Books about Melbourne

Books about Melbourne is for Dan, who once asked if there were any books on Melbourne out there written by The Collector.

It is by no means a difinitive list of books as there are new books realeased all the time but in 2018, these were the books worth looking at.

A Bibliography of Melbourne
Melbourne Architecture
Philip Goad
The Watermark Press
First published in 1999

It has been said that the history of a city is written by its architects.
Now, from the earliest dwellings to the towers of the present, the built environment of Melbourne has been faithfully recorded in Melbourne ARCHITECTURE.

If you have to have one book, this is it.
A definite must have!

A Short History of Melbourne Architecture
Philip Goad
Pesaro Publishing
First published in 2002

A SHORT HISTORY OF MELBOURNE ARCHITECTURE depicts the flamboyance, the virtuosity, and the cerebral energy which has characterized all Melbourne's architectural cycles. From Gold Rush, through the 'Marvellous Melbourne' of the 1880s, to it's acknowledged position as 'Australia's cradle of modernity' in the 1950s, and finally to the globally acclaimed architecture culture of contemporary Melbourne..

Kristin Otto
The Text Publishing Company
First published in 2005

Around the same time someone explains the mechanics of an Australian hoop snake to you, you might also hear how the Yarra flows upside down.
The explanation for the river's famous muddiness, they'll tell you, is that it carries its bed turgidly on the surface, the clear water flowing underneath.
To thin to plough, they'll say; too thick to drink..

The Melbourne Tram Book
Randall Wilson and Dale Budd
A UNSW Press book
First published in 2003

Melbourne's trams have long been one of the city's strongest symbols -
They not only provide a vital transport service, they also add to the unique character of the city.
With more than 200 photos of trams old and new, and featuring the work of more than 40 photographers and several artists, The Melbourne Tram Book is a unique record of more than 100 years of street transport, horse-drawn, cable and electric.

The Melbourne Book - A History of Now
Maree Coote
Hardie Grant Books
First published in 2003

A History of Now is a modern chronicle of a unique city. Visual, passionate and informative, it tells the story of a city and its style, its people and its vivid past.
Crammed with anecdotes and detail and with over 700 stunning photographs, THE MELBOURNE BOOK explores our city with an eye for the ordinary and the extraordinary.

Destination Melbourne
Ken Duncan
Panographs Publishing PTY LTD
First published in 2005

Built on the banks of the meandering Yarra River, Melbourne blends old and new in enchanting and ever graceful combinations.
Historic buildings, charming tramways, gleaming high rises and gently rocking yachts
- all these and more are magnificently captured by world-renowned Australian photographer Ken Duncan.

Contemporary Melbourne Architecture
Joe Rollo
UNSW Press
First published in 1999

In this collection of essays The Age newspaper's architecture writer surveys recent work from many of the most outstanding architects working in Melbourne today. He identifies what distinguishes successful projects, and how they fit into the fabric of the city. Aimed at practitioners, residents and visitors, this is a lively and sometimes irreverent introduction to the latest additions to Melbourne's built environment.

Melbourne Top Art & Food
Carole & Henry Bois De Chesne
Bois De Chesne Design
First published in 2005

BDC top art & food is a new and unique cultural showcase introducing Melbourne.
It is an exciting guide through the local art and entertainment scene for the discerning lover of the fine things in life. Each local area is introduced with a user-friendly map, which leads to carefully selected places of particular interest to visit.

Walking Melbourne
The National Trust Guide to The Historic and Architectural Landmarks of Central Melbourne
National Trust of Australia (Victoria)
First published in 2004

For a modern city on the bottom of the world named after a long-forgotten English Prime Minister, Melbourne has a surprisingly rich history and a substantial architectural legacy.
This book celebrates the contribution made by Melbourne's many talented architects, as well as documenting important historic landmarks and some of the curiosities that dot the city's streets.

Very informative, great walking guide.

Waterfront Spectacular
Editor-in-Chief: John Keeney
Design Masters Press
First published in 2005

Waterfront Spectacular is the story of the creation of Docklands. One of the most ambitious urban renewal projects ever undertaken, it is an insight into the vision, planning, obstacles and challengers that have gone into transforming what was once an industrial wasteland into a beautiful harbour - for the people of Melbourne and, indeed, the world.

Great photos, great coffee table sized book.

The Shrine of Remembrance
Every day of the year
The department of veteran affairs
First published in 2003
Available at the shrine

The Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne occupies a special place both in the physical landscape of the city and in the hearts of Victorians - and indeed all Australians.
Every day of the year is a pictorial record of the Shrine of Remembrance and the people who have embraced it. For the part, they are Victorians. However, many visitors come to the Shrine from interstate and overseas - many with family connections to Victoria, their forebears having enlisted in this State, and others simply to pay their respects.
The Shrine of Remembrance holds a special place in our history, and is a memorial for all of us.

