Book: Heritage Matters
In 1953 City of Melbourne workers appeared in George Street, East Melbourne, and started to chop down the magnificent elm trees which had lined the street for nearly a century. The trees had helped define East Melbourne as a residential garden suburb. The residents were outraged, and letters of furious protest began to rain down on the City Council. The residents soon realised that this was a battle which would not be easily won and they needed to work together to preserve the heritage of the suburb.
From this small beginning the East Melbourne Group was formed, the earliest residential group to take responsibility for the protection of their suburb and preserve its heritage and amenity. Seventy years later the East Melbourne Group remains as an example of ‘people power’ helping to maintain East Melbourne’s reputation as Melbourne’s ‘most liveable suburb’. Established to influence Council decisions on amenity in both East Melbourne and Jolimont, by the 1970s the group was active in the protection of heritage places, parks and streetscapes. Heritage Matters reveals that today the Group still acts as the ever-watchful guardian of this small suburb.
Largely due to the energy of the East Melbourne Group the suburb continues to reflect Victoria’s history and forms an essential part of the historic fabric of nineteenth-century Melbourne.
About the author
Jill Fenwick OAM has been a resident of East Melbourne for over thirty years. She has been awarded Life Membership of the East Melbourne Group and was president of the East Melbourne Historical Society in the years 2006 to 2019