Sunday, 11 December 2011 07:05

Timeline 1950-2012

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St Kilda becomes increasingly ‘run-down’. Young artists and musicians benefit from the cheap housing. Acland Street's café society blossoms with the influx of cosmopolitan European migrants. Leo’s opens in 1956 and Scherezade in 1958.


Melbourne Olympics held. St Kilda Town Hall and other local venues used including yachting at the Royal Melbourne Yacht Squadron.


Feb 28, St Kilda to Brighton Electric Tram line ceases operation.



Between 1961 and 1971 flats increase from 38% to 62% of all dwellings. Boarding houses and cheap rents offer a place for lower income people and artists. Red light entertainment prospers with Whisky A Go Go, Les Girls at the Ritz and ‘Vanessa the Undresser’ at the George. Germaine Greer, formerly of Elwood, publishes The Female Eunuch.


On Yom Kippur the Rabbi at St Kilda Synagogue informs the congregation that the St Kilda Football Team has won the Premiership. Residents rejoice despite the team’s move to Moorabbin in 1964. Tolarno’s Gallery and restaurant opens in Fitzroy street by Mirka and Georges Mora, making St Kilda a pivot of Melbourne’s art world.


The Junction is reconfigured with a new road underpass and cutting linking Queens Road to Dandenong Road. Dec 27, the Palais de Danse (1920) is destroyed by fire. 


The St Kilda Marina beside Marine Parade opens. Adjacent reclamation works continue south to Point Ormond creating large areas of new parkland.




Prince Charles, after swimming at Elwood describes the water as ‘diluted sewage’. As a result of the embarrassment Council makes efforts to reduce pollution from waterways and storm water drains.


Council begins to focus on the development of social services with the first municipal childcare centre opened in the Town Hall and the St Kilda Library opened in 1973 after a community campaign.


High Street is widened, destroying an historic shopping precinct of 150 buildings (including the Junction Hotel), and its name changed to St Kilda Road. 




First St Kilda festival held. From small beginnings as a general arts festival this eventually grows to become a major Melbourne music event attended by over 400,000 people regularly.


Elaine Miller is elected St Kilda’s first female Mayor. 
Sep 22, the St Moritz ice skating rink is destroyed by fire and the remaining walls subsequently demolished. Now site of Novotel St Kilda.


‘Turn the Tide’ Councillors are elected vowing to protect the interests of lower income residents, create public housing and protect St Kilda from over-development.



St Kilda becomes increasingly popular. Changes to the Liquor Control Act 1987 enable outdoor cafes and restaurants to thrive and inner city living becomes fashionable. St Kilda now has five government and fourteen non-government schools. Backpacker hostels multiply bringing young international visitors. Visitors flock to the Sunday Market and festivals such as the Wicked Arts Festival, Koori Day, the St Kilda Film Festival. The annual Gay Pride March commences. Residents groups actively campaign to oppose over-development and the Grand Prix in Albert Park.


Apr 7, the St Kilda Town Hall and Ballroom are destroyed by fire. Only the hall is later rebuilt.


In June the City of St Kilda is no more. St. Kilda is amalgamated with Port Melbourne and South Melbourne to create the City of Port Phillip. Mayor Tim Costello makes the last mayoral speech at St Kilda Town Hall before handing over to the interim Commissioners.


In March the first City of Port Phillip councillors are elected.





St Kilda property booms as waves of affluent young professionals seek an urban lifestyle by the sea. St Kilda Festival becomes the largest festival in Australia. The public swarms to street venues as well as renovated icons such as the St Kilda Sea Baths, Luna Park, Stokehouse, Donovans, West Beach Pavilion, the Station and the George Hotel. St Kilda is showcased in a popular TV serial ‘The Secret Life of Us’ and other films. Activist groups Esplanade Alliance campaign to save the Esplanade Hotel and Unchain St Kilda to save the Triangle Site.


Sep 11, the Kiosk on St Kilda Pier is destroyed by fire 99 years after its original construction. It is rebuilt in 2005 to the original design but with a modern extension at the rear.


Jul 11, The Palace nightclub, formally the new Palais De Danse (1972) is destroyed by fire.


In response to a city-wide campaign to halt the St Kilda Triangle site development, 5 of the original 7 councillors are replaced at the November council elections. 


Dec, Council buys back the Triangle developments rights and seeks a new community vision for the site.


Glass bottles and smoking prohibited on St Kilda Beach.


St Kilda and Elwood Lifesaving Clubs celebrate their centenaries.  Residents welcome Clean Energy Legislation and sets targets for a 50% reduction in carbon emissions by 2020.

Last modified on Wednesday, 08 August 2018 04:11
More in this category: « Timeline 1900-1950

The St Kilda Historical Society respectfully acknowledges:

Yalukut Weelam clan

The traditional lands of the Yalukut Weelam clan and the continuing relationship of the Boon Worrung people to our local area

City of Port Phillip

The continuing support of the City of Port Phillip


The contribution made by past and present volunteers

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