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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.
Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) - temporary closure of centres
Stonnington Library and Information Service buildings, including the Stonnington History Centre, are closed until Monday 13 April inclusive. This is to support efforts to 'flatten the curve' of the spread of Coronavirus.
Where possible, we will still offer services in a way that does not expose people to the potential spread.
You can always refer to this page for the latest information about the City of Stonnington's services, events, programs and facilities.
The Council will continue to review their operations to ensure the wellbeing of our community.
For history-related inquiries, please continue to call us on 8290 1360, Monday – Friday, 10am – 4pm, or email email@example.com
One Word Wednesday
Would you like to help us improve your search results on our local history catalogue?
Once a week we will highlight an image from our collection which has only minimal descriptive information. It will appear on our Twitter feed @stonnlibrary, which you can access even without a Twitter account of your own.
Think about the keywords you use to find items of interest. What terms would you use to find an image?
Join our Twitter conversation #OneWordWednesday @stonnlibrary, or, if you do not have a Twitter account, email your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The best suggestions will be added to our catalogue and shared on our website and Twitter.
Other archive collections you can contribute to:
Public Record Office Victoria #OneWordWednesday on Twitter @PRO_Vic
NSW State Archives #OneWordWednesday on Twitter @nswarchives
Queensland State Archives #OneWordWednesday on Twitter @QSArchives
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 May, 3 June 2020. No bookings required. Please note: the April meeting has been cancelled.
Upcoming exhibition - Fashion on the ration - POSTPONED
Fashion on the ration tells the story of women’s experiences of Australian life during the Second World War using costumes, accessories, photographs, documents and ephemera. Read stories of some of the over three thousand women who worked with the Australian Land Army, the ‘Jam Busters’ at the CWA who raised money for ‘comforts’, the women who knitted socks and partnered unknown ‘warriors’ at dances, and those who were swept off their feet by the ‘American Invasion’. Whether in uniform or work attire – as nurses, VADs, in the auxiliary services or factories – or at home, this exhibition shows how Australian women managed to be fashionable on 112 ration coupons a year (when a simple day dress would cost twelve coupons).
Presented by the Dressing Australia Museum of Costume and the Stonnington History Centre.
Caption: Argus Newspaper Collection of Photographs, State Library of Victoria, H99.201/3895
By our Deeds: Reflections on terms in the Mayoral Office - full interviews now available
A series of interviews were conducted between 2016-2019 by journalist Andrew Dodd with eleven 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), Mary Duffy (the first female mayor of Malvern), Chris Gahan, John Chandler, Barry Fenton, Anne O’Shea, Ray Lang, Leonie Hemingway (nee Burke), Melina Sehr, John Velos 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 links to 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 a large collection of material from Malvern Bowling Club.
What's On, January to June 2020
The January to June What's On Guide is now available in Stonnington's libraries and in the History Centre, or you can download a copy: Whats-On-Jan-June-2020.pdf(PDF, 2MB)
Visit our Events page for details of upcoming events.
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.