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Kew Historical Society Inc Kew, Victoria

Founded in 1958, the Kew Historical Society is one of the oldest suburban historical societies in Melbourne. The Society was formed to assist in the preparations for Kew’s 100th Anniversary in 1960. Today, the Society continues to work with local government and other organisations within Kew to stimulate interest in our history and heritage. It publishes, in print and online, information and resources about Kew’s history, as well as organising events relevant to our heritage. The Society cooperates with other historical societies and groups across the City of Boroondara through the Boroondara Historical Societies Association.

Links

Contact Information

location
PO Box 175 Kew Victoria 3101

Contact

Opening Hours

Fridays & Saturdays 11.00am to 1.00pm. Closed in January.

Entry Fee

Free entry

Location

Level 1, Kew Court House 188 High Street Kew Victoria

The Kew Historical Society was founded in 1958, and the collection predates and postdates that year. The collection has sometimes grown gradually, or significantly, the latter through key donations (eg The Rogers Collection), or due to events such as the amalgamation of the former City of Kew into the new City of Boroondara in 1994. Many ‘civic’ items were donated before, during or after the amalgamation. These records are digitised by the Kew Historical Society on Victorian Collections for the purposes of education and preservation. If you believe that we have infringed your copyright please contact us and we will remove the material from the site.

Significance

The collection as a whole fulfills the criteria for very strong historical, aesthetic and research significance at a local level. It also has many outstanding associations with state themes, figures and events and quite a few that resonate at a national level. The costume and textiles, map and picture collections each have very strong historical, research and aesthetic significance of their own accord. The degree of their significance is greatly enhanced by all of the comparative criteria: interpretive value, provenance, condition, integrity, rarity and representativeness.

The costume collection has a very high degree of aesthetic significance for its beauty, quality and workmanship. There are some items that are associated with nationally significant designers, or with Kew donors who have made an impact on society at a local and a state level (ie Prue Acton, Jinoel of Melbourne, Oggi Fashion House). The strong degree of provenance and high quality of the design and dressmaking that went into the production of these clothes strengthens the research significance of this sub-collection for those interested in fashion, textiles and dressmaking. This costume collection includes items that date back to the 1850s (patchwork Denbigh quilt) through to the 1980s, and that reflect changing styles, technologies, textiles and production methods.

The picture collection has some items that have high local significance such as the Josiah Barnes photograph ‘Kew proclaimed a city’, which was taken on that day – 10 March 1921, and the ‘Unveiling of the Kew War Memorial’ on August 30 1925 in front of an audience of over 5,000 people and presided over by the Kew Mayor and the Governor of Victoria. Both of these important images also have significance to state and national processes of municipal development and memorializing war. The mayoral portraits (part of the picture collection) have a very high degree of historical and research significance for their associations, enhanced by strong provenance and technical qualities. Eminent photographers took many of the portraits and the subjects are people who have made a significant contribution to the welfare and development of Kew and, in the case of some of the Mayors in this collection, of the state or even the nation. This includes people such as Stanley Argyle (Premier of Victoria 1932-35) and William Kerr (influential businessman and federal government advisor in the early decades of the 20th century). The significance threshold of this sub-collection is therefore likely to be of state significance at the least.

The maps and plans number some 300 or more and include some fascinating and important maps beyond the MMBW sub-collection that, itself, holds some unique items and has been discussed at length in this report. Other much earlier and hand drawn maps such as ‘Back to Kew’ (c.1875) and ‘Site of the first house in Kew Central’ (undated) are historically fascinating. In the case of ‘Back to Kew’ it is the detail of the built, natural and social landscape of Kew, which was also annotated and added to several times in subsequent decades to show the development of the area. In the case of ‘Site of the first house in Kew Central’ it is the careful recording of the garden layout and the nature of domesticity in these early days of European settlement that is both fascinating and rare to find in any local history collection. While not all the items are original the map and plan collection has a very high degree of historical and research significance.

Provenance for much of the collection is strong, and therefore supportive of its historical, research and interpretive value. Certainly the interpretive capacity for understanding a detailed and nuanced history of Kew on many levels, as well as touching or reflecting on wider stories on a state or national stage is very high.

Russell, Emma, 'Kew Historical Society Significance Assessment | Collection', History@Work, 2018

Cameron Auty 26 April 2016 9:48 AM

Amazing hat collection, these are a great addition to the site - Site admin.

