Sneak Peek: Melbourne’s Pentridge Prison

For many years after its construction in 1850, Melbourne’s Her Majesty’s Prison Pentridge was a place of dread. Today, though it has a grim and violent history, Pentridge is an entirely different place. Inmates inside the controversial housing facility have included some of Australia’s notorious criminals – among them Ned Kelly and Chopper Read – … Read on

Fitzroy stories part 1: a First Nations history of Fitzroy

During the 1920s, many Aboriginal people moved to Fitzroy, Victoria, attracted by job prospects and cheap rent. Now replete with wine bars, bakeries and fancy restaurants, Fitzroy was once known as ‘Melbourne’s worst slum,’ but it was a thriving First Nations space with a real sense of community. By the 1940s, Fitzroy had the largest … Read on

Egyptomania in the Victorian era

In the Victorian-era, England was swept with a new craze for ancient antiquities ­– in particular, those originating from Egypt. The fascination has become known as ‘Egyptomania’, and it reveals the culture of curiosity, discovery and exploration that exemplifies the Victorian era. Egypt had entered international news in 1822, when the Rosetta Stone was translated, … Read on

The world’s first feature film

Australia’s contributions to filmmaking are significant – for example, we were the first in the world to extend films to feature-long narratives. Very few people know that Australia is also responsible for the world’s first feature-length film – The Story of the Kelly Gang. It’s also the first ever film about Ned Kelly, the first … 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

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