994 (2000):

The history of Prahran volume two (Wilde, 358 pages)(PDF, 21MB) 

The history of Prahran supplement (Wilde, 33 pages)(PDF, 4MB)

There is also a small booklet titled A commemoration by the City of Stonnington of the 150th Anniversary of the first Meeting of the Prahran Council, which was produced for a special event held at Prahran Town Hall in February 2006:

150th anniversary of the first meeting of the Prahran Council (12 pages)(PDF, 842KB) 

Walking tours

Walk into history 1: six more great walks in Stonnington by Di Foster and Steve Stefanopoulos:

Walk into history 1(PDF, 1MB)

Walk into history 2: six more great walks in Stonnington by Di Foster and Steve Stefanopoulos:

Walk into history 2(PDF, 2MB)

Walk into history 3: six more great walks in Stonnington by Steve Stefanopoulos:

Walk into history 3(PDF, 2MB)

Walk into history 4: six more great walks in Stonnington by Di Foster and Steve Stefanopoulos:

Walk into history 4(PDF, 1MB)

Stonnington's heritage markers booklet

The booklet, A place in history, is intended to complement the heritage markers that have been erected by the City of Stonnington, and includes a map showing the location of the markers:

A place in history (65 pages)(PDF, 14MB)

Children's picture book

Back when is a children's book containing historical photos from the Stonnington History Centre, written by Jane Nigro:

Back when(PDF, 3MB)

Free local history publications

Copies are available from Stonnington libraries, with some also available at the PMI Victorian History Library.

Across the slate: Prahran's schools, 1850s-1985 by Jane Chatham

Amazing history, amazing Stonnington by Jane Nigro (children’s puzzle book)

Back when by Jane Nigro (children’s picture book)

Bonds of care: Elizabeth Fry Retreat and its founders by Betty Malone

Chapel Street, part I: 1834-1918 by Betty Malone

Chapel Street, part II: 1919-1984 by Betty Malone

Church, community and change: religion in Prahran 1836-1984 by Jill McDougall

Early Prahran, 1850-1863 by Betty Malone

Greetings from Malvern by Di Foster and Jane Nigro. All 38 photographs published in this book may now be viewed online as a set on the Flickr website.

The literature of Malvern Victoria: a bibliography by Ian McLaren 

Pioneer and hardy survivor: the Prahran Mechanic's since 1854 by L. B. McCalman

Policeman's paradise by Peter Aldred, Charles Cox and Ralph Stavely

Prahran's pubs, 1852 to 1988 by Betty Malone

A record of Rose Street by Marion Dadswell

Select your partners [a history of Leggett’s Ballroom] by Phil Leggett

Talking stories: narratives by women in Malvern by Lotte Waters

Toorak as I knew it (1900-1930) by James Paxton

William Philpott: pioneer Victorian first class cricketer by Anne Jackson. Also available as an ebook: William Philpott (Jackson, 68 pages)(PDF, 2MB)

Local history publications for sale

The following publications are available for purchase from Stonnington Library and Information Service, and select bookshops, with some also available from the PMI Victorian History Library. Copies are also available for borrowing from Stonnington libraries.

Discovering Prahran Areas 1 - 8 by Betty Malone. Area 1 is out of print. Area 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 or 8 ($5 each) 

The history of Prahran, 1836-1924 by J.B. Cooper ($10)

The history of Prahran volume II, 1925-1990 [includes supplement] by Sally Wilde ($10)

Prahran and the dismal swamp: uncovering the natural settlement and disease ecologies of a suburb by Natasha Szuhan ($5)

The pride of Prahran: a history of the Prahran Library 1860-2010 by Stella M. Barber ($10)

Private and public memory: a history of the City of Malvern by Lynne Strahan + The history of Malvern: a supplement 1988-1994 by Alleyn Best ($10)

Stonnington Thematic Environmental History by David Helms and the City of Stonnington (book, $20.00, CD $10.00)

Suburbs at War: the Cities of Malvern and Prahran during the Great War by Helen Doyle (2015). This richly illustrated history was commissioned by the City of Stonnington to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the First World War. The history examines the homefront experience in Malvern and Prahran during the war, and traces the local background to the war, the military training and recruitment of local men, and the ways in which the war impacted on suburban life. ($29.95)

Walk into history 1: six more great walks in Stonnington by Di Foster and Steve Stefanopoulos ($5)

Walk into history 2: six more great walks in Stonnington by Di Foster and Steve Stefanopoulos ($5)

Walk into history 3: six more great walks in Stonnington by Steve Stefanopoulos ($5)

Walk into history 4: six more great walks in Stonnington by Di Foster and Steve Stefanopoulos ($5)