Neat and compact book!

Sun Pictures of Victoria
Fauchery & Daintree, Reilly & Carew
Currey O'Neil Ross PTY LTD
First published in 1983

Antoine Fauchery was a glittering figure in the Bohemian circles of Europe - an artist, writer and adventurer; Richard Daintree was an English geologist. Both had become interested in the magical new science of photography, and in 1858, for differing reasons, they both found themselves in the raw young city of Melbourne.
So rose the collaboration which led to the Sun Pictures of Vicoria, the first photographic collection depicting Melbourne and the Colony of Victoria.

Another great coffee table book and a chance to see photographs of Melbourne's beginnings.

The Biography of a City
W.H. Newnham
F.W. Chesire
First published in 1956

' has succeeded in capturing and passing on to the reader the personality of the city and its leading figures during the vital periods of its growth. As a result, Mr Newnham's book is warm and human from start to finish, and, despite its wealth of fact and detail, moves with all the smoothness and interest of a personal narrative rather than a history.
'Smoothly and cleverly constructed, with a frequent leavening of humour, it should enjoy general appeal even for those who have little interest in historical material.'

Love this book. You need to fossick your nearest antiquarian bookshop for this one.

The Birth of Melbourne
Tim Flannery
The Text Publishing Company
First published in 2002

In 1835 John Batman sailed up the Yarra and was astonished by the beauty of the land. It was a temperate Kakadu, teeming with wildlife and with soils rich enough to spawn pastoral empires. With the discovery of gold, the city was transformed almost overnight into 'Marvellous Melbourne.'
The Birth of Melbourne includes voices that range from tribal elders to Chinese immigrants, from governors to criminals, John Pascoe Fawkner, Georgiana McCrae, J.B. Were, Ned Kelly, Marcus Clarke, Anthony Trollope and Rudyard Kipling are just a few who contribute to this biography of our most surprising city.

An interesting read!

Australia's International City
Managing Editor: Jennifer Stevenson
Focus Books

Melbourne is a city that needs a book written about it. Several books. And not just because there are important stories to tell: of business giants and small achievements, of creativity and comedy, manufacturing and mining, high culture and horse-racing. But because Melbourne's strengths are not always obvious to the outsider's eye.
This book is about the city's entrepreneurial energy and vitality, the businesses, banks and industries that generate wealth and support Melbourne's public life, its rich culture and fierce sporting rivalries.

Great propaganda from the early 1990s.

The Treasure House
Some of The Story of Menzies Hotel
Fred Archer
Wilke and Company Limited
First published in 1970?

In 1853 Archibald and Catherine Menzies opened the first Menzies Hotel in Latrobe Street. Some time later when Archibald had acquired a rich gold mine in Rushworth, he was able in 1867 to finance the second much larger and more luxurious hotel designed by Joseph Reed and Frederick Barnes that stood at the southeast corner of Bourke and William Streets.

Fred says:
It's only fair to warn any possible purchaser of this book that it has been rejected by all the leading publishers in Melbourne. Everybody was polite ('I enjoyed your book Mr Archer') but its appeal is only to a Melbourne audience. Toorak would love it but we couldn't possibly make any money out of it.' Perhaps they are right on both counts, but I didn't write it either for Toorak or money, I wrote it for my own satisfaction and in the belief that those of us who were in a unique position to record history should do so.

For those interested in what life was like for someone working in this old Melbourne landmark.

Melbourne's Yesterdays
A Photographic Record
Don Bennetts
Souvenir Press (Australia) Pty Ltd
First published in 1976

Melbourne today is experiencing a renaissance, a new pride in the beauty of its city and the wealth of its cultural life. And appropriately it is now recalling a golden past only half-remembered.
It is this past, as a colonial capital a hundred years ago, that the unique collection of more than 250 photographs in Melbourne's Yesterdays celebrates.

Fossick for this book in your favourite antiquarian bookshop, its worth the search!
Though having said that, the printing of the photographs could have been better.

Once Upon A Collins Street
Hoyne, Lea, Anastasios
Bambra Press
First published in 1998

Out of print

Collins Street has long been Australia's most luxurious shopping strip and Melbourne's financial heart. Whenever we walk up Collins Street we tell its tale, every step recalling an episode, a moment, or a character. Journey along the Golden Mile, from Spencer to Spring, trains to Treasury.

In interesting book that leaves you wanting more. The gold cover is very striking as well. :)

A Walking Guide to Melbourne's Monuments
Ronald T. Ridley
Melbourne University Press
First published in 1996

In print

Melbourne's wide streets and surrounding parks have many public monuments.
Standing amidst pleasant gardens or beside busy thoroughfares these statues and memorials are often accepted as part of the scene, and given no more than a casual glance.
But each monument has a story to tell, whether it be about the person or event it commemorates, or about sculptor, designer or donor.
Most of Melbourne's monuments are within easy walking distance of the city centre, and this book introduces over forty of them, divided into two walking itineraries. For those who do not wish to follow a set route, each statue is clearly identified on the map and a description given.

