The State Library of Victoria has recently digitised a collection of photographs by Alan K Jordan, which were donated to the library by his daughters Louisa and Caroline in 2010. The images are a wonderful document of Victoria’s social history.

Alan K. Jordan was born in 1934 and grew up on his family farm in the Wimmera, before moving to Melbourne to study zoology. He became a social worker and researcher, working with the homeless in Melbourne’s inner city. (The Age, 21 May 2012, pg 16)  He was a key founder of Hanover House, which opened in Fitzroy in 1964, and a pioneer in changing how homeless people were viewed, and the services provided for them. As well as working as a social worker, Jordan documented the clients of the centre through his photographs. These images were used in his seminal book Going bad: homeless men in an Australian city.

client hanover jordanclient hanover jordan 2client hanover jordan 3

Images

1. Unidentified client at the Hanover Centre, Fitzroy

2. Unidentified client with head injury at the Hanover Centre

3. Unknown client, Hanover Centre, Fitzroy

Jordan also photographed his family and friends, showing them camping, fishing and at dinner parties. He took numerous images which captured Melbourne’s inner suburbs, including Carlton and Fitzroy, showing the buildings and their occupants. His photographs show Melbourne’s inner suburbs during a period of great change in the 1960s and 1970s, as working class homes were often demolished for high rise housing commission flats and freeways, or being renovated and gentrified.

Renate Howe, David Nichols and Graeme Davison explain in their book, Trendyville: the battle for Australia’s inner cities, ‘…in the 1960s and 1970s cheap housing and a raffish atmosphere made the inner city a natural focus of artistic and cultural life. In turn, the newcomers began to look upon their environment with new eyes, discovering beauty where modernist planners and engineers found only ugliness and decay.’ (pg 8)

Images of Inner Melbourne

skipping jordan

two ladies jordan looking over fence jordan

Images

1. Children playing skipping rope on the footpath

2. Two ladies walking down a cobbled laneway in Fitzroy

3. Looking over a back fence at washing hanging on a rotary clothes line, inner Melbourne, Victoria

Especially images of Fitzroy

brooks crescent fitzroy jordan

brooks crescent fitzroy jordan 2

gertrude street jordanbrunswick greeves fitzroy jordan

1 & 2 Brooks Crescent, Fitzroy

3. Streetscape, Gertrude Street, Fitzroy, Victoria

4. Brunswick Street and Greeves Street, Fitzroy

In some images, the people and places are identified, however in many other photographs there is no information. You can share your knowledge to help confirm the locations via the State Library of Victoria catalogue. From an image in the catalogue, click on the ‘comments and tags’ tab to add your comment. You will need to login with your State Library card to do this, but if you are not currently a member you can join online.

This article has 18 comments

  1. Are these all the photos? Where is the link to the collection?

  2. Peter Shields

    These photographs are beautiful. Very familiar. Thank you.

  3. Jane Furneaux

    Great photos, trying to locate my old pics.

  4. Nicole McGrath

    Great collection – thanks SLV for digitising this collection and promoting it on the blog. Great to see photographs documenting Melbourne’s recent history by such a fine photographer as Alan K Jordan.

  5. Thankyou, thoroughly enjoyed looking at these pics. I’m melbourne born and bred.

  6. David Wadelton

    I’m having trouble finding the entire collection. LAst night I followed a link that was posted when someone asked “Where are the photos?”, but today all the comments have disappeared. Am I missing something? The work looks great!

  7. David Wadelton

    Found them!

  8. Les Schintler

    Hello Debra, what a fine collection of Alan Jordan’s photographs, I was working in publishing in 1994 and was involved in his book “GOING BAD” .
    I was the rep between the graphic artist and the printer and Alan who personally signed me a copy of his book.
    As a child during the 1940’s I lived on the corner of Greeves and Young streets just up from Brunswick street. Also within staggering distance of the Rainbow hotel. I am no writer of any note however I am putting together my recollections of life as I remember in my grandmother boarding house in “the guts of Fitzroy ” Email if you would like to see what I have written to date.
    kind regards Les Schintler.

  9. 2 photos above look like both are Brooks Crescent. Neither look like Gertrude St fro looking at Google Earth?

    Great photos!

  10. Peter Shields

    These photographs are dear. Thank you.

  11. Really loved trawling through these gorgeous photos! I moved from Canada to inner city Melbourne in 1980 and the images of beautiful old worker’s cottages and little terrace houses have really sparked some wonderful memories. Thank you to Alan Jordan’s daughters for sharing these precious photos.

  12. Thanks you for the great photos of Melbourne suburbs & also the rose series. I’m really excited about sharing them online.

  13. Susan Nicholas

    Wonderful photos. Black & white photography is so powerful. Great social history.

  14. The pics of Brookes Crescent…a lot of those houses were torn down to build housing commission townhouses, so it’s great to see what the original houses looked like

  15. Amazing! What wonderful photos! Thank you so much for bringing them to our attention – I love them!

  16. The two women walking are heading towards Leicester str I lived in the Leicester arms hotel 81 Leicester str

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