Leave a comment

2190 items with images

Photograph - Artists of Kew Exhibition, Southesk

Key words

kew historical society - members
alma figuerola
cr whs dickinson
exhibitions - kew (vic)
southesk - cotham road - kew (vic)
southesk - south esk - ordsall

Photograph of a group of adults attending an exhibition entitled Artists of Kew. Two people have been identified in the photograph - Cr WHS Dickinson and Alma Figuerola at centre. The location of the exhibition would appear to be at Southesk in Cotham Road. the year has not been identified. Both Miss Figuerola and Cr Dickinson were foundation members of the Kew Historical Society.

Historical information

Kew Historical Society, Alma Figuerola, Cr WHS Dickinson, exhibitions - kew (Vic), southesk - cotham road -Kew (Vic)

Inscriptions & Markings

Reverse: "Artists of Kew Exhibition. Founder of KHS Cr Dickinson in dark suit. Miss Alma Figrierola [sic] to his left". "KH-97"

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Photographs - The Grip of Time, Kew Civic Hall, circa 1973

Key words

public sculpture - kew (vic)
kew civic hall
kew library
the grip of time

Two colour polaroid photographs of the sculpture 'The Grip of Time' on the north exterior wall of the Kew Library. At left is the coat of arms of the City of Kew. The sculpture was purchased and donated to the City of Kew by Mrs Laurel Abercrombie. The artwork was created by Peter Schipperheyn.

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Photograph - The Cast

Key words

cast photographs
theatre - melbourne

Cast, Unidentified Production, Kew (?)

Inscriptions & Markings

The photograph was originally identified as possibly being the Kew Light Opera Company, however the photograph precedes its foundation. It is more likely to be a performance by a church group.

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Photograph - The Cast

Key words

cast photographs
theatre - melbourne

Cast, Unidentified Production, Kew (?)

Inscriptions & Markings

The photograph was originally identified as possibly being the Kew Light Opera Company, however the photograph precedes its foundation. It is more likely to be a performance by a church group.

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Photograph - Fancy Dress Social, Kew Presbyterian Church Hall, Kew, 1925

Key words

presbyterian church - kew (vic)
kew presbyterian church - young men's bible class
churches - social activities - 1920s

Group photograph of young men in attendance at a fancy dress social at the Kew Presbyterian Church Hall in 1925. The photo would indicate that the event was a young men only event. The Society has photographs of the event in 1922 and 1925.

Inscriptions & Markings

Later hand: "1925. Annual Fancy Dress Social. Kew Presbyterian Young Men's Bible Class"

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Photograph - Fancy Dress Social, Kew Presbyterian Church Hall, Kew, 1922

Key words

presbyterian church - kew (vic)
kew presbyterian church - young men's bible class
churches - social activities - 1920s

Group photograph of participants in a fancy dress social at the Kew Presbyterian Church Hall in 1922. It is believed that the group was the Young Men's Bible Class who held this event annually. The Society has photographs of the event in 1922 and 1925.

Inscriptions & Markings

Later hand: "Masked Fancy Dress Social, Kew Presbyterian Hall, November 1922"

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Photograph - Kew Congregational Church, South Esk, circa 1900

Key words

congregational church - kew (vic)
south esk - south esk - ordsall - kew (vic)

Members of the Kew Congregational Church in front of one of the verandas of Southesk, circa 1900.

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Business Cards - Alice Anderson's Motor Garage, 1918-1920

Key words

alice anderson
motor garages - kew (vic)
business cards
women - australia - victoria - melbourne - kew

Three business cards used by Alice Anderson in promoting her Kew garage. The reverse of each card lists the rates of hire. The cards are dated on the reverse as dating from 1918 and 1920.

Significance

Alice Anderson was a pioneering Australian female motor mechanic. These are important primary sources as they date the location and dates of operation of her garages in Kew. They also interestingly list her rates and charges.

Inscriptions & Markings

Old accession numbers - kh-376. A letter accompanying the donation provides the provenance of the business cards.

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Photograph - Interior, Kew Congregational Church, Walpole Street (Kew)

Key words

wapole street - kew (vic)
congregational churches - kew (vic)
chirch interiors

Black and white photograph, on card, featuring the interior of the Kew Congregational Church. Shows detail of pews, pulpit and ornate brickwork.

Historical information

The first Kew Congregational Church in Walpole Street, was designed by Charles Vickers, and opened in 1860. The second church on the site, designed by the architect Charles Wharton was demolished in 1970s.

