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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.
Upcoming exhibition: Service and sacrifice at home and at war, 1914-1918
This Armistice Day centenary exhibition includes costumes from the Dressing Australia Museum of Costume, and is brought to you by the Stonnington History Centre. Meet the locals who contributed to the war effort at home and overseas, through their letters, photographs and ephemera. Place a poppy sticker on the gallery wall to remember those who lost their lives.
25 October – 10 November 2018
Northbrook Pop-up Gallery, 1257 High Street, Malvern (behind Malvern Library)
Gallery hours: Thursday – Saturday 12pm – 5pm
Exhibition opening: Wednesday 24 October, 5pm – 7pm. Light refreshments provided. Guest speaker: Don Farrands, author of The Glass Soldier (2017)
Acknowledgement and disclaimer: This exhibition is partially funded under the Commonwealth Government’s Saluting Their Service Commemorations Program. The Commonwealth has not participated in the research, production or exercised editorial control over the exhibition or its contents. The views expressed and conclusions reached herein do not necessarily represent those of the Commonwealth, which expressly disclaims any responsibility for the content or accuracy of the exhibition.
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 now open.
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 online. Bookings now open.
History Matters: Suburbs at war
The Great War of 1914-1918 affected all avenues of suburban life. Its impact was profound and didn’t end in November 1918. At the end of the four-year centenary commemorations of the First World War, Dr Helen Doyle will reflect on the local impact of the war in the City of Stonnington (formerly the Cities of Malvern and Prahran).
Dr Helen Doyle is an historian and heritage consultant who specialises in the histories of places and landscapes, and is interested in the ways that local communities value their history and heritage. Helen works as a heritage consultant at Context (now GML Heritage Victoria Pty Ltd). Her publication, Suburbs at War: The cities of Malvern and Prahran during the Great War (City of Stonnington, 2015), won the Centenary of World War I Award at the Victorian Community History Awards.
This special History Matters event is being held in conjunction with the Stonnington History Centre's upcoming exhibition, Service and sacrifice at home and at war, 1914-1918, which launches on Wednesday 24 October.
Wednesday 31 October, 10am – 11am
Bookings required. Book online or telephone 8290 1360. Bookings are open.
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: 5 September, 3 October, 7 November, 5 December. No bookings required.
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 Gahan, John Chandler, Barry Fenton, Anne O’Shea, Ray Lang, Leonie 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.
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 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.
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.
Visiting the Stonnington History Centre
Opening hours and conditions of access and use of the Stonnington History Centre and its resources.
Contact the Stonnington History Centre
Contact the Stonnington History Centre to make an appointment to view our records or to provide assistance with your research inquiry.
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.
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.
Information on all local newspapers distributed in Stonnington, and in the former cities of Malvern and Prahran, from 1857 to the present.
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.
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; along with occasional exhibitions of items in our collection and other exciting events.
Donate items to the collection
Fill in the online form if you wish to donate items of relevance to the Stonnington History Centre.
By our Deeds: Reflections on terms in the Mayoral Office
Oral history interviews with former mayors of the City of Stonnington and former municipalities of Prahran and Malvern conducted by journalist Andrew Dodd in 2016: John Chandler, Barry Fenton, Leonie Hemingway (nee Burke), Chris Gahan, Ray Lang, Ann Morrow, Anne O’Shea, Melina Sehr and Claude Ullin.