125 matches for themes: 'built environment','a diverse state'Diverse state (125) Aboriginal culture (19) Built environment (36) Creative life (43) Family histories (8) Gold rush (6) Immigrants and emigrants (18) Kelly country (3) Land and ecology (20) Local stories (51) Service and sacrifice (13) Sporting life (3)
Rebuilding the school at Villers-Bretonneux, Victoria College
The Villers-Bretonneux School Photograph Collection features items of various formats that document the role of the Victorian Department of Education and the school children of Victoria in the rebuilding of the school at Villers-Bretonneux, France after its destruction in 1918 during World War I.
Re-named 'Victoria College', the Ecole de Garcons (Boys School) in Villers-Bretonneux was destroyed along with much of the town on the 25 April 1918 when the Australian 13th and 15th Brigades under Brigadier-General Glasgow and Brigadier-General Elliot respectively recaptured it from the Germans in a battle in which over 1,200 Australian soldiers were killed.
The school was rebuilt with donations from Australia. School children and their teachers helped the effort by asking for pennies - in what became known as the Penny Drive - while the Victorian Department of Education contributed 12,000 pounds to the War Relief Fund. The school was appropriately renamed 'Victoria'. The inauguration of the new school occurred on ANZAC Day in 1927. “N’oublions jamais l’Australie“ (Never forget Australia) is inscribed in the school hall. Wood carvings on the pillars in the hall depict Australian flora and fauna.
Almost 180,000 Australian troops served on the Western Front, from Belgium through northern France, during World War 1. Around 52,000 of them died, and around 11,000 were never accounted for; their names are recorded at the memorial at Villers-Bretonneux. In 1975 the Franco-Australian Museum was opened in the Ecole Victoria. Based largely on papers, uniforms and other mementos donated by Australians, the museum is supported by entry fees and a E15 ($27.50) annual subscription paid by 50 locals. In the same year the town hosted close to 5000 visitors (more than the population) for the first dawn Anzac Day service on the Somme.
The Villers-Bretonneux School Photograph Collection housed at Public Record Office Victoria is significant because it reflects Victoria's particular connection with Villers-Bretonneux and evokes the enduring gratitude and friendship between Australia and France.
Melbourne Trams: Step aboard!
'Introduction to Melbourne Trams: Step aboard!'
Written by Carla Pascoe, May 2012
Trams are what make Melbourne distinctive as a city. For interstate and overseas visitors, one of the experiences considered compulsory is to ride a tram. When Melbourne is presented to the rest of the world, the tram is often the icon used. The flying tram was one of the most unforgettable moments of the Opening Ceremony of the 2006 Commonwealth Games. When Queen Elizabeth II visited Australia in 2011, she was trundled with regal dignity along St Kilda Road in her very own ‘royal tram’.
The history of trams is closely bound up with the history of this southerly metropolis. Melbourne’s tram system originated during the 1880s economic boom when the Melbourne Tramway and Omnibus Company opened the first cable line. Cable tram routes soon criss-crossed much of the growing city and cable engine houses can still be seen in some inner suburbs, such as the grand building on the south-east corner of Gertrude and Nicholson streets, Fitzroy. Some older passengers like Daphne Rooms still remember riding cable cars.
In the late 19th century, cable and electric tram technologies were vying for supremacy. Australia’s first electric tram line opened in 1889, running through what was then farmland from Box Hill station to Doncaster. The only surviving clue that a tram line once traversed this eastern suburb is the eponymous Tram Road, which follows the former tram route in Doncaster.
Gradually, various local councils joined together to create municipal Tramways Trusts, constructing electric lines that extended the reach of the cable system. In 1920 the tram system came under centralised control when the Melbourne and Metropolitan Tramways Board (MMTB) consolidated the routes and began electrifying all cable lines.
Manpower shortages during World War II meant that Australian women stepped into many roles previously reserved for men. The tramways were no exception, with women being recruited as tram conductors for the first time. After the war, tram systems were slowly shut down in cities around both Australia and the world, as transport policies favoured the motor vehicle. But thanks to the stubborn resistance of MMTB Chairman, Sir Robert Risson, as well as the wide, flat streets that characterise the city’s geography, Melbourne retained its trams.
Melbourne’s tram industry has always possessed a unique workplace culture, characterised by fierce camaraderie and pride in the role of the ‘trammie’ (the nickname for a tram worker). Many Trammies, like Bruce MacKenzie, recall that they joined the tramways because a government job was seen as a job for life. But the reason they often remain for decades in the job is because of the strong bonds within the trammie ‘family’. This is partly due to the many social events and sporting clubs that have been attended by Trammies, as Bruce MacKenzie remembers. It is also because the demands of shift work bond people together, explains Roberto D’Andrea.