Inscriptions & Markings

Front: "The Sears Studio" "Melbourne" [printed on mounting board]. Reverse: "P. Inside of Kew Congregational Church"

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Photograph - Overton Bible Class Kew, S Chapman Esq.

Key words

overton
stanley chapman
bible classes
kew methodist church

A commemorative collection of oval photos with names below arranged around a central photo of S Chapman Esq. E. Mitchell, W. Gall, A. Tonkin,B Keene, , W Waugh, W A Blake, F Walsh, G Lamble, F Loxton, A Scott, A T Glasson, G Vimpani, W Wood, A Halloway, W A Robinson Hon Sec., W McCagheen, P Shier, , , H Lamble, K Pearson, , ,

Historical information

The bible class met at "Overton" the residence of Stanley Chapman at 33 Pakington Street Kew, There is a photograph of Overton on the State Library of Victoria website

Inscriptions & Markings

Reverse: "Donated to Kew Historical Society by Miss Y Dalton" [1990]

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Photograph [copy] - Opening Ceremony, Baby Health Centre, Peel Street (North Kew)

Key words

north kew baby health centre
peel street (kew)
baby health centres - kew (vic)
kew north

Black and white photocopy of a photograph showing mothers, their children sitting on the verandah wall, officials. All mothers wear hats and most of the children.

Historical information

The North Kew Centre was the third established at North Kew. It followed a lease of a house at 50 Willsmere Road. The Peel Street building was designed by Mr Chipperfield. Messrs McIntosh and Taylor were the successful tenderers, the price being 1,240 pounds.

Inscriptions & Markings

Later inscription: "1930 Opening Ceremony Peel St Kew North Baby Health Centre"

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Photograph - Reunion ~ Past and Present Members of Kew Presbyterian Young Mens' Bible Class, 1924

Key words

kew presbyterian church
presbyterian churches - kew (vic)
bible classes

Posed photograph of Reunion of Past and Present Members of Kew Presbyterian Young Men's Bible Class. The men are seated in 5 rows on a raised wooden floor. Wooden board hanging on the wall behind the men reads Presbyterian Church of Victoria. Possibly the church hall with stage curtains

Inscriptions & Markings

On front Reunion Past and Present Members of Kew Presbyterian Young Mens' Bible Class. 1924" On reverse "Reunion Some of the Past and Present Members Oct 1924. Unclear ?YMBC"

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Archaeological Material - Rusted Horse Shoe, Horse Tramways Shed, High Street (Kew)

Key words

horse tram - kew (vic)
archaeological items - kew (vic)
horse shoes
kew recreation centre
council depots - kew (vic)
tram sheds - kew (vic)

Horse shoe excavated from the Kew Recreation Centre site [old Council Depot] in High Street, Kew donated by Mr Poulter, City Engineer, City of Kew. The shoe may have been made for one of the horses that pulled the Kew Horse Tram.

Historical information

The site on which the shoe was discovered has had a number of uses before it was a Council Depot. The site is marked on the old Board of Works map as a Tram Shed.

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Desk Set - Pen & Ink Stand, circa 1963

Key words

handicrafts
desk sets
pen holders
st paul's cathedral - melbourne (vic)

Desk set made of wood from St Paul's Cathedral with an added metal and enamel calendar. A history of the item is stuck on the reverse.

Inscriptions & Markings

"St Paul's Cathedral Melbourne. Foundation stone, 1880; Consecrated, 1891; Spires completed, 1931; Exterior length, 317'; Moorhouse Spire, 317 feet in height. The Bells of St Paul's Cathedral were supported on this timber of English oak from 1891 to 1963 when, during the absence of the bells for tuning in Loughborough, England, the timber was replaced with a steel frame. Refer Cathedral Guide Book, page 10, by Rev Godfrey Kircher"

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Tin - Ballard & Bowsers, Butterscotch

Old lolly tin with an art nouveau design in a darker metal on the lid. The interior contains a floral spray of lily of the valley made from pressed metal. The title is definitely Ballard & Bowsers rather than Callard and Bowsers.

Historical information

Trove contains one newspaper reference to a firm called Ballard & Bowsers. This is in a report on the International Exhibition of 1862. So the company predates the English firm of Callard & Bowsers. Perhaps it is a late Victorian example of piracy of trade names.

