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. Malvern Historical Society refers enquiries to the centre as it does not maintain a separate local history collection. 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.


Women Of Empire exhibition poster

Exhibition: Women of Empire 1914-1918 - For not all First World War heroes wore khaki

This unique international costume exhibition brings to life the stories of 25 remarkable WWI Australian and New Zealand women. The only touring WWI exhibition telling the stories of the women whose lives (and fashions) were transformed by their experiences of this cataclysmic event, it has been seen by over half a million people in Australia and overseas.

The exhibition is presented and curated by the Dressing Australia Museum of Costume, and supported by the Stonnington History Centre.

Friday 10 August to Sunday 19 August

Open 10am - 4pm daily

Northbrook Pop-up Gallery, 1257 High Street, Malvern (at the rear of Malvern Library).

Adults: $10. Concession: $9. Children (8+): $5. Tickets at the door. For group bookings or for more information call the Museum on 0408 380 524.

Family group

Family History Club - new timeslot

Curious about your ancestors? Whether you are a beginner or an experienced family history researcher, come and join our friendly monthly group where you can meet with fellow enthusiasts and explore the many genealogy resources available at the Stonnington History Centre. Due to popular demand, the Club now runs from 2pm-4pm on the first Wednesday of the month.

First Wednesday of the Month, 2pm-4pm: 1 August, 5 September, 3 October, 7 November, 5 December. No bookings required.

Willis family Peter King: conserving your family photos

Photographer Peter King explains how to look after your irreplaceable family photos, both prints and digital files. This very popular session is a must for family historians and custodians of treasured photographs.

Wednesday 8 August, 10am – 11am


Victorian Seniors Festival 2018 logo  

The Stonnington History Centre is proud to be a part of the Victorian Seniors Festival in October


Guided tour of the Stonnington History Centre

The Stonnington History Centre manages the historic records of Stonnington Council and the former municipalities of Malvern and Prahran, and is housed in the Italianate villa Northbrook (designed by Charles D’Ebro and built in 1888-89).

Come on a behind-the-scenes tour of the working archives of the Stonnington History Centre, hear about some of the people who used to live in historic Northbrook, and learn about the programs, precious records and resources available for conducting your own research.

Wednesday 3 October, 10am – 11am

Bookings required. Book online or telephone 8290 1360. Bookings open 22 August.

Malvern Town Hall sketch 1885

Guided tour of Malvern Town Hall

Come on a guided tour of the Malvern Town Hall with the Mayor Councillor Steve Stefanopoulos.

Explore the beautiful interior architecture of Malvern Town Hall, which features Queensland maple panelled walls, terrazzo floors, intricate plaster ceilings and walls, and elaborate Victorian style staircase. Commence the tour with an illustrated talk showcasing historic photographs of the Malvern Town Hall from 1886 in the Council Chamber.

Friday 12 October, 10am – 12.00pm

Bookings required. Book onlineBookings open 22 August.

By our deeds poster

By our Deeds: Reflections on terms in the Mayoral Office - full interviews now available

A series of interviews were conducted in 2016 by journalist Andrew Dodd with nine former mayors of the municipality of Stonnington, and the former municipalities of Prahran and Malvern. Those interviewed were Ann Morrow (the first female mayor of Malvern), Chris GahanJohn ChandlerBarry FentonAnne O’SheaRay LangLeonie Hemingway (nee Burke), Melina Sehr and the late Claude Ullin.

The interviews provide an insight into the nature of the tier of government that is most accountable to voters. The experiences of those who sit in the mayoral office is revealed through the stories they tell of the issues that brought them into council, of the torrid times during municipal amalgamation and the many battles lost and won.

Our By our Deeds page features podcasts of the full interviews with some participants.

Green Street houseWho's been sleeping in my Stonnington home?

Have you ever wondered who walked the hallway floorboards before you? Or maybe you'd like to know the year that your house was built. and whether it has ever been extended?

Stonnington's History Centre can answer all these questions and more about a house or commercial property in the area, with My Stonnington Home Research Portfolio. For a fee 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.

See our page on researching houses and properties for more information and an order form. You can also purchase a gift certificate for this service from any of Stonnington's libraries. 

Latest acquisitions

The History Centre recently received material relating to: former Malvern Mayor Cr Robert Sylvester and the Hendry family.

The Stonnington History Centre is on Pinterest 

Discover more of the history of Stonnington through our Stonnington History Centre Pinterest.