Sharing nostalgia about Melbourne | Memorabilia, Antiques & Collectibles

Ripponlea is showing Miss Fisher Fashions

A beautiful exhibit of period fashions created for the Miss Fisher Mysteries television show, is now being featured at the elegant Ripponlea estate. It’s a real treat to see how the presentation and design of the show is integrated into the vintage setting of the Ripponlea mansion. Marion Boyce’s design talents shine throughout. The estate also features exceptionally kept gardens including a lake, windmill, aviary, tower and waterfall. A real treat for a day out in the Melbourne surrounds.

Elvis Presley in Melbourne Cemetery?

The Elvis Presley Fan Club had gone to great expense to create this elaborate “grotto” memorial to their king in Melbourne General Cemetery after he died. Curious that they did this instead of using this large sum of money to keep his memory alive by creating live music events dedicated to Elvis for years to come! It is also noted that he never did come to Melbourne in his lifetime.

  1. Mike Conga: thank you for that grave photo , never knew that there was one erected here in Australia to the king , I have a lot of memorabilia of the king and some with finger prints and other from actual hotels rooms and movie sets of the King ,,.... will share photos with you all soon

  2. JudyVanessa: Send us the link to your photos--For all the Melbournian Elvis fans!

West Melbourne land sale 1913

This is an interesting advertising poster for building sites in West Melbourne at the Old Benevolent Asylum which has a hand written notation dated 14th February 1913 saying that total sales to date are £18949.10.9.

It seems that buyers were not concerned about the site’s history and were more interested in “the commanding position overlooking city and harbour”.

Slades Soft Drink Signs

Submitted by Taleah Welsh – Here are some signs from a true Australian Company. Originated in the late 1800’s, Slades was well known for its first brewery of table ales, Angus O’Neil’s Ginger Beer and Root Beer. –
Originated in the late 1800’s, Slades was well known for its first brewery of table ales, Angus O’Neil’s Ginger Beer and Root Beer.

Bohemian Melbourne – Vali Myers at the State Library

At the Bohemian Exhibit in the State Library, Vali Myers is a featured attraction. She defied classification– extraordinary, Bohemian, seer, warrior, muse, gypsy. All true, but one word alone could not define her.

She had been painted by Sidney Nolan and photographed by Dutch photographer Ed Vander Elsken. Myers had danced on stage at the Royal Albert Hall for Donovan, and crossed paths with Salvador Dali, Tennessee Williams, John Lennon, Debbie Harry and Patti Smith.

In 1993, 43 years after she left Melbourne, she returned from Paris and Italy. Her studio in the Nicholas Building in Swanston Street became a place where friends and admirers could stop by. Her prints covered the walls, with exotic ornaments and teetering stacks of books everywhere.

Read more:

1940’s movie of Melbourne

Check out this 1940’s 16mm film of a holiday in Melbourne by an unknown person. It was discovered at a garage sale in San Jose, California by Tim Peddy and digitally converted courtesy of The California Pioneers of Santa Clara County.
more here …

MPavilion, Queen Victoria Gardens

Each year for the next four years an outstanding architect will be commissioned to design a temporary pavilion for the Queen Victoria Gardens, in the centre of the vibrant Southbank Arts Precinct.

The 2014 MPavilion has been designed by Australian architect Sean Godsell. It’s a new kind of clubhouse—a meeting place and a starting point from which to explore a free four-month program of talks, workshops, performances and installations from October to February.

Wall Art Mural by RONE, 80 Collins Street

As seen from Exhibition Street in Melbourne- This is what RONE has to say about his art:

“This is has been said to be the largest mural by one person in Australia. I can’t confirm this but would be great to hear if anyone knows any different?

This is one of those walls you dream of. It took a lot longer than expected and was no doubt the most challaging project I had ever taken on. After 7 days for 10 hours a day, the 9 storey wall was complete.-

The Pole House, Great Ocean Road

The Pole House at Fairhaven was built by Frank Dixon in the seventies, and instantly became a landmark, a manmade natural attraction.
It is still such a memorable sight, that one has to take a photo while passing along the beautiful coastline.
Luckily, it can all be yours for just the rental fee of $2800/wk! Check it out at:

  1. Brian: A monument to arrogance . . .Spoil everyone else's view of a great natural view with the pimple so they could improve their view!

Jean Paul Gaultier exhibition NGV

She’s a Melbourne girl!

National Gallery of Victoria

Happy International Music Day! Jean Paul Gaultier has collaborated with the crème de la crème of pop & rock, from Beyoncé & Madonna to Boy George & Nirvana. Here’s a costume he designed for Kylie Minogue’s Kiss Me Once Tour, view more in The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier, buy your tickets at (Image via Ken McKay)

The Dress Dame Edna wore – Joan Rivers show

In 1988, Dame Edna wore this Cockatoo adorned frock, designed by Bill Goodwin. A gift of Barry Humphries, in 1999, it was shown in an exhibit at the Arts Centre in Melbourne.