The tram industry once employed mainly working-class, Anglo-Australian men. After World War II, many returned servicemen joined the ranks, bringing a military-style discipline with them. With waves of post-war migration the industry became more ethnically diverse, as Lou Di Gregorio recalls. Initially receiving Italian and Greek workers from the 1950s and 1960s, from the 1970s the tramways welcomed an even broader range of Trammies, from Vietnamese, South American, Turkish and other backgrounds.
Trammies perform a wide range of tasks critical to keeping the system running, including driving, track maintenance, tram maintenance, time tabling, customer service and more. But just as designs of ‘rolling stock’ have changed - from the beloved veteran W class trams to the modern trams with their low floors, climate control and greater capacity - so too have the jobs of Trammies changed over time. Bruce MacKenzie remembers joining the Preston Workshops in the 1950s when all of Melbourne’s fleet was constructed by hand in this giant tram factory. Roberto D’Andrea fondly recalls the way that flamboyant conductors of the 1980s and 1990s would perform to a tram-load of passengers and get them talking together. As a passenger, Daphne Rooms remembers gratefully the helping role that the connies would play by offering a steadying arm or a piece of travel advice.
Trams have moved Melburnians around their metropolis for decades. As Daphne maintains, ‘If you can’t get there by tram, it’s not worth going’. Everyone has memories of their experiences travelling on trams: some funny, some heart-warming and some frustrating. Tram driver, Lenny Bates, tells the poignant story of the blind boy who would sometimes board his tram on Collins Street and unhesitatingly call out the names of the streets they passed. As the films in this collection demonstrate, every passenger has their routes that they customarily ride and these routes take on a personal meaning to their regulars. You could say that every tram line has its own distinct personality. Whilst the way the tram system is run inevitably changes across time, one thing has been constant: trams have always played a central role in the theatre of everyday life in Melbourne.
Scoot is a location based game produced to explore mobile phone technology and as a playful way to engage with Melbourne’s key cultural institutions. Scoot was created by artist Debra Polson through the Queensland University of Technology and produced by ACMI in collaboration with various cultural partners.
The Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) is a world leading cultural institution dedicated to celebrating and exploring games. As the first cultural centre in the world to have a dedicated games lab space, ACMI has been involved in the development and research of location based games.
Such location-based gaming allows for the development of relationships between people and spaces. Participant awareness of Melbourne’s cultural resources increases as they feel more comfortable engaging in the history and identity of the city via its arts institutions.
Artist and academic Debra Polson currently lectures in the field of interaction design at the Queensland University of Technology and is a project leader at the Australasian CRC for Interaction Design (ACID). Debra has worked as an interface designer on interactive games and various other multimedia productions and continues to design location-based games.
Her research interests lie in new immersive forms of game play that blur the edges between the digital and physical realms with a particular focus on the community interactions that emerge from these experiences and the potential for new multi-modal forms of entertainment and education within those communities.
Currently researchers and artists have been experimenting with ways to apply new forms of mobile technologies combined with digital media to examine new ways for people to interact in both physical and virtual spaces. Debra Polson has been particularly interested in how effectively they enhance the relationships between location, participants and cultural activities.
Collingwood Technical School
For over 140 years, the site of the former Collingwood Technical School on Johnston Street, Melbourne, has played an integral role in the well being of the local community.
It has been a civic hub, including courthouse (1853), Council Chambers (1860) and the Collingwood Artisans’ School of Design (1871). The school opened in 1912 when its first principal, Matthew Richmond, rang a bell on the street to attract new students. Collingwood was a poor and industrial suburb, and as a trade school, young boys were offered the opportunity to gain industrial employment skills.
Throughout the twentieth century, Collingwood Technical School supported the local and broader community. From training schemes for ex-servicemen who were suffering from post traumatic stress following World War I (1914-1918), to extra classes during the Great Depression, and the development of chrome and electroplating for machine parts for the Australian Army and Air Force during World War II (1939-1945).
The precinct between Johnston, Perry and Wellington Streets has transformed over time, including expansion with new buildings and school departments, and the change in the demographic of students as Collingwood evolved from an industrial centre to eventual gentrification. And in 1984, New York street artist, Keith Haring (1958-1990), painted a large mural onsite.
Collingwood Technical College closed in 1987 when it amalgamated with the Preston TAFE (Technical and Further Education) campus. Education classes continued until 2005 and the site sat empty for more than a decade, before a section was redeveloped for Circus Oz in 2013.
