Welcome to the Fitzroy History Society

Are you interested in the history of Fitzroy?  All are welcome.
You don’t have to live in Fitzroy to be a member.

Brendan Mitchell, president

Welcome to a journey through time and a celebration of our shared passion for history, especially as it relates to Fitzroy, Melbourne's first suburb! It is with great pleasure that we extend a warm welcome to each and every one of you as valued members of our now 40 years old History Society.

In joining our society, you are not merely becoming a member; you are becoming a custodian of the past, a guardian of the stories that have shaped our world, and, in particular, the rich history embedded in Fitzroy. Your enthusiasm for history enriches our collective understanding and adds depth to our exploration of the events and individuals that have shaped the course of history in this iconic suburb.

Fitzroy, with its charming streets and historical landmarks, holds a special place in our hearts. As members of this society, you will have the unique opportunity to delve into the captivating tales of Fitzroy's evolution, from its early days as Melbourne's first suburb to its present-day cultural vibrancy. Our society serves as a platform for delving into the historical significance of Fitzroy, from its architecture to its diverse communities, weaving together the narratives that make this suburb a living testament to Melbourne's past.

As a member, we encourage you to actively participate, share your insights, and contribute to the vibrant tapestry of our historical community, with a particular focus on Fitzroy. Your unique perspective and passion for Fitzroy's history are invaluable assets that will undoubtedly enhance our collective journey through time.

Thank you for choosing to be a part of the Fitzroy History Society, as we embark on this captivating adventure through the annals of Fitzroy's history and uncover the fascinating stories that await our exploration.

Fitzroy magistrates 1860-65

Fourteen men seated at Magistrates' Bench, five at table in front of them. John Pascoe Fawkner is seated in the centre. Numbered with black ink above each man, L-R: Francis Conway, Constable; William Templeton, Police Magistrate; Dr. Thomas Serrell, J.P.; Thomas Kidney, J. P.; Thomas Cope J.P.; John Falconer, J.P.; Hon. John Pascoe Fawkner, MLC J.P.; Hon. Charles Vaughn, MLC J.P.; J. W. Thomas, J.P. (Protector of Aborigines); George P. Hailes J.P.; Dr. John William Hadden, J.P.; John Levy, J. P.; Henry Prince, J.P.; Albert Reed, Solicitor; \[…] Kidston, Solicitor; James Robert McArthur, Reporter; Henry Vaughn Duigan, Clerk of Court; James W. Kidston, Reporter; Thomas H. Lyttleton, Superintendant of Police.

Performers outside Birmingham Hotel 1918

A troupe of performers on the corner of Johnston and Smith Streets before a show.

Gore Street 1888

A photo taken of the terrace houses at 10-20 Gore Street by German photographer, P. Stetter.

Fitzroy Football team 1905

Fitzroy was one of the six founding teams of the VFL (along with Collingwood, Essendon, Geelong, South Melbourne and Melbourne) in 1896. They were a powerhouse of the league winning premierships in 1898, 1899, 1904, 1905, 1913, 1916, 1922 and 1944.

Gertrude Street 1890

Looking past Brunswick Street toward Nicholson Street. Exhibition Building is visible on the right.

Beating the Bounds 1882

Citizens of Fitzroy used to walk the boundaries of the suburb as a matter of civic pride. There was a re-enactment in 2010.

Band of Good Hope Convention Fitzroy 1922

The Band of Good Hope was a temperance organisation formed in 1847 in Leeds, England. The BoGH spread throughout the English speaking world and reached Australia by 1860.

Postcard greetings from Fitzroy 1906

Looking south along Brunswick Street past the Beswick Building on the left.

Panorama 1889

A panoramic view of Fitzroy looking north along Brunswick Street.

Nicholson Street 1864

Nicholson Street including Royal Terrace and a section of Carlton Gardens.

Brunswick Family Hotel 1861

Still operating as a hotel after all these years – The Fitzroy Hotel.

Fitzroy curiosity shop 1919

Drawing by Victor Cobb. The shop was on the corner of Fitzroy and Palmer Streets.

MacRobertson boiler house circa 1920

This building used to produce the power for other MacRobertson factories across Fitzroy. 399 Gore Street.

Fitzroy 1870-80

Panorama from the north looking across where Alexandra Parade is today. The “Gaso” can be seen middle right.

Fitzroy Cyclorama

The Fitzroy Cyclorama, built in 1889, was one of the first two in the city of Melbourne.

Corner Brunswick and Gertrude Streets circa 1950

Showing Rob Roy and Champion Hotels and buildings demolished to construct Atherton Gardens Estate.

Fitzroy's gas lamps

Fitzroy's gas lamps

Here's an interesting collection of Fitzroy's historic gas lamps published in 2021, photographed by Rachel Axton.

Beating the Bounds

Beating the Bounds

“Beating the Bounds” (or boundaries) is a ceremony of great antiquity from England and Europe. It also occurred in Fitzroy.