Stonnington History Centre


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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.


Sorrett-AvenueOur next History Matters event: Sorrett Avenue: From open land to urban streetscape c1890 to c1950

Wednesday 12 October 2016, 10am – 11am
Book online or phone 8290 1360

Local historian Di Foster traces the development of Sorrett Avenue, which was once a carriageway leading to a grand 1850s house, over the period c1890s to c1950.

Logo-The PoolThe 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, and runs until 27 November. 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.

House, 1923Just 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 $270 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.

Do you have convicts on the Western Australian branch of your family tree?

The Friends of Battye Library (Inc.) have made available an updated and expanded version of 'Convict Records of Western Australia' available to download from its website.

Suburbs at War - a prize winner!Suburbs at War cover

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.

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.

Latest acquisitions

The History Centre has recently received the archives of the St Andrews Gardiner Cricket Club, including annual reports, minute books, and South Suburban Cricketer newsletters. 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.