Great little book that can be taken with you as you check out the monuments. :)

A City Lost and Found | Whelan The Wrecker's Melbourne
Robyn Annear
Black Inc.
First published in 2005

The demolition firm Whelan the Wrecker was a Melbourne institution for a hundred years (1892-1992). Its famous sign-'Whelan the Wrecker is Here' on a pile of shifting rubble - was a laconic masterpiece and served as a vital sign of the city's progress. It's no stretch to say that over three generations, the Whelan family changed the face of Melbourne, demolishing hundreds of buildings in the central city alone.

In A City Lost and Found, Robyn Annear uses Whelan's demolition sites as portals to explore layers of the city laid bare by their pick-axes and iron balls. Peering beneath the rubble, she brings to light fantastic stories about Melbourne's building sites and their many incarnations. This book is about the making - and remaking - of a city.

Robyn has done an excellent job here, my only gripe is that it wasn't a hardback with better paper stock as well. Definitely worthy of it!

A New City: Photographs of Melbourne's Land boom
Ian Morrison
The Megunyah Press
First published in 2003

In print

It is usual to say that the photographer somehow freezes a moment in time. But Walker's photographs actually set time in motion, inviting us to see beneath the unmade road, the Wurundjeri lands whose owners still remember how things were before this bizarre intrusion. And they prompt us to recognize how the city has changed and endured in the years since each photo was taken.. how the place in the picture is both familiar and surprising.

If you like early photographs of Melbourne, then this is the book for you.
Quality photographs, paper stock, etc.. superb! :)


The Encyclopedia of Melbourne
Andrew Brown-May, Shurlee Swain
Cambridge University Press
First published in 2005

In print

A city is known by its past, its characteristic virtues and troubles, and its ways of life. 'Marvellous Melbourne' symbolizes the achievements of Australian urbanization and suburbanisation.
The Encyclopedia of Melbourne reflects and encompasses the city's historical position as one of the world's pre-eminent nineteenth-century metropolises, and as one of the twenty-first century's most liveable cities. Alphabetical entries range from short factual summaries about places, institutions and events, through to extended survey articles on key topics such as Architecture, Aboriginal Melbourne, Economy, Foundation and Early History, Law and Order, Literature, Science, Sporting Culture, Suburbs and Suburbanisation, Theatre and Transport.
Although Australia has long ranked amongst the world's most urbanized countries, no comparable reference work exists on any Australian metropolis.

Over ten years in the making, this is one big fat book that everyone should have on their bookshelf! :)

Gollings, Greene, Hopkins
William Heinemann Australia
First published in 1988?

Out of print

Melbourne is a city of remarkable diversity. Melbourne the book reflects this in a unique collection of images. John Golling is one of the world's leading architectural photographers. Paul Greene and Ted Hopkins are both artists and writers who relish the exploration of familiar and new pathways. The starting point for their collaboration was their interest in finding images which would portray the spectacular and the anecdotal and the intimate and public face of Melbourne.

You'll need to fossick for this book in the second hand bookshops. Once found you'll find that the search was worth it. :)

Fluid City
Kim Dovey
UNSW Press
First published in 2005

In print

Fluid City traces the transformation of Melbourne's urban waterfront from 1983 to 2003, when the city turned its face to the water and the world, re-inventing itself to attract new flows of global capital.
The book tells the story of a city becoming 'unsettled' as long-established experiences and practices were swept up in new flows of money, ideas, desires and designs. The image of the urban waterfront became increasingly important to economic strategy as comprehensive rational planning weakened and boundaries dissolved between architecture and planning, culture and commerce, architecture and politics, and - most crucially - between public and private interests.

The book that had its cover photograph printed back to front, otherwise interesting reading.

Historic Melbourne sketchbook
Drawings by:
Unk White, A. Roger-Genersh, Bill Beasley, George Haddon

Text by:
W.H. Newnham, Brian Carroll, John Bechervaise, Andrew McKay

First published in 1977

Out of print

In Historic Melbourne Sketchbook some of Australia's best known writers and artists combine talents to tell the story behind the city's most characteristic and beautiful buildings and landmarks. The result is a kaleidoscopic account of one of Australia's grandest cities, which in the space of 70 years developed from a tiny village on the banks of the Yarra River to the financial capital of Australia.

Great sketches, great anecdotes, you need this book!

