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.
Exhibition - Threads of History: Dressing Stonnington through time
Wander through the work of the seamstress, the tailor, the fashion designer and discover the clothing made and worn in Stonnington since the 1850s in the Stonnington History Centre's latest exhibition. A possum skin cloak, a wedding dress and exquisitely hand-stitched silk pyjamas are among some of our treasures never before seen on display.
Wednesday to Saturday, 12noon - 5pm
Friday 11 November - Saturday 10 December 2016
Northbrook Pop-up Gallery, 1257 High Street, Malvern (behind Malvern Library, at the rear of the Stonnington History Centre)
(Pictured: Balencia gown by haute couturier Victoria Cascajo)
Open Book: Geoffrey Blainey - Toorak/South Yarra Library
Geoffrey Blainey will discuss the much-anticipated second instalment of the history of Australia’s people – his most ambitious work to date – completing Australia’s story from the Gold Rush to the present day.
Blainey’s The Rise and Fall of Ancient Australia traced the story of the Indigenous Australians from their coming ashore at least 50,000 years ago. The Rise and Rise of a New Australia carries the story – through momentous changes – to the present day. Together, the two books form The Story of Australia’s People – the culmination of the lifework of Australia’s most prolific and wide-ranging historian. Geoffrey Blainey is the recipient of Australia’s highest honour, Companion in the Order of Australia (AC) and is listed by the National Trust as a 'Living Treasure'.
Thursday 8 December, 6.30pm - 8pm
Toorak/South Yarra Library, 340 Toorak Road, South Yarra
Free event, bookings required
Book online or call: 8290 8000
Who'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 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. 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.
Audio tour of the Yarra River
The City of Stonnington has produced a self-guided walking tour along the Yarra River, complete with audio, highlighting the natural and man-made changes to this biodiverse environment at 10 listening stations along the walking track between the Punt Road Landing and MacRobertson Bridge at Grange Road.
Visit the Life of the Yarra Audio Tour page for more information, and to download the audio tracks and brochure.
Ancestry Library Edition has added new Victorian records to its website
Ancestry Library Edition has now added the following records, although only select dates are available: Sands & McDougall postal directories for Melbourne and Victoria; Victoria Police Gazettes; rate books for the former municipalities of Malvern and Prahran, as well as Caulfield, Collingwood, Fitzroy, Hawthorn, Kew and others; Lunatic Estates and Register; Assisted and Unassisted Passenger Lists; Deserter, Discharged and Prisoner Crew Lists; and the Index to Naturalisation Certificates. See the State Library of Victoria's blog for a full list of what is available. The State Library also subscribes to Findmypast, although you will need to visit the State Library to use its computers for access.
Victorian Community History Awards 2016
The Victorian Community History Awards, organized by Royal Historical Society of Victoria and the Public Record Office Victoria, recognize excellence in historical method in a variety of formats, including publications, exhibitions, documentary films and websites. Top prize this year went to the book These Walls Speak Volumes: A History of Mechanics’ Institutes in Victoria by Pam Baragwanath and Ken James. Other winners included Eva de Jong-Duldig and Dr David Smith for their DVD Duldig Studio Documentaries Volume 1, and Judith Buckridge for her small publication The Village of Ripponlea. Visit the Royal Historical Society of Victoria's website for more information or to download the winner's booklet.
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 photographs of the demolition of 241 Toorak Road and the Capitol Bakeries building next door, on the corner of Chapel Street, South Yarra, along with original c1899 wallpaper remnants uncovered during the renovation of 9 Gordon Grove, Malvern. 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.