Stonnington History Centre


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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.


Postcard for Women of Dickens exhibitionUpcoming exhibition: The best of times, the worst of times - a woman's lot in Charles Dickens

Betsey Trotwood, Lady Dedlock, Estella, Madame Defarge, Fanny Squeers, Amy Dorritt and Nancy are just a few of the well-known female characters in Charles Dickens’ novels. This exhibition brings these women to life in original clothing of the era, spanning several decades of the nineteenth century.

Presented by the Dressing Australia Museum of Costume and the Stonnington History Centre, to mark the 150th anniversary of the passing of the immortal novelist in 1870.

Wednesday 10 July, 5pm - 7pm
Stonnington History Centre Exhibition Space 
Light refreshments provided. No bookings required

Exhibition hours:
10 July - 3 August
Wednesday - Saturday, 12pm - 5pm
Stonnington History Centre Exhibition Space 

Entry is free

Photo of exhibition guest speaker Exhibition talk: Reading Charles Dickens in colonial Australia

View our latest exhibition, ‘The best of times, the worst of times - a woman's lot in Charles Dickens’ and hear Professor Susan Martin discuss the importance of Charles Dickens' works to colonial Australians.

Susan K. Martin is Professor in English and Associate Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research) in the College of Arts, Social Sciences and Commerce, La Trobe University, Australia. Her research is in Australian literature, Australian studies and Victorian culture. Her books include Women and Empire (Australia) (Routledge, 2009) and Colonial Dickens (ASP, 2012) with Kylie Mirmohamadi.

Wednesday 31 July, 5.30pm - 6.30pm

Stonnington History Centre Exhibition Space

Bookings required. Book online or telephone 8290 1360.

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, 2pm-4pm: 3 July, 7 August, 4 September, 2 October, 6 November, 4 December. No bookings required.

By our deeds poster

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 GahanJohn ChandlerBarry FentonAnne O’SheaRay LangLeonie 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.

Green Street houseWho'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. 

Latest acquisitions

The History Centre recently received a beautiful Malvern Harriers trophy.

The Stonnington History Centre is on Pinterest 

Discover more of the history of Stonnington through our Stonnington History Centre Pinterest.