Civilising The City
A history of Melbourne's Public Gardens

Georgina Whitehead
State Library of Victoria and City of Melbourne
First published in 1997

Out of print

The six public gardens encircling Melbourne's city centre and managed by the City of Melbourne - the Fitzroy, Flagstaff, Treasury, Carlton, Queen Victoria and Alexandra Gardens - were established at different stages in the development of the city, from the first decades after the gold rush to the early years of Australian federation. Changing technologies, social habits, tastes and ideas about Melbourne and its place in the world have been reflected in the initial designs for each garden and their evolution to the present day.
Civilising the City is the first comprehensive account of the development of these gardens.

A very detailed, informative book about one of Melbourne's greatest assets, its gardens.
A great coffee table book. :)

Early Melbourne Architecture
1840 to 1888

Compiled and edited by:
M. Casey, J. Lindsay, D.A. Casey, J.R. Freeman, T.D. Freeman, A.R. Henderson
Oxford University Press
First published in 1953

Out of print

The preparation of this book was undertaken by a group of distinguished Melbourne people with the object of recording by photography a representative selection of Melbourne's earliest buildings while these still remain in their original state. The importance of such a record has been shown by the fact that since this book was first published a number of the buildings included in its photographs have been demolished or altered.

If you find this book, buy it!

The City's History and Development

Miles Lewis
City of Melbourne
First published in 1995

In print

Commissioned by the City of Melbourne in 1992, this history forms s major part of the Central City Heritage Study which now provides a detailed information database of bibliographic material and city heritage features. The fascinating story of the growth of Melbourne as a city from settlement to the present day will increase awareness of the dynamic nature of city development in the light of contemporary social change. Using a thematic approach, architectural historian Liles Lewis examines how events, both local and international, influenced the way in which Melbourne grew and shaped the environment of the city as we know it today.

The best book you'll find on the city's development! :)

Victorian and Edwardian Melbourne
From Old Photographs

Patsy Adam Smith
John Ferguson Sydney
First published in 1979

Out of print

'Marvellous Melbourne!' they called it and marvelous Melbourne it was. What could compare with Bourke Street on a Saturday night? The swells in their opera cloaks and top hats off to the Theatre Royal or Her Majesty's. The newsboys hawking their penny papers; coffee stalls set up like wine shanties and wine shops set up like coffee shops in discreet dim-lit caverns behind the noise; the clatter of carriages; the streets steaming with horse urine; the yapping of dogs and the squealing of children.
Over 20 photographs have been collected in this memorable record of Melbourne's past. They illustrate, with captions by Patsy Adam Smith, every aspect of life in Melbourne from the 1850s to the beginning of World War 1.

A good read, some good photographs.

Building A City
100 Years of Melbourne architecture

Granville Wilson and peter Sands
Oxford University Press
First published in 1981

Out of print

Building A City is intended as a guide to the first one hundred years of Melbourne architecture for the increasing number of people who are interested in the fine old buildings around the city and suburbs.

A good guide for its time.

Imagining Early Melbourne

Robyn Annear
Black Inc.
First published in 1995

In print

In this much-loved book, Robyn Annear resurrects the village that was early Melbourne - from the arrival of white settlers in 1835 until the first gold rushes shook the town - and brings it to life in vivid colour.

Rich in detail and character, a great read.

The Store On the Hill
Keith Dunstan
The Macmilllan Company of Australia Pty Ltd
First published in 1979

Out of print

Geoges of Collins Street, Melbourne, has a reputation for superior quality equal to that enjoyed by Harrods or Fortnum & Mason of London, and Bergdorf Goodman of New York.
This is the story of Georges first 100 years and its remarkable battle to survive and prosper from its unenviable position on a hill in Collins Street between two churches.

Its sad to know that this great store is now gone, the detail in which this book goes in describing this store is remarkable.

History Trails in Melbourne
by W. Lloyd Williams
Angus & Robertson
first published 1957
Prtined & bound by Halstead Press, Sydney"

Highly recommended ...

Victoria Illustrated
1834 - 1984

The James Flood - Harold Paynting Charity Trust
First published in 1984

Out of print

To commemorate Victoria's sesquicentenary The James Flood - Harold Paynting Charity Trust in conjunction with The Royal Historical Society of Victoria and The Melbourne Camera Club published Victoria Illustrated 1834 - 1984.
This book was published as a labour of love. Thousands of hours had been spent producing this book as a commemorative presentation volume with complete disregard for cost.

A real collector's item, printed to the highest standard. What more can I say, but that it is the most prized book in my library.

The Rise and Fall of Marvellous Melbourne
Graeme Davison
Melbourne University Press
First published in 1978

In print

In the 1880s, a generation after the gold rushes, Melbourne rose to become Australia's most populous, modern and self-consciously 'metropolitan' city. Its offices and warehouses leapt skyward, its suburbs sprawled and the tentacles of its commerce reached across the continent. In the 1890s, the housing boom burst, depression struck and Melbourne's population and influence declined. In this classic work of Australian social history, Graeme Davison explores the economic, political, social and cultural consequences of the meteoric rise, and calamitous fall, of the city dubbed 'Marvellous Melbourne.'

