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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.
New timeslot for selected History Matters events
The first three talks in our History Matters seminar series for this year will be held at the new time of 5.30pm - 6.30pm on the following Wednesday evenings: 20 February, 27 March, 1 May. Make sure you book ahead for these popular sessions.
History Matters: Protecting your family heirlooms
Everyone has much loved items in their care ranging from antiques, family heirlooms and ephemera. Have you ever wondered how to correctly manage such pieces for posterity? Dennice is here to help. You are welcome to bring along an item for appraisal.
Dennice is the Decorative Arts Manager at Philips Auctions, 47 Glenferrie Road, Malvern, and has a background in fine arts and museum studies. She researches and catalogues a wide range of items for the yearly auction program ranging from antique porcelain, silver, pictures, oriental objects, fine furniture, glass, carpets and all manner of interesting and curious objects.
One item per person only.
Wednesday 20 February 2019, 5:30pm-6:30pm
Book online or call 8290 1360.
History Matters: Seamus O’Hanlon: City Life
Australia’s cities are changing fast. Melbourne and Sydney are each now home to more than five million residents. What were once factory zones are now dominated by residential apartment towers, five star hotels and skyscraper office blocks; the places where we used to make clothes and food are where we now buy them or consume them in plush, upmarket surroundings. And whereas before the 1980s tertiary education was the privilege of a small elite, today higher education is an almost universal experience. City-based universities with their signature ‘starchitect’-designed buildings are a key feature of the nation’s revitalised urban landscapes and among the country’s largest employers.
In this talk Seamus O’Hanlon from Monash University draws on his new book City Life: the new urban Australia (New South 2018) to reflect not only on forty years of change in Australia’s major cities, but also on what it means to be Australian in the urban twenty-first century.
Wednesday 27 March 2019, 5:30pm-6:30pm
Book online or call 8290 1360.
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, 2pm-4pm: 6 February, 6 March, 3 April, 1 May, 5 June, 3 July, 7 August, 4 September, 2 October, 6 November, 4 December. No bookings required. Please note there is no meeting in January.
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 Anzac soldiers Alfred Edward (Tom) Keys, Robert Riddell and Bruce Sloss, and WWI Matron Beryl Campbell.
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.