Articles by: Sarah Matthews

The old tin shed

The old tin shed

January 25, 2018

Buildings & streets, Such was life:

‘The Elizabeth Street blot’, ‘unsightly’, ‘deplorable’, ‘an ancient eyesore’. Few buildings in our city’s history excited as much controversy as ‘the old tin shed’.

Convict tattoos

Convict tattoos

October 18, 2017

Such was life:

What do the following things have in common: candlesticks, beehives, cock fights, drinking glasses, swans, flowerpots, crucifixes, stags, comets, and roses? Give up? They’re all convict tattoos.

The 1967 referendum

The 1967 referendum

May 26, 2017

Such was life:

On 27 May 1967, Australians voted in record numbers to alter two sections of the Constitution so it no longer discriminated against Aboriginal people. The landslide ‘yes’ vote was seen as a watershed moment in Australian political history.

Federici’s ghost

Federici’s ghost

March 7, 2017

Arts & literature, Such was life:

Melbourne’s Princess Theatre has been host to many fine performers over the years, but the most famous performance of all belongs to its ghost, Federici.

A cargo of fallen angels

A cargo of fallen angels

November 30, 2016

People & professions, Such was life:

Children in detention. Stopping the boats. You’d be forgiven for thinking it was recent times but in fact, it was the 19th century.

Poetry of the pongo

Poetry of the pongo

August 8, 2016

Such was life, War:

‘Pongo’ was a term used by Australian troops in World War One to refer to the common foot soldier of the infantry battalions. The songs, stories, art and verses of the pongos tells us much about the Australian soldiers who fought in the Great War.

So, you want to be a librarian?

So, you want to be a librarian?

May 23, 2016

People & professions, Such was life:

From 1948 up until 1969, the Melbourne Public Library’s training school educated nearly 300 aspiring librarians. Many things have changed since then, but some things still remain the same…

Guide Alice

Guide Alice

April 18, 2016

People & professions, Such was life:

Alice Manfield, or ‘Guide Alice’ as she came to be known, had a strange, romantic childhood on Mount Buffalo. She grew up to become a talented naturalist, photographer and writer, as well as an unlikely feminist figure.

The little blue building

The little blue building

December 4, 2015

Buildings & streets, Such was life:

There’s a little blue building outside Flinders Street Station. ‘When was it built?’, a curious library patron asked. The question led me to some interesting research involving milk cans, viaduct vaults and bananas.

Slums of Melbourne

Slums of Melbourne

August 6, 2015

Social life & customs, Such was life:

As far back as the 1850s, slums existed in inner city Melbourne. In the 1930s, Frederick Barnett began taking photos of the slums, using them in a push for social reform.