Graeme is meticulous and leaves no stone unturned.

Melbourne - John Batman's Village
Agnes Paton Bell
Cassell Australia
First published in 1965

Out of print

Since its foundation 130 years ago, Melbourne has been the scene of one of the most dramatic and impressive stories of growth and achievement of any city in the world.
The development of the riverside village that John Batman helped to found in 1835 to the present-day metropolis of almost four million people has also been an intensely human affair. It is the people of the city of Melbourne who have made it what it has become, and their story is a fascinating one.

Great read, if you can find this book.

The Streets of Melbourne
From early Photographs

Joe Murray, Peter McIntosh
The Herald and Weekly Times
First published in 1984

Out of print

'The Streets of Melbourne' was produced through the combined talents of photographer, Joe Murray and Journalist, Peter McIntosh. They teamed up in 1980 to form Photostory Pty Ltd, a company specializing in projects requiring the skills of a photographer and writer.
In 1981 their 'City Walk' concept, a series of pictorial panels linked in a walk, was adopted by the Melbourne City Council. Since its success, they have concentrated mainly on projects with a historical theme.
As a contribution to Victoria's 150th Anniversary the Australian Oil Industry commissioned this book, 'The Streets of Melbourne.'

Great collection of photographs, if you find this book buy it!

Melbourne by Melbourne
Joe Murray, Peter McIntosh
Rene Gordon Pty Ltd
First published in 1989

Out of print

The catalyst for this book was Melbourne's bid for the 1996 Olympics.
Rob Curtis, a man of vision and infectious enthusiasm, recognized the need for a book to promote his mother city. Melbourne by Melbourne is a result of his inspiration. This book's aim was to be as beautiful as the city of Melbourne itself.
One might say, that this aim was met.

This lavish oversized coffee-table book comes with a slipcase and is quality all the way through.
If you come across it, buy it!

A Museum for the People
Carolyn Rasmussen
Scribe Publications
First published in 2001

In print

Marking almost 150 years since the founding of Melbourne's first public museum, A Museum for the People maps the triumphs and travails of Victoria's state museums.
The book follows the changes in the institutions' collecting and exhibition philosophies, and tells a fascinating story of how Australians - through their museums - have viewed themselves and the world around them.

The definitive book on Melbourne's museums. :)

The Long and Perilous Journey
A History of Port Melbourne

Judith Raphael Buckrich
Melbourne Books
First published in 2002

In print

The Long and Perilous Journey is an illustrated chronological history, covering the period since the discovery of Port Phillip Bay by Europeans in 1802 to the present.
A History of the Port of Melbourne was commissioned by the Melbourne Port Corporation to provide an accessible and visually delightful book on the working of the largest container port in Australia.

Ships were a great part of Melbourne's survival and self-perception for decades after settlement, and still play a big part in Melbourne's make up when you think about trade and industry. Read all about it.

Melbourne's Grand Boulevard
The Story of St Kilda Road

Judith Raphael Buckrich, Antoinette Birkenbeil
State Library of Victoria
First published in 1996

Out of print

Now lined with prestige office blocks, apartments, schools, institutions and arts complex, it is hard to imagine the road's beginnings as a rough track, used by squatters and others heading into the undeveloped bush to the south and east as far as Gippsland.
As a major gateway to Melbourne, St Kilda Road hads always been used by a vast cross-section of the community, despite its eras of exclusivity. Day trippers and holiday crowds visiting St Kilda were followed in later years by shoppers and city workers using cable trams, and then by college students, commuters, protest marchers, tourists and theatre-goers of more recent times All users of the boulevard appreciate the shady plantations and gentle parklands which stretch beside much of the road.
However, St Kilda Road is much more than an impressive tree-lined street: it is a statement about Melbourne people and the city's past.

A great book about one of the world's grand and great boulevards, :)

Edwardian Melbourne
In Picture Postcards

Alexandra Bertram, Angus Trumble
Miegunyah Press, State Library of Victoria
First published in 1995

Out of print

Edwardian Melbourne was full of grandeur, excitement and self-confidence. It was a city of splendid parks, grand public buildings and wide boulevards dotted with sculpture. Its streets were crowded with cable trams, hansom cabs, ladies with parasols and gentlemen in spats.
This book reveals Melbourne in the years between Federation and the outbreak of World war I. Its is an affectionate portrait of a proudly imperial city which saw itself as the magnificent capital of a new and vigorous nation.

