Victorian mourning jewellery

The tradition of wearing mourning jewellery to remember a loved one dates at least as far back as the 1600s. Here, we look at the basics of this fascinating custom and its symbolism, and how to identify Victorian mourning pieces. Mourning jewellery is most often associated with the Victorian period, popularised by Queen Victoria’s very … Read on

‘The Black Pub of Melbourne’

Melbourne’s Fitzroy drinking hole, the Builders Arms Hotel, was built in 1853 and is one of Melbourne/Narrm’s oldest pubs. It might seem like any of the other pubs pouring craft beers for an inner-city crowd but in a former life, this pub played a significant role in First Nations history. To understand why, we must … Read on

Sacred trees at risk in Victoria

On 26 October 2020, a sacred directions tree and place of worship for the Djab Wurrung people in western Victoria, was destroyed to make way for highway expansion. The tree stood just outside of Ararat, on a 12-kilometre stretch of land through which the Victorian Government is diverting the Western Highway – despite ongoing preservation … Read on

Muhammad Ali’s famous Fitzroy visit

Fitzroy’s Blak history is peppered with memorable events, but a visit from Muhammad Ali must be one of its most startling. In 1979, Muhammad Ali visited the Victorian Aboriginal Health Service on Gertrude Street. It was the same year he retired from boxing, and he was in Australia as a special guest at the Logies … Read on

Heraldry in family history

If you’ve discovered a family crest or coat of arms on your old family documents, you’re one of a lucky few Australian researchers. Heraldry refers to the design and use of coats of arms and their related symbols by the noble classes, which developed during the Middle Ages. Coats of arms can tell us important … Read on

A long history of protest

Content provided by Old Treasury Building Protest Melbourne, a new free exhibition at the Old Treasury Building in Melbourne, explores the many times Melburnians have taken to the streets to have their voices heard! Melbourne has a long history of protest, dating back to the 1840s. The first protests were about political rights, first for … Read on

Silverton: Australia’s forgotten town

Silverton today is characterised by vast horizons, flat terrain and colour – skies of the bluest blue, and rich orange soil dotted with green scrub. These features haven’t changed much since the town’s official naming in 1875, but residents at this time, who hailed from Europe’s cool climate and green landscape, must have found their … Read on

Martha Rendell: Perth’s evil stepmother

This is the story of aconvicted child killer and theonly woman to be hanged in Western Australia. As is often the case, our tale begins with an affair. Thomas Nicholls Morris and his wife, Sarah, had what she described as an unhappy and quarrelsome marriage, with Thomas having ‘kept’ a mistress, Martha Rendell. Looking for a … Read on

A journey back in time to Norfolk Island

Norfolk is a history-lover’s heaven. Traces takes a look back on Consulting Editor Eden Cox’s journey to Norfolk Island. As we boarded the Air New Zealand flight to Norfolk Island on a Friday morning, my partner and I chatted about Marcus Clarke’s fictional convict classic, For the Term of His Natural Life. In it, Clarke … Read on

Melbourne’s Little Lon

Right from the start, Little Lon was considered a place that respectable people should avoid. The stereotype was that the residents were all miscreants, scratching out crude livings in brothels, opium dens and sly grog houses. But six large-scale archaeological excavations over the past 30 years – including two in 2017 – have revealed through … Read on

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