Social media sensation Old Vintage Melbourne is known for sharing historic imagery of Melbourne’s iconic buildings, forgotten shops and stunning landmarks. Now the man behind the Instagram, Chris Macheras, is releasing a book of fan-fave flashbacks and rare city scenes. Read on for a sneak peek at seven snaps from the book.

Swanston Street, 1858

Considered one of the earliest known photos of Swanston Street, this throwback is 163 years in the making. You can see the original bluestone Melbourne Town Hall (since demolished and replaced by the current Town Hall), and not a Maccas or 7-Eleven in sight.

A black and white photo of Melbourne in the 1800s.
Swanston Street 1858. Photographers: Antoine Fauchery & Richard Daintree.

Bourke Street, 1880

What was en vogue in the 1880s? Hats, hats and more hats. These fashionable pedestrians crossing Bourke Street were also witness to Melbourne’s first telephone exchange, and the inaugural Melbourne International Exhibition in the same year.

A black and white photo of people crossing the street in the 1850s.
Bourke Street 1880. Photographer: John Henry.

When Flinders Street was a fish market, 1900

No clocks or trains to be seen on the corner of Flinders and Swanston Street in 1900. Back then, this was the site of Melbourne’s corner fish market. Most of the stalls at this time were leased to veggie stalls and bike stables. It was demolished in 1906 to make way for the station, so this may be one of the only photos you’ll ever see of the market.

A black and white photo of an old market
The Flinders Street fish market, 1900

Flinders Lane, 1914

Nowadays you can shop, read and croque monsieur your way down Flinders Lane. In 1914, you were more likely to pop down and peruse huge warehouses for clothing and textile manufacturers. In this snap, first-generation motorcars are lined up on the narrow road.

Old fashioned cars in a city street in the 1900s
Flinders Lane 1914

Flinders Street Station, 1916

How far this little corner came in just 10 years. Hats are still top of mind for these city goers, including the eerie young girl dressed in white glaring at the camera. Gorgeous old-school trams packed with commuters can be seen alongside horse-drawn carts and jaywalking pedestrians. Note the WWI recruitment banner that reads: ‘Enlist and Fight for the Dear Old Flag’.

A black and white photo of Flinders Street Station with pedestrians and trams on the street.
Flinders Street Station 1916. Photographer: Kerr Brothers.

Collins Street, 1934

Melbourne’s art deco architecture doesn't get more iconic than the Manchester Unity Building. See the glorious spire on the left hand side of this glittering night time pic from the 1930s. Other sights that are still visible to this day include the Regent Theatre, tram lines and towering trees overhanging parked cars.

A black and white photo of a Melbourne street at night in the 1930s.
Collins Street 1934

Foy’s Department Store, 1935

Established in 1870, Foy’s was one of Australia’s first and largest department stores. This landmark building on the corner of Bourke and Swanston Street was rebuilt and extended in 1935 to the tune of 250,000 pounds. In today’s money, that's just under $25 million! After enduring economic crashes, industrial movements and the post–gold rush boon, Foy’s was sold to another company in 1955.

A black and white photo of a large old department store on a street corner.
Foy's Department Store 1935. Photographer: Lyle Fowler.

Where to buy the Old Vintage Melbourne book

Shop local online (or in stores after lockdown) from 18 October at: Readings, Hill of Content, The Paperback Bookshop, North Melbourne Books, Metropolis Bookshop, Mary Martin Bookshop and Dymocks.

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