This book inspired me to start collecting postcards. :)

Federation Square
Edited by Clare Coney
Hardie Grant Books
First published in 2003

In print

Federation Square is a celebration of the building and architecture, and tells the story of how this corner block developed over the years - from an indigenous camp and meeting place to the city's first morgue, then the site of the infamous Gas & Fuel towers to the Federation Square of today.
The book explains the complexities of the project, such as the logistics of constructing a deck over the Jolimont Rail Yards to the intricate geometry of the facades and the technology of the labyrinth and the engineering feat of the Atrium. It also takes you through the precincts, which include the Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, ACMI: The Australian Centre for the Moving Image, SBS, the Square, the Atrium, St Paul's Court, the Yarra Building and Transport, explaining the particular construction and design features of each.

A great book about a great place.

The Land Boomers
Michael Cannon
Thomas Nelson Australia Limited and Melbourne University Press
First published in 1966

In print

The wildest economic boom and depression in Australia's history occurred during the last years of the nineteenth century. All classes of people were swept along by a tidal wave of expansion which seemed to have no limit. Great cities and suburbs were planned or partly built, stock exchanges boomed, land speculation promised endless profit, and thousands took on debts they could never repay. In the end, nearly every major bank and building society crashed. Political and financial chicanery was exposed on every side. Investors lost everything they owned, wealthy families were bankrupted, and a massive redistribution of assets occurred.
Nearly a century later, the story of the Melbourne land boomers remains the most dramatic episode in the making of Australian urban history.

Greed, insanity and throwing caution to the wind, this book has the makings of a great film script!

Carlton: A History
Edited by Peter Yule
Melbourne University Press
First published in 2004

In print

This marvelous account of Carlton offers unique insights into one of Melbourne's oldest suburbs. The reader can fight the epic battles of the past as recounted by John Button, take part in street theatre with Bill Garner, watch the building of the elegant terraces of Drummond Street with Miles Lewis, stroll through the Melbourne General Cemetery with Don Chambers and Celestina Sagazio, share the experience of Greek immigrants with Nick Vlahogiannis, grow up in the 1950s with Arnold Zable, trace the building of the Royal Exhibition Building with David Dunstan, fight the Housing Commision with David Beauchamp, Frank Strahan and George Tibbits, or follow the rise of one of Victoria's most successful football clubs with Lionel Frost.

One of the best books available about any Melbourne suburb!

Melbourne Australia
Way of Life

Edited by G.H. Poole
Taurus Publishing
First published in 1979

Out of print

Welcome to our 'Way of Life' Melbourne book.
In this production we have tried to bring you some interesting areas of the 'real' Melbourne by using our 'Way of Life' theme.
We have attempted to capture with camera, pen and a lot of feeling numerous features which are so often overlooked.
From Melbourne's early history, gardens, Yarra River, trams and tree-lined streets, we moved through such areas as housing, education, migrant assimilation, industry, art, sport etc. simply by talking to and following the man in the street as we went.

A 1979 snapshot of Melbourne.

Then and Now

Heather Chapman and Judith Stillman
Thunder Bay Press
First published in 2005

In print

Melbourne is a mix of nineteenth century architecture, glass towers and innovative, modern buildings framed by parklands, magnificent gardens and the yellow beaches of Port Phillip Bay.
This fascinating book gives an insight into how the city has developed from the Victorian era and why it is considered to be one of the most livable cities in the world.

Like the title 'Melbourne Then and Now' is what you get in this book.
My feeling is that it could have been done better with proper photographs used for some of the 'Then' images instead of poorly scanned postcards.

The Story of Australia's Premier Street

Judith Buckrich
First published in 2005

In print

Collins Street is almost 170 years old and it has been rebuilt several times, yet its status as the grandest street of one of the great cities of the Victorian Age has never been in question. It is an urban landscape upon which many masters have worked and work today. Its fine nineteenth-century heritage is still strongly evident, adding depth and richness to that of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

Great street, great book, some great photographs and what I like best is the QUALITY of this book. No cheap shortcuts here, this is a coffee table book you have to have!
Was worth the wait. :)

Melbourne Markets
1841 - 1979

Edited by Colin E. Cole
Wilke and Company Limited
First published in 1980

Out of print

Men who were themselves part of the action have written this fascinating story of four Melbourne markets. The first market opened only six years after the Port Phillip settlement began, and became the Western Market. The Eastern Market soon followed, then the Queen Victoria Market.
The story revolves around the growth of the fruit and vegetable trade in these general markets until finally the trade gained a wholesale market of its own - The Melbourne Wholesale Fruit and Vegetable Market in Footscray Road, West Melbourne, a market unique in the western world today.

The definitive book on Melbourne's Fruit & Vegetable Markets.

