Treasures of the collection

Contained within the Kew Historical Society’s collection are a number of ‘Treasures’. It is our intention to list them here. The numerical order is not intended to represent degrees of significance or value.

 DSC03089-tn 1. The unveiling of the Kew War Memorial, 1925

The original, very large framed photograph of the ceremony of Unveiling of the Kew War Memorial, by His Excellency the Governor, Earl of Stradbroke KCMG, Sunday 30 August 1925. At the ceremony there were over five thousand in attendance crowding the intersection of High Street and Cotham Road. The voices of the Governor and the Mayor, Councillor Jabez Carnegie were amplified from four loud speakers on the dome of the memorial. A guard of honour from the 39th Battalion C.M.F. was present, together with the First Kew Troop of Boy Scouts. Restoration of the work by staff at the Grimwade Centre has been made possible by a contribution from Andrew McIntosh M.L.A.


Robert M. Young, Mayor 1869-70. Kew Historical Society collection

Robert M. Young, Mayor 1869-70. Kew Historical Society collection

2. Mayoral portraits
In a photograph of a function in the council chamber of the old Kew Town Hall in Walpole Street, dating from the 1950s, one can see mayoral portraits on the walls of the chamber above wooden panelling. Each portrait was similarly framed and the dates of office of the mayor inscribed on the mount. There were 110 chairmen and mayors of Kew between 1861-1994. The Kew Historical Society is the custodian of the original framed photographs. This collection of 83 mayoral portraits includes those from 1863-1967. While later mayors were officially photographed, their portraits were not mounted according to past practice. From 1861 to 1967, the only missing portraits are those of George Wharton (1861-62), John Halfey (1962-63), W.H. Wrixon (1870-71), John Clements (1899-1900), and L.H. Ussher (1900-1901). It is likely that four of these five portraits no longer exist in any form.

MMBW Detail Plans in the Kew Historical Society's map collection

MMBW Detail Plans in the Kew Historical Society’s map collection

3. MMBW Detail Plans of Kew
From 1891 to 1991, the Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works (MMBW) was one of the most powerful state authorities in Victoria. During that period the MMBW was responsible for sewering Melbourne and its suburbs.To facilitate the introduction of sewerage systems the Board systematically produced detailed plans of suburbs, streets and houses. While the State Library of Victoria is fortunate in having a virtually complete set of MMBW plans for Melbourne ,it is missing a number of plans which are in the Kew Historical Society’s collection. Thirty-five of the 100+ MMBW plans in our collection are also hand-coloured, in contrast to the monochrome maps in the State Library collection. A number of these hand-tinted plans from the beginning of the twentieth century include extraordinarily detailed annotations about the ownership of houses and features of the landscape. The plans were gifted to the Society by the City of Kew Engineer’s Department in 1989.

Cover, 'Kew: Where We Live' (1891)

Cover, ‘Kew: Where We Live’ (1891)

4. Kew: Where We Live

[Kellett, Henry (publisher) & Farquhar, J.F.C. (photographer), Melbourne, 1891].
A collaboration between Henry Kellett (later Baronet Henry de Castres Kellett) and the Kew photographer J. F. C. Farquhar, it comprised a number of photographs of Kew in the last decade of the nineteenth century. Kellett advertised the collection of photographs in the album as: “Photographic views of Kew and its surroundings, executed by the ‘Argentic Bromide’ process, which ensures absolute permanency of the photograph. In a few years hence when most of the old landmarks will have disappeared, these views will be a valuable memento of Kew as it was in 1891”. Individual photographs could be purchased separately which accounts for individual photographs being in national collections. The rarest book in the Collection, it is believed to be unique.
 1958.0001 5. In Memoriam

[Melbourne, John Springthorpe, after 1897].
The Springthorpe Memorial is the most important monument in the Boroondara Cemetery. It commemorates Annie Constance Springthorpe (nee Inglis), the wife of Dr. John Springthorpe (1867-1897). The creation of the monument involved some of the best artists and designers of the period: John Longstaff, Bertram Mackennal, Harold Desbrowe-Annear, August Fisher, James Marriot, William Guilfoyl, and Charles Loughman. Following his wife’s death, Springthorpe worked with John Longstaff to produce a book, entitled ‘In Memoriam’ for his personal collection, for his children and for immediate family members. Designed by Longstaff, it contained poems, photographs, drawings and idealised memories of Annie and their life together. The Kew Historical Society’s collection includes two copies of In Memoriam. It is likely that these two volumes are two of the five remaining printed copies identified to date.