Montague the Lost Community

The Montague district of South Melbourne extended from Ferrars Street to Boundary Road and from City Road to the railway line. The main cross streets were Gladstone, Buckhurst, Thistlethwaite and Montague.  The Montague railway station which was established in 1883, gave the area its name.   By 1900, there were twenty two streets and lanes within the district.

The area was intended for ‘persons of the artisan class’, and this was reflected in the type of housing advertised for sale.  ‘Neat two roomed cottage and land, plastered 110pounds.   Stoke Street, off Gladstone Place

By 1875, there were about 560 households in Montague.   In 1900 there were over 1000 households in the district, with some 200 of these in the lanes and little streets.  

Many of the workers attracted to the low cost housing were labourers, firemen, boilermakers, mariners and shipwrights.   Surprisingly, nearly a third of the inhabitants of Montague were owner occupiers.

Most of the houses in the little streets and lanes were made of wood, and had two or three rooms, occasionally four.   Most had no bathroom or wash house.   By the 1920s these houses were damp and decaying, due in most part to the periodic flooding of the area.

The area was known for its close community ties; it had its own school, church, police station, kindergarten, football team, hotels and shops.   But by the late 1930s the whole area had been earmarked for demolition by the Government’s Slum Abolition Board.   By the 1960s most people had left the area.

Today the area with its large warehouses and factories is almost unrecognisable as a once thriving residential district.

Gladstone St., sm0814
Gladstone St., sm0814
Gladstone St., sm0817
Gladstone St., sm0817
Montague St., sm0812
Montague St., sm0812
Thistlethwaite St., sm0830
Thistlethwaite St., sm0830
<<<September 2019>>>
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