Events at the Stonnington History Centre

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.

All sessions run from 10am until 11am. 
Bookings are required, and open at 10am on the first day of the month prior to the event.
All sessions take place at the Stonnington History Centre or at Northbrook Pop-Up Gallery, both at 1257 High Street, Malvern (behind Malvern Library), unless specified otherwise.

The City of Stonnington will be taking photographs and/or filming at events. Your image may be reproduced by the City of Stonnington in publications and/or promotional materials (including online publications), on its website and/or on social media. See www.stonnington.vic.gov.au/privacy-statement for further information.

Map of History Centre and Northbook


Family group Family History Club

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.

First Wednesday of the Month, 3-4.30pm: 7 February, 7 March, 4 April, 2 May, 6 June


Cable tram engine house 1929History Matters: Simone Sharpe - A Capitol site of urban development and suburban transformation

The History Centre’s Simone Sharpe presents an historical examination of the changes in use of the former cable tram engine house site on the corner of Toorak Road and Chapel Street – from transport-related power generation, to commercial food production as the Capitol Bakeries, to retail and entertainment as the Fun Factory, then to a high-density residential zone.

Drawing on a range of sources including council records, newspapers, photographs and correspondence, she uses this site as a case study to illustrate the transformation of South Yarra from a suburb with pockets of working class industry to one now more associated with conspicuous consumption.

Wednesday 21 February, 10am – 11am

Book online or telephone 8290 1360. Bookings open at 10am on 2 January 2018.


Be Persuaded – A Jane Austen Experience Exhibition: Fashions From the Time of Jane Austen

To mark the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death, the Dressing Australia Museum of Costume has designed a rare and wonderful exhibition bringing Jane Austen to life in original fashion of the era.

Be Persuaded features rare fashion, accessories and ephemera from the 18th century when Jane was born. Pieces such as these are rarely on display outside of major museums.

2 – 17 March 2018

Gallery hours: Thursday – Saturday, 12pm – 5pm

Northbrook Pop-up Gallery, 1257 High Street, Malvern (behind Malvern Library)

History Matters: Alicia Cerreto - Alice Meyer von Forell

Between the end of World War II and about 1980, hundreds of Stonnington residents would have had dance, deportment or debutante lessons with the formidable Alice Meyer von Forell. She and her husband Hans Meyer had a reputation as experts in the field of diplomacy and European languages, but their public face hid a private wartime story of life in internment camps in Australia.

Alicia Cerreto is a professional historian. Her most recent book is Berry Street 140 Years: Restoring Trust and Hope, a history of Berry Street, Victoria's largest independent child and family services organisation. Alicia is passionate about bringing stories from the past into the present and in working with community groups to share their histories with a wider audience.

Wednesday 18 April, 10am-11am

Book online or telephone 8290 1360. Bookings open at 10am on 1 March 2018.


History Matters: Janet Buick - Northbrook, who’s been sleeping in this house?

The History Centre’s Janet Buick tells the story of Northbrook and the people who designed, built and lived in the house. Janet will provide a glimpse of the high life, of the balls and social events held at Northbrook, before it was purchased by the Malvern Council in 1945. She will provide an overview of how the house has been used since the late 1940s. At the end of the talk Janet will conduct a tour of Northbrook, now home to the Stonnington History Centre.

Wednesday 20 June, 10am – 11am

Book online or telephone 8290 1360. Bookings open 10am on 1 May 2018


What's On at the Libraries 

Follow this link to see a list of other events held at Stonnington's Libraries, or download or print our What's On guide:

Whats On Program - July-December 2017(PDF, 3MB)

Whats On Program - January-June 2018(PDF, 1MB)


Past Events

Mayoral postcard front edited CH.jpg

Exhibition - The Mayoral Office: more than robes and chains 

Meet the mayors who have served the municipalities of Stonnington, Malvern and Prahran for more than 160 years. Discover the responsibilities that come with the Head of Local Government and how the Mayoral Office has evolved through time.

Streets postcard front

Exhibition - Streets where we live: From Crown land to conservation

From the subdivision of the land to the creation of our residential streets, discover the evolution of our urban landscape through maps, mansions and the modern. Topics included: land subdivisions, architectural drawings, street names and numberings, floods, re-use and re-zoning, houses large and small, houses lost and some with heritage protections, and even a history of Northbrook, now home to the Stonnington History Centre.

Threads of History postcard Exhibition - Threads of History: Dressing Stonnington through time

Our second exhibition at the Northbrook Pop-Up Gallery – Threads of History: Dressing Stonnington through time – allowed visitors to wander through the work of the seamstress, the tailor, the fashion designer and tdiscover the clothing made and worn in Stonnington since the 1850s. A possum skin cloak, a wedding dress and exquisitely hand-stitched silk pyjamas were among some of our treasures never before seen on display.

A descriptive online exhibition catalogue is now available. 

History Matters postcard pic

Exhibition - History Matters: Treasures from Stonnington's Archives

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.