  1. About Dame Edna’s Amazing Signature Style | ALEXONLIFE: […] If you share her confident personality (or want to draw yours out), you can bring her into your signature style quite easily through bold colours and flamboyant silhouettes. You could also choose a distinctive signature piece for frequent wear like her glasses, a large necklace or a big watch. You might not be ready for her breakfast dress, but you could work your way there from something like this or…

  2. About Dame Edna's Amazing Signature Style - Alexandria Blaelock: […] If you share her confident personality (or want to draw yours out), you can bring her into your signature style quite easily through bold colours and flamboyant silhouettes. You could also choose a distinctive signature piece for frequent wear like her glasses, a large necklace or a big watch. You might not be ready for her breakfast dress, but you could work your way there from something like this or…

King Willie Weetie


Who remembers King Willy Weetie and fighting for the cereal toy or card?

  1. Yvonne Preston: This has bought back so many memories. It was our household breakfast for many years. We aways said if we were not fast at running or didn't do something to our best "You didn't have your weeties this morning" Thanks for the lovely memory.

  2. JudyVanessa: Thanks Yvonne for your thoughts!

Phar Lap the ‘wonder horse’

He lived fast, died young and left a beautiful corpse and is an Australian legend.

During the Great Depression and times of extreme hardship, Phar Lap the wonder horse, bought hope and inspiration to Australians. He was strong, courageous and never gave up.
He quickly became an Australian legend, winning 36 races from 41 starts, including North America’s richest race in 1932, The Agua Caliente Handicap.

The reason he died young is still being debated, some saying he was poisoned in America.

You can view his corpse along with heaps of other interesting memorabilia at Museum Victoria.

Kirk’s Horse Bazaar

In 1857 the Melbourne Punch newspaper described Bourke Street West as the “Wild Sports of the West” due to Kirk’s Melbourne Horse and Carriage Bazaar.
Situated in Hardware Lane in consisted of harness rooms, haylofts, granaries, farriers, saddlers, and the ‘bull ring’ for unbroken horses and had a vibrant and hectic atmosphere. Hundreds of horses were auctioned every week and mobs were driven down from the country. It was a thriving business.

In 1861 the Bazaar was front line news when an argument erupted between a well known trainer, Anthony Green and cross-country jockey Martin Rice who was under the influence of alcohol. The jockey picked up a hammer and hit the trainer to the head while he was examining a horse’s hoof. The Herald reported “Staggering across the yard Green exclaimed ‘my God he’s killed me; my skull is broken; I heard the bones crack’. He died that night and Rice was charged and hung.

The original owner James Bowie Kirk first advertised the business in 1840. He sold the business in 1852 to William C. Yuille, a member of a famous racing family which for many years published The Australian Stud Book. Yuille in turn leased the bazaar to George Watson, a man regarded as the finest horseman of his day, a founding member of the Victoria Racing Club and the Melbourne Hunt. The business gradually declined in the early 20th century.

more ….


  1. Roger Wilson OAM: One Time owner of Kirks Bazaar from 1852---William Cross Yuille--is my great great Grandfather who is credited as the First European settler at Ballarat in 1838--Lake Wendouree was for a long time referred to as " Yuille's swamp" William Cross Yuille had a great horse racing history with a runner in the first Melbourne Cup--Tory Boy--who finished fifth behind Archer in 1861 and later Tory Boy won the Melbourne Cup…

  2. JudyVanessa: Thank you for your interesting background information!

House of Watertanks – Port Melbourne

From ARM Architecture  – The exterior of this house is of water tanks all stacked like leggos. Actually there are many real tanks, but a lot have been sliced to be decorative siding. There are big black grids on side and back walls that will be fed by the collected water, and eventually they will be a walls of vegetation. That will definitely change the look of it, as now it is sterile and hi-tech.

It does stand out a lot — being surrounded by a neighborhood of quaint Victorian cottages. An attribute that is not exactly appreciated by everyone.


  1. Elizabeth Douglas: this house is famous for being the ugliest piece of construction I have ever seen. It's in a beautiful little neighbourhood. In a very old part of Melbourne. Pointless?

  2. JudyVanessa: I guess you have a a good case there. The innovative concept got a little lost in the execution? I think that when the plants start growing on the sides of the building, it will be much more appealing.

  3. Paul Galea: I love it , we need more of this . I've been sick of looking at concrete houses & grey cars

  4. Judy: It will look much better when the vegetation gets going. Their plans to have it cascading over the tanks should be interesting!

  5. Marie: Hello what street is it in?

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Victoria Bitter

“For a hard earned thirst, you need a big cold beer, and the best cold beer is Vic, Victoria Bitter” went the hugely popular 1960’s slogan for Melbourne’s top selling beer.

Prior to the introduction of “tinnies”, stubbies”, “Long Necks”, “King Browns” “Tallies” “Twisties”, “Throwies”, “Throwdowns”,”Grenades”and the “killer can” it was only available in the standard bottle.