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Archaeological Materials - Inscribed Moreton Bay Fig Leaves, Hawthorn (Vic)

Key words

denham street - hawthorn (vic)
palmer's punt
invergowrie - hawthorn
1934 flood - melbourne - hawthorn (vic)

Dried Moreton Bay fig leaves from the vicinity of Palmer's Punt near Denham Street Hawthorn. Each leaf was inscribed by the historian Dorothy Rogers (sic) before 1973. The leaves are brittle and undated, with the text difficult to decipher.

Inscriptions & Markings

1974.0010.1 "Moreton Bay fig leaf from old tree foot of Derham St Haw - vicinity Palmer's Punt until 1934 flood & hut for Punt passengers was still there. KH-355." 1974.0010.2 "Moreton Bay fig leaf from old tree foot of Denham St haw - vicinity Palmer's Punt until 1934 flood hut for punt passengers still existed there. A canoe tree in garden from Sir J. Palmer's land. KH-355." 1974.0010.3 "Moreton Bay fig leaf from old tree foot of Denham St leading to Palmer's Punt until 1934 flood there was still there a hut for punt passengers. Canoe tree in gardens from Sir J. Palmer's land. KH-355."

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Household Textile - Supper cloth

Key words

supper cloths
textiles - embroideries

Square white cotton embroidered supper cloth with pink hollyhocks and grass with blue crosses.

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Household Textile - Throw

Square white cotton voile throw

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Household Textile - Pillow Cover

Key words

pillow cases
textiles - embroideries
bed linen
household linens

Rectangular white cotton cut work pillow cover with applied lace

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Household Textile - Bolster Cover

Key words

bolster cover
bed linen
textiles
household textiles

Rectangular white cotton embroidered bolster cover

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Household Textile - Tray cloth

Key words

tray cloths
household linens
textiles - embroideries

White embroidered cotton rectangular tray cloth with applied lace edge.

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Household Textile - Doily

Key words

doilies
household linens
textiles - embroideries

Circular white cotton doily Coloured embroidery with tatted edge. Embroidered blue basket of flowers with pink roses and green scrolls with pink roses

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Textile - Tray cloth

Rectangular white cotton tray cloth. Cut work with worked edge

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Household Textile - Tray cloth

Rectangular white cotton tray cloth. With worked lace border, cut lace inset

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Household Textile - Doily

Key words

household textiles
doilys

Circular white cotton doily. With applied lace.

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Household Textile - Runner

Key words

household textiles
table runners

White cotton runner. Inserted lace and edged with applied lace.

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Household Textile - Tray Cloth

Key words

household textiles
tray cloths

White tray cloth with cut stitch border, edged with applied lace, gathered at corners.

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Household Textile - Tray Cloth

Key words

tray cloths
household textiles

Embroidered tray cloth. Pink and yellow flowers in each corner.

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Household Textile - Pair of Embroidered Cotton Table Runners

Key words

table runners
household textiles

Off white cotton cross stitched table runner. Crotcheted edge in brown and pink. Rectangular with triangular ends. Cross stitch design in pink and brown with a few blue stitches.

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Household Textile - Doily

Key words

doilys
household textiles

Round white cotton doily with crocheted border

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Household Textile - Tea Cosy Cover

Key words

tea cosy covers
household textiles

White linen embroidered tea cosy cover. Broderie Anglais. Crotcheted edge

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Household Textile - Table Runner

Key words

table runners
household textiles

White linen runner Crotcheted edge

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Household Textile - Doily

Key words

household textiles
doilys

White circular embroidered doily with crocheted lace edging. Three violet pansies with white leaves. Possible Semco kit Punctured holes.

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Household Textile - Sandwich Tray Doily

Beige embroidered oval doily with crotcheted lace edging. Crotcheted through fabric. Roses and rosebuds. Holes obtained from crochet hook. Possible Semco kit, some of printed design still visible

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Household Textile

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Household Textile

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Household Textile

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Household Textile

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Household Textile

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Household Textile

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Household Textile

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Household Textile

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Household Textile

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Household Textile

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Household Textile

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Household Textile

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Household Textile

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Household Textile - Handkerchief

Square white linen handkerchief with triangular lace edging on all four corners. Central cloth

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Household Textile - Handkerchief sachet

White cotton embroidered handkerchief sachet with

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew

Household Textile - Guest hand towel

White linen hand towel. Embroidered one end scalloped, edged the other. Embroidered with MAK. Salvage both sides.

Kew Historical Society Inc, Kew