The former school now has a new identity as Collingwood Arts Precinct, and is being developed into an independent space for small and medium creative organisations. The heritage buildings will house the next generation of thinkers and makers, and will become a permanent home to the arts in Collingwood.
State Library Victoria
Early photographs: Indigenous Victorians
This selection of early photographs were taken by Antoine Fauchery and Richard Daintree between late 1857 and early 1859 for inclusion in their photographic series Sun Pictures of Victoria. The album consists of fifty albumen silver prints, twelve of which are photographs of Indigenous Victorians and were the first photographic series of Australian scenes presented for sale to the public.
Featuring Victorian scenes such as landscapes and gold mining activities, the series included 12 images of various Indigenous Victorians. Taking a very 19th Century approach to their subjects, the portraits show people in both traditional and western wear, documenting the effects of colonisation.
CULTURAL WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander users of this website are warned that this story contains images of deceased persons and places that could cause sorrow.
James Harrison: Journalist, Inventor and Visionary
Although largely unacknowledged today, James Harrison was a major figure in the history of the city of Geelong. A politician, engineer, inventor, publisher and journalist, he was a man of huge energy and diverse talents.
In the 1850s he invented the worlds first ice-making machine from experimentations begun along the Barwon River in Geelong. He was also the founding editor of the Geelong Advertiser, after purchasing an old press from John Pascoe Fawkner and he was an important public commentator in the colony. He was a member of Geelong's first town council and represented Geelong in the colony of Victoria's Legislative Assembly.
Although travelling to Britain, and producing the first large commercial ice making machines, his business enterprises were not a success. He pioneered the development of a precursor to the modern refrigerated transport container but it failed during an experimental shipment of refrigerated beef to England and he was financially ruined.
After his death at Point Henry, Geelong in 1893 the people of Geelong paid for his tombstone and it was inscribed with the biblical quotation "one soweth, one reapeth".
Jane Routley and Elizabeth Downes
Flinders Street Station
The current Flinders Street Station building has been part of the lives of Melbournians for over 100 years.
Inspired by the launch of the latest competition to put forward proposals for its restoration and reinvigoration, and to highlight some of the amazing Flinders Street-related material in Victoria's cultural collections, I will be celebrating the past, present and future of my favorite station.
Over the next few months, I will be recording impressions and stories found whilst exploring the station as it exists today, trawling the internet for related sounds and images (such as this timelapse) and featuring some of the wonderful images of the station that are held in Victoria's cultural collections. As a taster for my future posts, here's a selection of images that I've found.
Born in a Trunk and Living in a Suitcase
Whether bonded by blood or shared experience, family strongly underpins the foundations of the performing arts industry. "I was born in a trunk" is a familiar introductory phrase used by those born of theatrical parents.
This story tells of the great Australian theatrical managements of J.C. Williamson Ltd (The Firm), and the Tivoli Circuit.
It also provides insights into Australian theatrical families such as: Tony Sheldon, his mother Toni Lamond, father Frank Sheldon, grandparents Max Reddy and Stella Lamond, and aunt Helen Reddy; and Val Jellay and her husband Maurie Fields, who met and married while touring together in the travelling company Sorlie's.
In the theatrical industry people like Irene Mitchell, artistic director of the Little Theatre which became St Martin's Youth Arts Centre, Gertrude Johnson, artistic director of the National Theatre, and Betty Pounder, choreographer and casting agent for J.C. Williamson, provided role models and mentoring for a generation of Melbourne actors and performers.
The text above has been abstracted from an essay Born in a trunk and living out of a suitcase written by Carolyn Laffan for the publication The Australian Family: Images and Essays. The full text of the essay is available as part of this story.
The Performing Arts Museum (now known as The Arts Centre, Melbourne, Performing Arts Collection) produced the exhibition Kindred Spirits - The Performing Arts Family as part of The Australian Familyproject, which involved 20 Victorian museums and galleries. The full series of essays and images are available in The Australian Family: Images and Essays published by Scribe Publications, Melbourne 1998, edited by Anna Epstein. The book comprises specially commissioned and carefully researched essays with accompanying artworks and illustrations from each participating institution.
Digital Stories of the Mind and Body
Stories of the mind and body are a tribute to the resilience of the human mind and spirit in dealing with the challenges of the body.
The Australia Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) has developed its digital storytelling program in partnership with many health and community advocacy organisations to serve people with special needs or life issues.