Peter Emanuel
Australian Photographic Impressions pty ltd
First published in 2005

In print

Another pocket sized photographic book on Melbourne.
This would have to be one of the cheapest books I've ever bought, a bargain.
The photographs range from good to ordinary in quality.
If the photographer had been more selective with fewer and larger photographs, this book would have been bordering greatness.

A photographic essay on Melbourne, nothing more, nothing less.

Melbourne on the Yarra
Marjorie Tipping
Lansdowne Editions
First published in 1977

Out of print

Marjorie Tipping writes of Melbourne, of places and people, of its history and of its mores, with the wit and perception of a social commentator, the confidence and authority of one who is an acknowledged historian of the early Melbourne scene, and the charming restraint of a much traveled person who has also lived in other great cities of the world.

With over one hundred photographs old and new and printed in sepia tones, this book in my opinion could have been so much better if the photographs were in black and white instead.

Ferries on the Yarra
Colin Jones
Greenhouse Publications Pty Ltd
First published in 1981

Out of print

The first majestic ferry steamed up the Yarra in 1854. The Gondola, as she was known, was an extravagant affair headed for the pleasures and frivolity of the Cremorne Gardens. In her wake came a succession of boats, from ferries lavishly decorated as houseboats during the golden days of Henley, and those equipped with 'fast' dance floors and crowds of dancers, to workman-like ferries capable of sailing on the Bay, and modern ferries transporting a handful of passengers at a leisurely pace.

Colin Jones has talked to the men who ran the ferries, the dedicated old-timers with a love of the Yarra. He recounts contemporary - and often amusing - tales of the ferry boats.

Melbourne Town
A Boom City In Old Australia

Ross, Hutchinson & Associates
The Five Mile Press
First published in 2000

Out of print

The life and rise of early Melbourne coincided almost exactly with the reign of Queen Victoria, and the city - laid out on the coastal plain - had the rectitude of the age. Without harbours or hills to get in the way, the precise grids of the streets and lanes, the radiating boulevards and the surrounding suburbs were an orderly and modest base on which to grow. They served for a greater-than-expected explosion as Melbourne mushroomed from a quiet colonial capital to a thriving city built on the bounty of the gold-rushes.

Some nice photos have been found for this book.

Graham Kennedy's Melbourne
Graham Kennedy
Thomas Nelson (Australia) Limited
First published in 1967

Out of print

Let Graham Kennedy, Australia's top TV star, take you on a personally conducted tour of his favourite city: Melbourne.
Graham will show you all the sights of the city and take you to his favourite restaurants, hotels, and night spots. Go shopping with Graham around the big department stores, the arcades, the classy boutiques, the Victoria Market and the little Greek and Italian shops. He'll take you through the parks and gardens, along the Yarra River, to the beaches and the Dandenong ranges.
Be Graham's guest at the Melbourne Cup, the Show and the Footy.

Interesting and with some amusing anecdotes. Buy it if you finf it.

The story of The Windsor Hotel

Chrystopher J. Spicer
Loch Haven Books
First published in 1993

Out of print

The Windsor Hotel is the Duchess of Melbourne's hotels. A grand old lady, the Windsor maintains its commanding position - and reputation - with the well-bred haughtiness that comes from more than a hundred years of experience. Quite apart from her elegance, tradition and professional stature, the Windsor can also claim regal characteristics of another class. Not only is the hotel named after the British royal family, but by a strange twist of parliamentary process the hotel was, at one time, owned by the Queen.

This book is well researched, printed and presented, a pleasure to read. :)

Historic Buildings of Victoria
David Saunders
The Jacaranda Press
First published in 1966

Out of print

The purpose of this book is direct - to help the recognition, and to encourage the preservation, of the kinds of buildings listed and assessed in its pages.
The National Trust has continuously sought, selected and assessed buildings of architectural and historical significance throughout the State. The Trust now presents the results - a comprehensive classified survey of 640 buildings arranged in regional groups, each region being introduced by a short historical chapter.

The National Trust have done an excellent job with this book.
The Melbourne section is great.
If you find it, buy it! :)

Melbourne & Beyond
Steve Parish
Steve Parish Publishing Pty Ltd
First published in 2006

In print

An important city by world standards, Melbourne, capital of the State of Victoria, has a wealth of natural and created beauty. The city's charm lies in its grace and spaciousness, its exciting diversity and its physical beauty. Its architecture is a stimulating mixture of old and new: beautifully aged nineteenth-century creations stand beside buildings of startling modern design.

This is Steve Parish's latest book on Melbourne, released to take advantage of the Commonwealth Games it appears.
Most of the photos are new, except for what appears to be a ten year old photograph for the cover.

The Place To Be

Peter Lik
Peter Lik Publishing
First published in 2006

In print

Proud host to the 2006 Commonwealth Games, Melbourne is one of Australia's most vibrant and cosmopolitan cities. A unique mix of traditional and contemporary architecture, and casual European styling with a distinctive Australian flavour gives thec city a character all its own.