We’ve been drinking it since the early 1900’s when the founder of Victoria Bitter, Thomas C Moore first developed the recipe. And we must like it because the equivalent of one slab is sold every second. But why was it called Victoria bitter when it’s really a lager?


Melbourne Indesign Architecture & Design Festival

An event that brings the innovation and creativity to the designers, and public of Melbourne. This event occurs every year, and this year was on an especially beautiful Saturday. Walking around the main event space in the CBD was inspiring. Then off to Cremorne in Richmond for lots of treats. A great opportunity to graze among the avant garde of the design world, and have appetizers and drinks all along the way. This photo is of a clever way to present a very basic product–grating!

Lithium as a drug, was discovered in Melbourne by Dr. Cade

It was Dr John Cade who first discovered the role of lithium in controlling bipolar disorder. 

After WWII, Dr Cade, who was also a psychiatrist, began his experiments with lithium. As with many important scientific breakthroughs, Dr Cade’s discovery came about as an accident.

Through a series of very careful experiments on both guinea pigs and people, it was proven that lithium had a pronounced effect on mania.

This wonderful discovery was quickly followed by the finding that lithium also helped with the depressive symptoms of bipolar.

Cade’s remarkably successful results were detailed in his paper, Lithium salts in the treatment of psychotic excitement, published in the Medical Journal of Australia (1949). 

This happened at a time when manic depression either went untreated, or cures were attempted through crude, early forms of lobotomies and electric shock treatment.–

Invented in Melbourne 1966: Self Sharpening Knife

Since most people don’t know how, or just don’t, sharpen their knives, Dennis Jackson, a design engineer for Wiltshire Cutlery in Melbourne invented a knife that sharpens itself. It is a spring loaded sharpening block inside a sheath or scabbard, which sharpened the knife every time it was taken out or replaced. A number of versions were tested in domestic kitchens in 1966. Two years later, Stuart Devlin (who had designed Australia’s decimal coins) was hired to create a streamlined plastic scabbard and handle for the knife.

In 1971 Wiltshire started a series of ads featuring well known fashion model and mum, Maggie Tabberer. Wiltshire instantly created the perception that their product was fashionable, practical and desirable. Since then more than 8 million Staysharp knives have been sold, with patents and design registrations in 37 countries. –Powerhouse Museum,, –photograph, McPherson’s Housewares.

  1. diane duncan: My son is doing an assignment on Dennis Jackson and the Staysharp knife invention. He needs info about Jackson's date and place of birth, date and place of death (if deceased) and other inventions that Jackson is responsible for. We cannot find this info on any internet website. Would you be able to assist us with this info? Many thanks, Diane

Sennitt’s Ice Cream

You’d expect a smile from those old enough to remember Sennitt’s ice cream. And who doesn’t like ice cream!

In the early 1930’s Sennitt’s was advertised as “The oldest established manufacturer of quality cream in Melbourne”. At the same time the highly successful polar bear trade mark was introduced. The polar bear soon became part of the Melbourne landscape reaching iconic status.

A huge neon sign on the roof of the South Melbourne factory showed a moving bear vigorously licking an ice-cream cone. Many milk bars displayed advertising signs, light up polar bears and ice cream cones to the outside of their buildings. These are highly prized by collectors today.

Sadly the company, from humble beginnings formed in 1906, was taken over by Unilever who merged with Streets in the early 1960’s and soon after the polar bear disappeared.


J.C. Williamson, actor, manager & businessman


James Cassius Williamson (1844-1913) was an American comic actor, acclaimed for his role in the comedy-melodrama Struck Oil, in which he starred with his first wife Maggie Moore during the 1870s.
An astute businessman, he formed a theatrical management company in 1882, with two of his business rivals, Arthur Garner and George Musgrove. Known as ‘The Triumvirate’, the company lasted until 1890 and became the most important theatrical management organisation in Australia,
Over the years the company absorbed its competitors, and eventually owned the Theatre Royal, Comedy, Her Majesty’s and Princess Theatres in Melbourne, and the Theatres Royal in Sydney, Adelaide and Brisbane.
The Williamson (Firm) organisation presented a vast range of performance types including drama, opera, operettas, ballet and musicals. Throughout its history it produced high quality theatre, with overseas artists such as George Rignold, Dion Boucicault, Sarah Bernhardt, Pavlova and, later, Dame Sybil Thorndike, Sir Louis Casson, Evie Hayes and Cyd Charisse. It also encouraged Australian performers, such as Nellie Stewart, Ada Crossley, Nellie Melba, Oscar Asche, Madge Elliot, Cyril Ritchard, Gladys Moncrieff, Don Nicol, Jill Perryman and Nancye Hayes.
Williamson died in Paris in 1911. The Company went on to have great success after the second world war with musical such as ‘Oklahoma’ and ‘Annie get your gun’.
They had their greatest success in the 1960’s with ‘My Fair Lady’ and eventually closed down in 1977 due to financial losses.

See more here

  1. leonie Egan: Who are you Judy Vanessa? I would like to contact you re coming to Melbourne to follow up on any memorabilia re Gladys Moncrieff.particulatly her costumes. Also where is her house in Melbourne?