Participants associated with these organisations have taken part in the ACMI digital storytelling workshop to tell their unique stories of courage and survival. These personal narratives have provided an opportunity for the participants to use their creativity and voice as a centrepiece for health promotion and social justice efforts.
Paintings Porcelain and Photography
Geelong Gallery was established in 1896 by twelve passionate citizens who believed Victoria's second largest and fastest growing city deserved an art institution befitting an aspiring metropolis. Since then, Geelong Gallery has established a collection of some 6,000 items – significant amongst these items are their holdings of paintings, porcelain and photography.
The gallery’s collection of Australian painting tells the history of the region from colonial times to the early twentieth century. Eugene von Guerard’s View of Geelong provides a sweeping panorama of Geelong seen from a vantage point near the village of Ceres in the nearby Barrabool Hills in 1856. While Arthur Streeton’s painting Ocean blue, Lorne, one of the gallery’s most recent acquisitions, depicts a shimmering summery sky, a view through slender young gum trees and down to the pristine sand and aquamarine ocean below in the 1920’s.
Geelong Gallery has a large and specialised collection of British painted porcelain spanning 1750 – 1850. It is one of the most significant holdings in Australia and is part of a bequest by well-known local citizen Dorothy McAllister. A fine example is the 'Buckingham Palace' card tray by renowned manufacturer Worcester dating to the 1840’s.
The gallery’s photographic collection is very much of the twentieth century, but not without references to earlier times and other works in the collection. Polixeni Papapetrou’s photograph In the Wimmera 1864 #1 created in 2006 examines the narrative of the ‘lost child’ and refers to Frederick McCubbin’s late nineteenth century paintings of children ‘lost’ or at least wandering absent-mindedly through the Australian bush.
Lorraine Northey Connelly
Once a symbol of cultural survival, traditional crafts have in recent years become a means of reaffirming cultural identity.
In the hands of Waradgerie artist Lorraine Northey Connelly, this rich tradition undergoes further reinterpretation. She transforms woven string baskets and coolamons into contemporary colonial artefacts, using rustic materials, synthetic paint, ochre painted on sheets of corrugated iron, scrap metals and wire netting: expressive of a shared history and her own heritage of mixed cultures.
Over the past fourteen years Lorraine has been re-discovering her childhood environments, namely the mallee and riverine, acquiring a knowledge of local native and introduced plants and their cultural uses. Lorraine's personal interest in the protection of the environment and equality for all is represented in her art, through the use of recycled materials and symbols of reconciliation.
Collecting Fire: A new kind of practice
The fires of February 2009 left an indelible mark on the histories of Victoria’s community collecting organisations; whether through blackened ash markings or by the absence of once cherished objects and ephemera.
This exploration of Victoria’s collecting response to the Black Saturday bushfires is inspired by Liza Dale‐Hallett, Rebecca Carland and Peg Fraser’s reflections on the Victorian Bushfires Collection project, in 'Sites of Trauma: Contemporary Collecting and Natural Disaster'.
Time Flies in Museum Collections: Ornithology in Victoria
Natural science collections are vast treasure troves of biological data which inform current research and conservation.
Alongside bird skins, nests, eggs and DNA samples sits a magnificent collection of rare books, illustrations and images which charts the history of amateur and professional ornithology in Victoria.
Whilst the big names such as John Gould (1804–1881), are represented, the very local, independent bird observers such as John Cotton (1801-1849) and Archibald James Campbell (1853–1929) made some of the most enduring contributions.
The collections also document the bird observers themselves; their work in the field, building collections, their efforts to publish and the growth of their ornithological networks. Captured within records are changes in ornithological methods, particularly the way data is captured and published.
However the data itself remains as relevant today as it did when first recorded, 160 years of collecting gives us a long-term picture of birdlife in Victoria through space and time.
Seeing the Land from an Aboriginal Canoe
This project explores the significant contribution Aboriginal people made in colonial times by guiding people and stock across the river systems of Victoria.
Before European colonisation Aboriginal people managed the place we now know as Victoria for millennia. Waterways were a big part of that management. Rivers and waterholes were part of the spiritual landscape, they were valuable sources of food and resources, and rivers were a useful way to travel. Skills such as swimming, fishing, canoe building and navigation were an important aspect of Aboriginal Victorian life.
European explorers and colonists arrived in Victoria from the 1830s onwards. The newcomers dispossessed the Aboriginal people of their land, moving swiftly to the best sites which tended to be close to water resources. At times it was a violent dispossession. There was resistance. There were massacres. People were forcibly moved from their traditional lands. This is well known. What is less well known is the ways Aboriginal people helped the newcomers understand and survive in their new environment. And Victoria’s river system was a significant part of that new environment.
