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European History – 1950-present

  1. 1950s

    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.

  2. 1956

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

  3. 1959

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

  4. 1960s

    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.

  5. 1966

    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.

  6. 1968

    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.

  7. 1969

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

  8. 1970

    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.

  9. 1971

    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.

  10. 1973

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

  11. 1980

    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.

  12. 1982

    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.

  13. 1985

    ‘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.

  14. 1990s

    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.

  15. 1991

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

  16. 1994

    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.

  17. 1996

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

  18. 2000s

    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.

  19. 2003

    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.

  20. 2007

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

  21. 2008

    New brick retaining wall with vaults constructed to widen the north end of the Esplanade. 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.

  22. 2009

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

  23. 2010

    Glass bottles and smoking prohibited on St Kilda Beach.

  24. 2011

    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.