This is Peter lik's small book on Melbourne, released on time to take advantage of the Commonwealth Games.
Nice Pics!

Garryowen's Melbourne
1835 - 1852

Margaret Weidenhofer
First published in 1967

Out of print

Garryowen, alias Edmund Finn, was a prolific journalist and brilliant author who wrote The Chronicles of Early Melbourne, 1835 - 1852, Historical, Anecdotal and Personal, from which Miss Weidenhofer, has drawn most of the material for this book.

Margaret presents the modern reader with the best of Garryowen's lively, entertaining and witty accounts of early Melbourne.
A gem to read! :)

Rule Playing and the Ratbag Element
Denton Corker Marshall

Haig Beck / Jackie Cooper
Birhauser - Publishers for architecture
First published in 2000

In print

More than twenty-five years ago, John Denton, Bill Corker and Barrie Marshall founded the architectural practice Denton Corker Marshall which has become one of the most influential architectural forces in Australasia, and now has subsidiary offices in Hong Kong, Singapore, Jakarta, Ho Chi Minh City, London and Warsaw. The firm has built in many countries including Australia, Japan, Vietnam, China, and Indonesia, and exerts a commanding presence in the cityscapes of Melbourne and Sydney.

DCM's architecture is ubiquitous in the Melbourne cityscape.
The definitive book on these masters!

Bates Smart
150 Years of Australian Architecture

Philip Goad
Thames & Hudson
First published in 2004

In print

Featuring stunning drawings and photographs, Bates Smart: 150 Years of Australian Architecture charts the development of a nation's architecture through the work and personalities of a single architectural practice.
From Joseph Reed in 1853 to Bates Smart today, this Melbourne-based firm has realised buildings of great distinction and at every scale: from houses, hospitals, schools and universities to some of Australia's largest public projects like the Royal Exhibition Building and the Crown Entertainment Complex.

Bates Smart has played such a prominent part in shaping Melbourne's Modern built environment, that as the definitive Melbourne-based architectural firm, their book is a must-have for you! :)

The Griffins in Australia and India
Edited by Jeff Turnbull and Peter Y. Navaretti
Miegunyah Press
First published in 1998

In print

Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahony Griffin were Australia's first internationally significant architects-the creators of 125 projects in the USA, 270 in Australia and 42 in India.
In Australia their wider achievements have been largely overshadowed by their local fame as the original design planners of the national capital, Canberra. Less well known are the Griffins' designs for several towns, suburban estates, civic and commercial buildings, cinemas, a university residential college, low cost dwellings, industrial buildings, furniture, landscapes and many beautiful houses, as well as Marion's tree studies.
The Griffins are also important to Australia because their architecture-organic, often submerged in native foliage, or seemingly rooted in the land defines them as the originators of our contemporary regard for native landscape as an expression of national identity.

The Griffins, creators of Capitol Cinema and ****** College, need I say anymore. :)

Design City Melbourne
Leon Van Schaik
Photography bt John Gollings
Wiley-Academy, a division of John Wiley & Sons Ltd
First published in 2006

In print

Melbourne is now coming to the fore as a design hotspot. With almost 4 million inhabitants, it is on a scale that is liveable and diverse. Its rich and varied cultural intimacy has enabled it to build up a unique dynamism, which is set shift the entire design agenda of the world - much like Barcelona did in the 1980s and Antwerp did in the 1990s.
Melbourne is the city of the noughties.

A good read about wonderful spaces; galleries, bars, restaurants, sports venues, apartment buildings, etc.. :)

Edited by Steve Foley
First published in 2004

In print

This magnificent book reflects The Age's history and at the same time, is a history of Melbourne and Victoria and Australia. It is a history of the events, large and small, of people, powerful and less powerful, who made Melbourne and our state one of the best places on Earth in which to live.

The Age is Melbourne's respectable daily newspaper and has over the years provided us with great photojournalism to match its in-depth reports. :)

The Mystery of a Hansom Cab
Fergus Hume
Text Publishing
First published in 1886

In print

Read all about it!
The Mystery of a Hansom cab is the original Australian blockbuster and international best-selling crime novel. First published in 1886, this vivid and brilliantly plotted murder thriller, set in the charming and deadly streets of marvelous Melbourne, has sold hundreds of thousands of copies around the world.

Over one hundred years later, people still consider this a masterpiece in crime fiction and better yet, it's based in the streets of Marvellous Melbourne.
I must add that it has dated somewhat though.

Source: The Collector

❊ Web Links ❊

Books about Melbourne

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Blue Lake | Finding Dudley Flats and the West Melbourne Swamp

Buckley's Chance | Garry Linnell

The Rip Curl Story

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