Where to Start

Resources & History Collection

The Collingwood Local History Collection is held at Collingwood Library, 11 Stanton St, Abbotsford. The Collection includes books, directories, pamphlets, press cuttings, photographs, journal articles, unpublished essays and typescripts, theses, brochures, research notes, taped interviews, maps and ephemera. People wishing to use this collection are advised to first contact the Local History Officer at Collingwood Library.

Local history books, documents and photos are included in the Yarra Libraries catalogue: https://coyl.swft.ent.sirsidynix.net.au/client/en_AU/coyl/

Most photos in the collection have been added to the PictureVictoria website. If you want to limit your search to photos held by Yarra Libraries, choose Advanced Search, and select Yarra Libraries.

City of Yarra libraries hold a large collection of microfilm, microfiche and CD-Rom resources such as directories, rate books, local newspapers, and birth, death and marriage indexes which are useful for general family and local history research. The library web site includes a section describing these collections in more detail: https://library.yarracity.vic.gov.au/research/local-history

None of the microform material is held at the Collingwood library because there are no viewing facilities there. While most of the general material can also be found in many Victorian and interstate libraries, researchers wishing to consult the Collingwood rate books will find them at Fitzroy library, and the local papers at Fitzroy and/or Richmond libraries.

Collingwood Historical Society does not have its own rooms. Local History inquiries may be dealt with by Collingwood Library staff or by the Collections and Local History Librarian based at Fitzroy branch. Queries will be passed on to the Historical Society if required.

How to find out about Collingwood History

The following two books make a very good starting point:

  • A Short History of Collingwood by G M Hibbins, a book of 80 pages covering the history from pre-settlement to amalgamation in 1994. It includes a list of all mayors and town clerks from 1855 to 1994, has a good index, and copious footnotes which provide you with further references to follow up if wanted.
  • In Those Days: Collingwood remembered is based on a series of oral history interviews conducted in the 1970s and gives a terrific picture of everyday life for Collingwood people in the earlier part of the twentieth century: school, work, entertainment, the depression, etc. It also includes a good introductory section of general history. In those Days is available as an ebook here.

A more detailed book, but with a narrower focus, is The Inner Suburbs by Bernard Barrett. Based on intensive research carried out for his thesis, Barrett concentrates on land subdivision, the development of the industrial environment in the nineteenth century, the various factions on Collingwood Council, drainage and sanitation, and exploitation of the Yarra.

For information on three elements which contribute to the architectural heritage and the tapestry of daily life – schools, churches and hotels – consult the following:

  • Bitter Roots, Sweet Fruit: a history of schools in Collingwood, Abbotsford and Clifton Hill (2008 book)
  • Brimstone to Bunyip: churches of Collingwood, Clifton Hill and Abbotsford (1999 book)
  • Collingwood’s 101 Hotels (online database on this website)

These sources give information on every example in the category, whether existing, closed or demolished, and also put them, as social institutions, into the overall context of life in Collingwood  – they are more than just buildings.

You can also follow up items in the included bibliographies if you want to undertake more detailed research.

Under this section of Yarra’s website you will find the following pages:

  • Resources and publications
  • The history of your house
  • Historical and genealogical links
  • History of the City of Yarra

Information on individuals, and house history.   Use general genealogical resources such as Births Deaths and Marriages, electoral rolls, Sands and Kenny / Sands and McDougall directories which list all residents alphabetically and in street order up to 1974 (on microfiche at many libraries including Fitzroy branch of Yarra Libraries); rate books which show both the owner and occupant of each house, and the occupant’s occupation (microform at Fitzroy Library; hard copy at Public Record Office of Victoria).  The 1856 electoral roll, divided by subdivision, lists all men who owned property, earned more than 100 pounds per annum, or had a university degree; twentieth century electoral rolls include all enrolled adults in each household.


Conservation Studies

The Yarra Council website includes all conservation and heritage studies in searchable PDF format. These include general historical and background material as well as information on individual buildings.  Go to https://www.yarracity.vic.gov.au/the-area/heritage/heritage-studies  where you will find the following:

  • The City of Collingwood Conservation Study
  • Darling Gardens Cultural Significance & Conservation Policies
  • City of Yarra Heritage Review 1998
  • City of Yarra Heritage Review 2007

Heritage Places

Information regarding the level of significance of places in Yarra, with physical descriptions, photographs and Heritage Overlay numbers, can be accessed from this page:


For places which are on the Victorian Heritage Register, visit Heritage Victoria’s website .

Street names     See the page on this website headed Street names.

Don’t forget the catalogue!

Documents, books, articles, audiotapes and DVDs in the Collingwood History Collection are included in the Yarra Library website. There are also relevant books in the general collection, including books on general Melbourne history which will provide a context for Collingwood as part of the greater metropolis. When searching the catalogue, you can make your search very general, e.g. Collingwood History or very specific e.g.  St Philip’s Church, John Pascoe Fawkner,  Peter Nettleton. If you prefer to browse a printed version, you can look at or buy the Collingwood: an annotated bibliography, compiled by David Tuck, but keep in mind it does not include material added to the collection since the early 1990s.


Photographs in the Collingwood Picture Collection are available on Picture Victoria. http://www.picturevictoria.vic.gov.au

The Collingwood Historical Society has a collection of mostly current photos on Flickr at https://www.flickr.com/photos/collingwoodhs

There are also great local photos in the Flickr Abbotsford, Clifton Hill and Abbotsford group: https://www.flickr.com/groups/documentingcollingwood/

Many of the above photos, as well as those from other sources, as also available on the National Library of Australia’s Trove portal:http://trove.nla.gov.au/picture

The State Library of Victoria catalogue has many relevant photos, often viewable online (as well as lots of non-pictorial material).  http://slv.vic.gov.au

Royal Historical Society of Victoria has a print, manuscript and image collection and provides assistance with research.  http://www.historyvictoria.org.au

Newspapers etc

The National Library of Australia’s Trove website is an absolute gold mine, especially the digitised newspapers, which are fully searchable. Not all Collingwood papers have been digitised yet, but The Argus, The Age, Fitzroy City Press and The Mercury are great sources. The Tribune has been digitised from 1910 to 1919 only. (Other local newspapers are available on microfilm at libraries.)

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