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. We also run an exciting exhibition program and occasional tours of the building. For further information, please contact us.

Where bookings are required, they open at 10am on the first day of the month prior to the event.

All sessions take place at the Stonnington History Centre Exhibition Space 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 in publications and/or promotional materials, on our website and/or social media. See our privacy statement for further information.

 History Centre precinct map

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

Wednesday 10 July, 5pm - 7pm
Stonnington History Centre Exhibition Space 

Light refreshments provided. Free entry. No bookings required

Postcard for Women of Dickens exhibition

Upcoming 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.

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

Free event. Bookings required. Book online or telephone 8290 1360. 

Open House Melbourne logo

Open House Melbourne 2019

The Stonnington History Centre will be open on Sunday 28 July as part of Open House Melbourne. Other sites around Stonnington will also be participating in this popular annual weekend event. Some events will require bookings, as places are limited. More information can be found on the Open House Melbourne website.

Image of DNA strandHistory Matters: David Andreassen – DNA for family historians

Dr David Andreassen provides an introduction to DNA testing and what can be done with it, including being able to confirm or establish links in your family tree, and to identify your particular genetic origins. The various tests available will be covered.

Wednesday 7 August, 10.30am - 11.30am

Stonnington History Centre Exhibition Space

Free event. Bookings required. Book online or telephone 8290 1360. Bookings open at 10am on 1 July.

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

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(PDF, 2MB) guide.

Past Events

Exhibition: The Entrepreneurial Spirit 

Business postcard

This exhibition showcases local entrepreneurs, their businesses, products and stories. Meet the makers, manufacturers and magnates who lived and worked in Stonnington. Read early letters by Anthony Edwin Bowes Kelly (Founding Director of BHP), who lived in Glenferrie Road. Examine electric appliances made by the Marriotts in their Hecla factory in Chapel Street. Admire the works of award-winning local photographer Nicholas Caire, society photographer David Muntz, and see up close the hand-made shoes of Rocco Bufalo and his son. Read stories about how other local entrepreneurs established their enterprises, including: Ada Coggan (mica production), Peter O'Sullivan (Black Lance swimwear); the Joachim brothers (Leslie Knitting Mills); Arthur Tilley (soaps); Henry Jones (IXL jams); William Woodmason; the Pepperells; newspaper men Aubrey Brotherton and Henry Osment; coach builders Martin & King and A. W. Hinton; Tom Finnegan and Bruce Small's Malvern Star bicycles; and local foundry men including Enoch Chambers.

Armistice exhibition postcard

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. 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.

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

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. Hosted by the Stonnington History Centre, 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.

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 discover 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