ACMI- a wealth of archives available for viewing – Adam Elliot animated shorts a great pick

Just show up at the Australian Mediatheque, located in Melbourne’s ACMI… and you can see a trove of films in your own viewing booth. You will be offered a generous catalog of short and feature films to choose from.

Harvie Krumpet is narrated by Geoffrey Rush with a cameo by Kamahl. It is a work of great accomplishment and a triumph of storytelling – a delight down to the last detail. Mischievous, moving and ultimately very, very amusing!–#ACMI

#inbetweenmelb, #memorablemelbourne

Garry Greenwood’s Dragon Bassoon at the Grainger Museum

As part of the Open Melbourne Festival, I discovered this extraordinary instrument from the collection of Percy Grainger, at Melbourne University. Shown alongside the Mask horn, the dragon bassoon  is the second in Greenwood’s series of instruments based around the theme of ‘mythical creatures’. The mouthpieces for both works, can be that of a bassoon or a trumpet. With a bassoon mouthpiece the sound in the lower register is similar to a trombone, while in the middle register it is a cross between a horn and a bassoon. A trumpet mouthpiece produces a kind of ‘barking’ sound.

After the creation of many larger-tubed Bowhorns, the sculptor was keen to experiment with a longer, narrower tube, from which resulted his first bassoon.

The head or the dragon has flaring nostrils and flat pointed ears, its body ending in a magnificent scaly tail that is removed when the mouthpiece is attached. –Grainger Museum, University of Melbourne, #inbetweenmelb


William Eicholtz Sculptures in South Melbourne -Devotion to the Vinyl Record

Located in front of the newly renovated Emerald Hill Library, these bronze sculptures evoke memories of music we collected in our lives.

Vinyl LPs capture and record, in a unique format, a certain period of Australian culture. This sculpture evokes a time in recent history when record collections were king, and took pride of place in lounge rooms across Australia. Every party was centered around the turntable, and LP covers were studied intently as sources of vital information. Large collections were hauled form house to house, party to party, and catalogued and stored as the only permanent source of music. They were jealously guarded and the dream of every music hopeful to have their own recording contract with one of these great labels.

This nostalgic sculpture serves as a marker for changing technology, as a dominant form of recording falls to a digital revolution.

LP records were the last tactile, physical compendium of music. After vinyl (an analogue technology), CDs and the digital format reduced a vast music collection to the size of a nanobot. The all important album pictures and cover art, the classic images of generations, no longer accompany the music of an artist. LP records were intensely visual and tactile, filled with information and unique to a few generations.

The once cherished and king of music is deposed in a digital revolution, and this is a memorial. –William Eicholtz,

Dame Nellie Melba back in the limelight.

Dame Nellie Melba, famous for a legendary number of “farewell” performances, is finally returning to the limelight once again.  Her estate at Coldstream, has been transformed into a tourist attraction, which includes a cafe/restaurant featuring dishes especially created in homage to the diva – Peach Melba, Melba Toast, and Melba sauce.

An operatic soprano, she became one of the most famous singers of the late Victorian era and the early 20th century, and was the first Australian to achieve international recognition as a classical musician. It will be fascinating to share her world.
Objects on display will include her Hermes riding boots, Cartier handbags, and a century-old, 14-piece Louis Vuitton luggage set.

Upcoming exhibitions will include paintings by Arthur Streeton of the Yarra Valley and the Dandenongs, and a bearskin rug given to her by Charlie Chaplin.

Melba’s great-grandsons Lord Samuel Vestey and the Honourable Mark Vestey are spending millions converting outbuildings, and the estate, not including Coombe Cottage, will be open to the public on the 23rd August.

You “Auto” come to Daylesford

This postcard is a souvenir card from Daylesford in country Victoria which was a highly fashionable spa resort until the great depression, and dates from c1910 when the public were addicted with sending postcards.

Postcards have been around since 1869 when the Austrian government issued the first postal card. With the start of WW1 the hobby of sending postcards crashed. The telephone became a much more reliable and speedier way of keeping in touch. In America alone during 1908, 677 million postcards were mailed at a time when the U.S. population was less than 89 million.

Popular with collectors now, they provide an invaluable look back into history. The messages handwritten on the back can also provide a fascinating insight into the personal lives of people.

Wombat, as Daylesford was known during the gold rush days, has a rich history.
Gold was first discovered in 1851 on ground now covered by Lake Daylesford by an Irish immigrant, John Egan who settled in 1848.
In 1859 over 3000 diggers were on the local diggings resulting in the opening of a post office, telegraph office and a municipality being formed.

Daylesford today, is once again popular for its 65 mineral water springs and welcomes visitors to a number of spa developments, boutique shops and eateries.
Like the card says “You “Auto” come to Daylesford”!

