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.
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
Especially images of Fitzroy
1 & 2 Brooks Crescent, 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.