The Stonnington History Centre is an archive dedicated to preserving and interpreting the history of the City of Stonnington and the former cities of Malvern and Prahran. The centre is a branch of the Stonnington Library and Information Service and is housed at Northbrook, located behind the Malvern Library.
The centre’s collection includes books, journal articles, photographs, Malvern building plans, maps, subdivision plans, rate records, newspapers, research notes, and general local history information. The online catalogue is a descriptive index to the collection which also includes scans of most photographs and some full text documents. Both Malvern Historical Society and Prahran Historical and Arts Society refer enquiries to the centre as they do not maintain separate local history collections. There is no separate Stonnington Historical Society.
Requests for information are welcome. Please note that fees apply for some services.
Donations of relevant material are invited from community organisations, businesses and individuals.
For further information, please contact us.
Bookings for our History Matters event - The hidden history of Prahran Market - are now open.
Lesley Sharon Rosenthal, writer, researcher and author of Prahran Market: Celebrating 150 Years 1864-2014, reveals the hidden histories of the Market's people and produce.
Wednesday 22 June 2016, Stonnington History Centre, 10am – 11am
Book online or phone: 8290 1360.
The Pool - in Prahran and in Venice!
The Pool: Architecture, Culture and Identity in Australia is the companion publication for Australia’s highly anticipated contribution to the Biennale Architettura 2016, curated by Aileen Sage Architects (Isabelle Toland and Amelia Holliday) with Michelle Tabet. Designed to offer a richer experience of the exhibition, the book explores the relationship between architecture and Australian cultural identity through personal anecdotes about one of our country’s most significant public spaces. Eight prominent Australians have shared their pool stories, including Olympians Shane Gould and Ian Thorpe; authors Anna Funder and Christos Tsiolkas; musician Paul Kelly; environmentalist Tim Flannery; fashion designers Romance Was Born; and art curator Hetti Perkins. Prahran Pool appears in Chapter 8, titled 'Deeper Water', featuring Paul Kelly’s reflections on the pool’s role in the deeper moment in life.
The Pool exhibition opens to the public in Venice at the 2016 Architecture Biennale on 28th May, 2016. Follow @VeniceArchAus on Instagram for updates of the installation and launch of the exhibition, visit the exhibition website, or order a copy of the book from Books at Manic.
Just bought a house in Stonnington, or curious to know more about the house you live in?
The Stonnington History Centre can produce a history of a residential or commercial property in Stonnington for you. For a fee of $250 we will compile a summary report and copies of historic documents (which may include photographs or building plans if available), delivered in a presentation folder. Gift certificates also available.
See our page on researching houses and properties for more information and an order form.
Suburbs at War - a prize winner!
Suburbs at War has won the Victorian Community History Awards 2015: Centenary of WW1 Award. The award is a special prize for the best work or project submitted in any category on the impact of World War One on Victoria or Victorians.
Suburbs at War: the Cities of Malvern and Prahran during the Great War, written by historian Helen Doyle, was commissioned by the City of Stonnington to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the First World War. The book can be purchased for $29.95 from any Stonnington Library or Jeffreys Books.
The National Trust is hosting an exciting range of events at Stonnington's historic Como House in 2016, including ghost tours.
History Matters Exhibition has now closed.
Our first exhibition at the Northbrook Pop-Up Gallery – History Matters: Treasures from Stonnington's Archives – was a huge success, and hundreds of visitors shared their memories of the exhibits with us.
Although it has now closed, you can still view the descriptive exhibition catalogue here.
State Library of Victoria updates
The State Library of Victoria (SLV) now subscribes to Find My Past, although you will need to visit the State Library to use its computers for access. Britain’s 1939 Register is available to view through this database. The SLV has also recently digitised the Moulton's, Morgan's and Collins street directories for Melbourne and suburbs (1912-1952); the ledger for the Victoria Turf Club covering 1854-1863, which includes the details of the first Melbourne Cup; and The Australasian Decorator & Painter (1905-1924), a trade journal that would be of interest to anyone owning a house from that period. Visit the State Library of Victoria's website for more information.
Victorian Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages
Thanks to the State Government of Victoria, you can now conduct free historical searches of the Victorian Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages online. You can search for: births from 1853 to 1914; marriages from 1853 to 1942; deaths from 1853 to 1988; and church baptisms, marriages and burials from 1836 to 1853. You can also search the Events at Sea (Maritime) Index for events on ships bound for Victoria between 1853 and 1920.
The History Centre has recently received an extensive collection of material from the Willis family, copies of photographs of the Harding family, material from the Ladies Probus Club of Central Park Malvern, and copies of material relating to Larnook Teachers College. A list of items added to our catalogue in the last month can be found here.
The Stonnington History Centre is on Pinterest
Discover more of the history of Stonnington through our Stonnington History Centre Pinterest.
Visiting the Stonnington History Centre
Opening hours and conditions of access and use of the Stonnington History Centre and its resources.
Frequently asked questions
Find answers to frequently asked local history research questions, such as 'What sort of information will the Sands and McDougall postal directories or Council rate books provide?', 'How can I research my family history in Stonnington?', and 'How can I find out if my house had a name?'.
Research fees and charges
We encourage you to conduct your own research. Begin by exploring our website and searching our catalogue. Where our assistance is required, a charge is incurred after the first half hour.
Ordering copies of photographs and other material
You can order digital or print copies of many items in the Stonnington History Centre's collection. Fees and charges apply.
Information on all local newspapers distributed in Stonnington, and in the former cities of Malvern and Prahran, from 1857 to the present.
Researching houses and properties
Conduct your own research into a house or property in Stonnington, or commission the Stonnington History Centre to prepare a My Stonnington Home portfolio for you, or as a gift.
Rate books for the former cities of Malvern and Prahran were prepared annually from 1856 to 1994. Malvern's rate records can be viewed at the Stonnington History Centre. DVD Rom sets of Prahran's rate records may be borrowed from Stonnington libraries. Guides in their use can also be found here.
Street name changes
If you are researching a street in Stonnington that is not listed in the current street directories, or you would like to know if a particular street was ever known by another name, see our tables of current and former street names.
Discover Stonnington’s past with History Matters, a range of free workshops and presentations on a variety of history topics, led by Stonnington History Centre staff; along with occasional exhibitions of items in our collection and other exciting events.
Contact the Stonnington History Centre to make an appointment to view our records or to provide assistance with your research inquiry.
Donate items to the collection
Fill in the online form if you wish to donate items of relevance to the Stonnington History Centre.