Boomaroo Toy Truck

Boomaroo Toy Truck – Circa 1946

Vintage Australian pressed steel Boomaroo toys Truck circa 1946 with Boomaroo toys logo on the rear of the truck as well as the smaller decal on the cabin and double opening doors. This is quite valuable and rare, as at this time there was not much being manufactured in the toy category here in Australia.

  1. Bill BUNDY: I have a boomaroo truck with trailer marked EXPRESS DELIVERY which I may want to sell . Any INTEREST

  2. jack rowson: email me, very keen

  3. JudyVanessa: The Collector Auctions has had many items similar to this: check it out!

  4. Tony Riches: Hi Jack, we have the Boomaroo Prime Mover and Trailer circa 1947 I think. Are you interested in that? Regards, Tony

Bakehouse Studio

Bakehouse Studios – an imaginative fantasy world in a restored building

Take a fantasy trip and make a recording at the same time. Bakehouse Studios has created a room to suit any of your moods– It has given many artists carte blanche to create environments that certainly will encourage creativity on many levels. Scattered about–are nostalgic, quirky, and unusual collectibles. Who knows what music will come about when the environment is just right!

Bakehouse Studios opened their doors to the public for the first time ever today to celebrate the Leaps and Bounds Music Festival and we joined the throng of visitors.

Heaped in the history of Australian music, where the likes of  Nick Cave, Paul Kelly, Missy Higgins, the Drones and thousands of bands have called home, how could you not enjoy wandering around.

And in a world first, visual artists were let loose in some of the smallest and grungiest rehearsal rooms to create installations especially for musicians in this working studio.

Leeming’s Boot Store

This plate circa 1885 is a reminder of Victoria’s most popular bootery, Leeming’s Boot Store which was founded by William Leeming who arrived from Yorkshire in 1853.
The quirky character known as “Gazeeka” (a winged frog or goblin) is one of the most significant characters in the history of Australian advertising.

  1. Richard Kelly: Do you have any more information about the history of the Gazeeka?

Lillian Franke at the opening of ‘Hair’

Lillian Franke the Toorak celebrity hairdresser wearing huge hairy eyelashes at the premier of the musical “Hair” in Melbourne 1971.

‘Hair’ was a huge success breaking all box office records and was a daring and challenging production, featuring nudity, bad language, drug references and ‘free love’. One of Hair’s central themes was resistance to the war in Vietnam.

Lillian went on to receive the MBE for her tireless work for charity.

Shooting the Chute

Shooting the Chute

The ride Shooting the Chute in 1907 formed part of Wirth’s Olympia at Prince’s Court. It was a large and popular entertainment area where the Arts Centre is located today and included Wirth’s Olympia, a circus and zoological garden.

When “Ol Blue Eyes’ came to town – Frank Sinatra

A funny thing happened in Australia,” Frank Sinatra told a New York audience. “I made a mistake and got off the plane.”

He landed in Melbourne on 9 July 1974, just out of retirement, to do five shows and
his tour “Ol’ Blue Eyes Is Back” was eagerly awaited.
However trouble started immediately as there was no one to meet him, he had to borrow a car to get to his rehearsal, was locked out on arrival and was pursued by journalists. That night he let fly on stage describing journalists as ‘bums’, female press workers as ‘hookers’ and more.

When an apology was brushed aside, the union slapped a ban on the tour and Bob Hawke, head of the ACTU, took charge declaring that unless Sinatra could walk on water, he would be stuck in Australia until he said sorry.

Transport workers refused to refuel his plane and he had to sneak a commercial flight to Sydney where he considered asking the US Navy to rescue him. There, after long negations with Bob Hawke, he finally apologised and was given the green light to continue his concerts.



Gordon Andrews Rondo Chairs

Gordon Andrews Rondo Chairs, 1956

Designed in 1956, manufactured in 1969.

Gordon Andrews (1914-2001) is probably Australia’s best known international designer of the mid fifties. Born in Ashfield, NSW, he trained at the Sydney Technical College, and worked in England and Italy. In England he helped design the Festival of Britain science pavilion, and redesigned Olivetti’s showrooms. He established a practice in Sydney in 1955. He designed Australia’s decimal currency notes. He has also designed jewellery, fabrics, ephemera, offices, shops, sculptures, pottery and furniture, being especially well-known for his Rondo chair. In the mid 20th century he worked closely with Marion Best who was the interior designer for the Boyd house.– Carter’s Collecting Australiana.

Producing the Rondo chair was a labour-intensive process. All the components were made by different manufacturers and Andrews assembled them himself. In 2001-2005, the Rondo chair had a brief renaissance, when it was manufactured once again and sold through Sydney store FY2K.

The most common version, from the mid-’60s, had a fibreglass shell and spun aluminium base. “They are almost always upholstered in orange, because Marion Hall Best commissioned a lot of them for the interior of the Rex Hotel in Sydney. – homes .ninemsn. com. au

Clement Meadmore Three legged Chair, 1955

Made from plywood, this unique chair was described by Architecture and Arts as being “moulded to a body contour that ensures comfort for all…the strange sensation of supporting the body firmly yet, due to the slots…  a freeness of body movement that has to be experienced to be believed”

This chair is currently being shown at the NGV Ian Potter Museum, as part of their Mid-Century Modern Furniture show.