To understand this world we need to cast ourselves back into the 19th century to a time before bridges and cars, where rivers were central to transport and movement of goods and people. All people who lived in this landscape needed water, but water was also dangerous. Rivers flooded. You could drown in them. And in that early period many Europeans did not know how to swim. So there was a real dilemma for the newcomers settling in Victoria – how to safely cross the rivers and use the rivers to transport stock and goods.
The newcomers benefited greatly from Aboriginal navigational skills and the Aboriginal bark canoe.
Rural City of Wangaratta / State Library Victoria
The Last Stand of the Kelly Gang: Sites in Glenrowan
Ned Kelly, born in June 1855 at Beveridge, north-east of Melbourne, Northern Victoria, came to public attention as a bushranger in the late 1870s.
He was hanged at the Melbourne Gaol, November 11th, 1880. Kelly is perhaps Australia’s best known folk hero, not least of all because of the iconic armour donned by his gang in what became known as the Siege at Glenrowan (or The Last Stand), the event that led to Ned Kelly’s capture and subsequent execution.
The siege at Glenrowan on Monday, June 28th, 1880, was the result of a plan by the Kelly Gang to derail a Police Special Train carrying Indigenous trackers (the Gang's primary targets), into a deep gully adjacent to the railway line. The plan was put into effect on Saturday, June 26 with the murder [near Beechworth] of Aaron Sherritt, a police informant, the idea being to draw the Police Special Train through the township of Glenrowan, an area the local Kellys knew intimately. After the Glenrowan Affair, the Kelly Gang planned to ride on to Benalla, blow up the undermanned police station and rob some banks.
However, Ned miscalculated, thinking the train would come from Benalla not Melbourne. Instead of the 12 hours he thought it would take for a police contingent to be organized and sent on its way from Benalla, the train took 31 hours to reach Glenrowan. This resulted in a protracted and uncertain wait, leading to the long period of containment of more than 60 hostages in the Ann Jones Inn. It also resulted in a seriously sleep deprived Kelly Gang and allowed for the intervention of Thomas Curnow, a hostage who convinced Ned that he needed to take his sick wife home, enabling him to get away and warn the Police Special train of the danger.
Eventually, in the early morning darkness of Monday, June 28th, the Police Special train slowly pulled into Glenrowan Railway Station, and the police contingent on board disembarked. The siege of the Glenrowan Inn began, terminating with its destruction by fire in the mid afternoon, and the deaths of Joe Byrne, Dan Kelly and Steve Hart. Earlier, shortly after daylight on the 29th, Ned was captured about 100 metres north east of the Inn.
Glenrowan is situated on the Hume Freeway, 16 kms south of Wangaratta. The siege precinct and Siege Street have State and National Heritage listing. The town centre, bounded by Church, Gladstone, Byrne and Beaconsfield parade, including the Railway Reserve and Ann Jones’ Inn siege site, have State and National listing.
Viewbank: Unearthing a Colonial Homestead
Viewbank Homestead was one of the first grand homesteads built on the outskirts of Melbourne. Built around 1840, Viewbank was located near the junction of the Yarra and Plenty Rivers in Heidelberg.
The homestead was built in two phases. Originally a four room house, it was renovated and expanded in the 1850s and 1860s after it was acquired by wealthy squatter Dr Robert Martin.
Viewbank was destroyed by a professional demolition team in the early 1920s, long after the Martin family moved away from the area. By then, the house had fallen into disrepair and locals believed that it was haunted. For most of the 20th century, cattle grazed over the ruins and knowledge of the former grand homestead slipped from public knowledge until archaeologists returned to the site to unlock its secrets.
Between 1996 and 1999, Heritage Victoria conducted three excavations at the site with help from archaeologists from Melbourne, La Trobe and Flinders Universities, and more than 140 archaeology students and community members.
The archaeologists uncovered the stone foundations of the house and remnants of hand-made brick walls, fireplaces and other features. A range of artefacts were found during the excavation including children’s toys, coins, gaming tokens, thimbles and pins. A network of servant’s bells, fragments of marble fireplaces, and pieces of richly decorated plaster cornices reflect the affluence of the Martin family.
This story is made up of audio interviews with an archaeologist, an historian and a conservator. They discuss the Viewbank excavation, describe the artefacts found there and explain the process of their conservation at the Heritage Victoria conservation laboratory.
The Viewbank Homestead is listed on the Victorian Heritage Register. For more information on the Viewbank or other heritage sites visit The Victorian Heritage Database.