Melbourne’s first TV celebrity chef and murderer Alex Tsakmakis

German chef Willie Koeppen appeared in his own TV show on HSV-7 “The Chef Presents” in 1957. At the time he was executive Chef at the Chevron Hotel.

He quickly became successful owning seven restaurants in Melbourne one of which was the Cuckoo in Olinda which he and his wife Karen purchased in 1958. It was previously known as the Quamby Cafe and was built in 1914.
However suddenly in 1976 the Cuckoo became headlines when Willie went missing and has never been seen since.

It is believed he owed money to Alex Tsakmakis and it is thought he was murdered by him. Alex was a violent criminal and murderer who ended up being murdered in Pentridge in 1988 when his head was crushed with a pillow stuffed with weights from the gym.

Karen Koeppen still owns the Cuckoo and today it is regarded as a world renowned restaurant and a favourite of many Melbournians. The traditional smorgasbord is still served, a legacy to Willie who introduced it to Melbourne. However it remains doubtful that we will we ever know what really happened to Willie.

Chloe & Young & Jacksons

Australia’s best known pub and nude.

Farewelled by diggers and hated by some women, Chloe is a national icon and hangs in her own bar at Young and Jacksons which is on the original site purchased by John Batman in 1837.

The site on the corner of Flinders Street and Swanston Street
went through many changes. Batman’s home, a schoolhouse and warehouses. 1861 saw the opening of the Princes Bridge Hotel on the site and it became known as Young and Jacksons in 1875 after the two Irish diggers who took it over. Today the name remains the same.

The painting “Chloe” by Jules Joseph was purchased for 850 guineas by Dr Thomas Fitzgerald of Lonsdale Street in Melbourne and caused an uproar especially by the Presbyterian Assembly when it was exhibited at the National Gallery in 1883 It was taken down three weeks later and eventually purchased by Young and Jackson Hotel in 1908 for 800 pounds.

The French artists model, Marie immortalised as
Chloe was only nineteen at the time of the painting and little is known of her except that she died tragically. Two years after sitting for the portrait she held a party for friends, and later that night committed suicide by drinking soup she had made by boiling poisonous matches. All over the loss of a boyfriend.

Little did she know that her portrait would become an Australian icon, that she would hang in her own bar in Australia’s most famous pub, be visited by many tourists and survive being damaged by an American servicemen in 1943 who threw beer at her.

Art Space at St. Francis’


A Contemporary Art Space in the Heart of the City

A new exhibition space has been created at St. Francis’ Pastoral Centre, 326 Lonsdale St, (corner Elizabeth St) Melbourne and currently showing is an exhibition by Carolyn Fels “Landscapes in Time” until the 3rd July 2014.

Carolyn has had many solo exhibitions and is well represented in major collections.

She attended the National Gallery School in 1960, the George Bell School and the Victorian College of the Arts, Melbourne.

Exhibitions times are Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm and Sunday 9am – 3pm.



Inside the Palace Theatre, destined to be torn down

The current building opened in 1912 as Brennan’s (National) Amphitheatre & was constructed by architect & vaudeville promoter James Brennan in association with Nahum Barnet. Architect Henry E. White redesigned the interior in 1916 & from then on it was known as the Palace Theatre.

Further alterations were carried out in 1934 after which it was called the Apollo Theatre. In 1940 MGM purchased the building & for the next 30 years it was run as a cinema under the names St James Theatre & Metro. The last MGM film screened was ‘Kelly’s Heroes’ in October 1970. During the next few years it returned to a live theatre, which included a 39-week season of the musical “Hair” (1971 –72). It re-opened as the Palace Theatre in 1974 and once again showed films.

The church group known as the Revival Centre bought the theatre in 1980, it was then sold again in 1987 to a private business group that subsequently operated the venue as the Metro Nightclub.

On December the 4th 2007 the current owners (former owners & operators of St Kilda’s Palace Entertainment Complex) moved in and began the restoration of the building now known, once again, as the Palace Theatre. –

Graffiti Project, in Union Lane Windsor

This is one of the great surprises about walking down a laneway that you have never seen before in Melbourne. In Windsor/Prahran, a group of artists have transformed old commercial buildings into a brilliant environment of murals and street art. It is the brainchild of local artist and filmmaker Wayne Tyndall. Located on Union Lane, between Green and Union streets in Windsor. More information about this project is at:

Victorian Milk Glass Biscuit Barrel with silver-plated top

Milk glass is a term that was originally used to describe opaque white glassware. It has since become used to include several colours of opaque and translucent glass, including white, blue, green, pink, black, yellow and brown. The origins of Milk glass begin in Venice in the 16th Century, when it was then known as “Opal” glass.–

Gumby – the radio

Gumby has a long and interesting history. Backed by more than 50 years of performances in 234 episodes and a movie, Gumby has become a cultural icon. Audiences of all ages have been inspired and entertained by Gumby. People don’t just like Gumby, they say “I LOVE Gumby.”

For a dramatic and entertaining biography of Art Clokey, the creator, check out the Emmy Award-winning documentary Gumby Dharma. This Emmy Award winning documentary captures the fascinating life of Art Clokey and his famous creations Gumby and Pokey and Davey and Goliath. From the mud (called gumbo) on his grandparents’ farm in the Midwest to his many adventures with his adopted father out west, you’ll see the myriad of influences on Art’s life and how they translated into iconic characters, which the world has embraced. —

A poster of Mick Jagger as Ned Kelly -from the movie shot in Victoria

“I AM TAKING this film very seriously,” says Jagger. “Kelly wont look anything like me. You wait and you’ll see what I look like. I want to concentrate on being a character actor.” Of his clothes, he said he wore what he liked.

Mick Jagger, surprisingly affable, faced his Sydney   Press conference with obvious gusto. Half an hour late because his girlfriend. Marianne Faithfull, had collapsed and been taken to hospital, he sprawled in front of the usual barrage of microphones to answer (with quick cockney wit) a variety of questions under the hawklike gaze of film director Tony Richardson.-GLORIA NEWTON.

George Harrison in the Dandenongs 1964

Have you got your tickets ready because 50 years ago on the 14th June 1964 the Beatles played at Festival Hall? Beatlemania had hit the city of Melbourne with over 20,000 screaming fans waiting to catch a glimpse of them waving from the balcony at the Southern Cross Hotel. They were also feted by the cream of Melbourne society with what was originally a polite reception held for them at Melbourne Town Hall. With screaming fans trailing them everywhere they went, it is not surprising that George Harrison did a runner one day and headed up to the Dandenong Ranges for a bit of a look around. Stopping his little red sports car at Kenloch in Olinda he politely asked owner and restaurateur, Kathleen Martin if he could stay for lunch. She kindly obliged and a happy snap of both of them together soon followed. Photo source:

Theatre programs

Musical comedy was popular in America in the 1920’s and Australia followed suit. Gladys Moncrieff starred in The Maid of The Mountains in 1921. Alfred Frith, Cecil Kellaway, Dorothy Brunton and Minnie Love were among other Australian musical theatre performers of this period.

Following the 1929 stock market crash, the Great Depression hit the Australian theatre world very hard. Live shows were taxed and had to compete with cinema and radio entertainment. However, many amateur, semi-professional and smaller theatre groups began springing up at this time. –

  1. leonie Egan: Wonderful. Any information I can gleen re Gladys Moncrieff is important to me as I am starting a "BRING OUR GLAD BACK TO BUNDY " quest! Please contact me re Box 6064 East Bundaberg 4670. Or with any information re artifacts or memorabilia you can donate to my quest.

  2. JudyVanessa: Hi Leonie, Hope to get back to you soon from the Collector Auctions.

  3. Vanessa: Hi Leonie, Think you may have a problem getting donations as Melba items are extremely popular and command high prices. The Performing Arts Museum in Melbourne has a wonderful collection as well as costumes, some on loan. Good luck with your quest.

Brennan’s Amphitheatre, Burke Street, Melbourne

Built by James Brennan, a prominent sports entrepreneur, Brennan’s Amphitheatre was situated in Burke Street on the site of the Douglas Theatre (1860-1911). It opened in 1912, seating up to 2,000 people.

With name and ownership changes over many years it became a live venue in the 1970’s with the rock musical Hair being the most successful production staged (39 weeks).

In 1987 it became the Metro Nightclub and in 2007 underwent restoration by new owners – who also restored one of its former names, The Palace Theatre.

It has recently closed and is under threat. However in the last few days it has been reported that the hotel developer’s bid to bulldoze the historic building is set to be rejected by authorities for a second time.
Read more:–again-20140605-39ln2.html#ixzz34HkNxtim

Beatles Come to Melbourne 1964

Just months after completing their first feature film, A Hard Day’s Night, The Beatles toured Australia for the first and only time, in June 1964. Just like the film, Beatlemania was at its height, giving all concerned little time for rest – a blur of planes, cars, hotel rooms, interviews, crowds, screams and concerts.The Beatles appear on the portico of Melbourne Town Hall, whipping a crowd of 20,000 into a frenzy. –

Melbourne MCG

The evolution of one of the favorite sports venues in the Southern Hemisphere-

In 1876, the first grandstand was built, but was destroyed by fire eight years later. An open wooden stand was on the south side of the ground in 1904 and the 2084-seat Grey Smith Stand (known as the New Stand until 1912) was erected for members in 1906. The 4000-seat Harrison Stand on the ground’s southern side was built in 1908 followed by the 8000-seat Wardill Stand in 1912. In the 15 years after 1897 the stand capacity at the ground increased to nearly 20,000. –Wikipedia

William Ricketts Sanctuary Sculpture

Located in the deep bush of the Dandenongs, William Ricketts Sanctuary offers the experience of discovering the beauty of sculpture within the natural settings of the woods. It is a public park that is run by the State of Victoria. It’s noticeable that Ricketts was inspired by his visits with the Pitjantjatjara and Arrernte Aboriginal people. And inspiring to see his creations as well.

The Clock at Southern Cross is Back!

We’d love to hear your best memories of places in Melbourne – pubs, public buildings, market, post offices, railway stations. Any place that still stands– that may have been totally transformed, or is restored to look the same. Here is the clock that came back to the Southern Cross Railway Station. It was located in many places inbetween, including the Science Museum.

Dimmeys Store Richmond

Pictured is the Dimmeys clock tower which was part of the original Dimmeys Richmond store and still remains as a Melbourne icon.

Rich in history the owners purchased the building in 1878, fire partly destroyed the building in 1906, it was rebuilt in 1907 and extended in 1910. The extension included the iconic clock tower and the name was also changed to Dimmeys Model Stores. During the Depression they focused on quality goods at reduced prices and post war it became a bargain store much loved by many people.

Do you have some stories to share?

  1. Assunta: Believe it or not a friend of mine won Melbourne Cup Fashions on the Field back in the sixties. Her ensemble was purchased at Dimmeys - not Myers and cheap as chips.

  2. JudyVanessa: A far cry from the "bargain basement" approach Dimmey's has had in the last few years!

Gerry Gee – by Ron Blaskett

Melbourne ventriloquist Ron Blaskett and his mischievous doll, Gerry Gee, named for GTV-9, were featured for several years. Ron Blaskett’s ventriloquist act was the first variety act to appear on the channel.[2][3] He also starred in spin-off programs The Adventures of Gerry Gee and Do You Trust Your Wife. In 2009, a retrospective DVD was released “You, Me and Gerry Gee”, following on from the book of the same name. Wikipedia

Pictured here is Geraldine, Gerry Gee’s sister, who came in a variety of outfits, even a spacesuit.

State Savings Bank -Mickey Mouse toy bank

Pictured is a tin money box from the 1950’s in the days when
banks went to a lot of trouble to ‘hook a customer for life’ by appealing to the young with such colourful and novelty money boxes.

This has special appeal to collectors because it was produced by the much loved State Bank of Victoria which was founded in 1842 and taken over by the Commonwealth Bank in 1990.
The bank collapsed due to bad loans and deregulation of the banking industry in the 1980’s eventually bringing down the labour government. It is also much loved by Mickey Mouse collectors.


Your first bank?

The Sidney Myer Music Bowl

A Bowl for the People

It’s been compared to a bird, a plane and an umbrella. Some say its unique aerodynamic canopy was actually inspired by Louis Armstrong’s trumpet.

Whichever way you look at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl, one thing is for certain: its one of Victoria’s most treasured icons.

Since 1959 when it was officially presented to the people of Victoria by the Sidney Myer Charity Trust, the Bowl has hosted music and theatre performances, ballets, operas, cinema, festivals, religious crusades, even ice skating.

In February 1959, 30,000 people flocked to the Bowl for its gala concert, but it was a 1967 concert by The Seekers that set an enduring record with 200,000 people – one tenth of Melbourne’s population at the time – in attendance.

Upon opening, the Bowl also provided a permanent home for the Sidney Myer Free Concerts (formerly known as ‘Music for the People’), an annual summer concert series presented free to the public by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra with the support of the Sidney Myer Charity Trust.

Freight Car Tram

Elizabeth Street near Victoria Street, 1962

  1. JudyVanessa: Did you ever see one of these go by?

  2. Ken: This is a great example of the type of trams I used to see delivering lots of groceries around Melbourne. As a child I used to run after them and see if they would give me some samples of their goods. I loved the way they had colored vibrant advertising on them.

Ellis Pottery

If you were married in the 1960’s or 70’s in Melbourne chances are that you would have been given gifts marked “Ellis”.

Ellis Pottery made a large variety of slip cast vases, bowls, plates, coffee sets and figurines, mostly hand decorated and with colourful glazes, which could be found for sale in major department stores and gift shops. Amazingly a large quantity of good quality items were manufactured by Dasa and Milda Kratochvil, Czechoslovakian immigrants, in their backyard pottery in Abbotsford from 1949 until the late 1970’s.

The good news is that if you still have decorative items in good condition their value has increased dramatically.



  1. Brigid Loane: hi, I have a very similar piece marked Ellis 223. How do I go about determining it to be a true Ellis piece? Any information would be grateful. Thanks

  2. Vanessa: It will be genuine. There aren't any reproductions on the market. A lovelly piece.

  3. Narelle: Hi ...I have 5 Ellis mugs numbered 203 one may be 293 was wondering what sort of value these would carry ?

Parkville TV mansion

Found in Parkville

This is the mansion that the Miss Fisher lives in

  1. Vicky: Is this mansion still there? where and what's become of it?

  2. JudyVanessa: The mansion is definitely there-- We found it in excellent restored condition, in Parkville. It is a beautiful building, situated across from a park. Great location!