The Outcasts of Melbourne : Essays in social history book cover
1st Edition

The Outcasts of Melbourne
Essays in social history

Edited By

Chris McConville

ISBN 9780868614465
Published January 1, 1985 by Routledge
236 Pages

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Book Description

Behind the glittering image of 'Marvellous Melbourne' there existed in the popular imagination another, very different, picture of the colonial metropolis. This was the city of 'low life', of crowded slums, poverty, disease and vice.

The nine essays in The Outcasts of Melbourne attempt to reveal the social realities behind this picture. They include new accounts of the forces which created the city's physical environment. They show how perceptions of a city can be shaped by campaigning journalists, artists and writers. They present collective portraits of the poor and the 'criminal classes' - and of those who set out to save them. They describe how the city's guardians - the police, public health authorities and charity workers - responded to the challenge of the slums.

By imaginative use of the rich deposits in the public records, these explorations in social history present new ways of documenting the lives of people whose daily activities were seldom reported in the popular press. In doing so, they also map the chains of causation which link the actions of individuals - appearing before a committee of a benevolent society, getting arrested, evangelising at a Salvation Army rally - to the social forces which have shaped the cities in which we live.

Table of Contents



Introduction - Graeme Davison

1 'This Moral Pandemonium': images of low life - Graeme Davison and David Dunstan

2 Chinatown - Chris McConville

3 From 'criminal class' to 'underworld' - Chris McConville

4 The poor people of Melbourne - Shurlee Swain

5 The doorstep evangelist: William Hall in darkest Prahran - Roslyn Otzen

6 The salvation war - Blair Ussher

7 Dirt and disease - David Dunstan

8 'Worst Smelbourne': Melbourne's noxious trades - John Lack



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GRAEME DAVISON is Professor of History at Monash University. He is the author of The Rise and Fall of Marvellous Melbourne (1978) and a co-editor of Australians 1988, a volume in the forthcoming bicentennial history. He is also the Chairman of the Historic Buildings Council of Victoria. DAVID DUNSTAN is the author of Governing the Metropolis (1984). He has been a journalist and a teacher at the University of Melbourne and at Deakin University, and is at present Senior Historian with the Heritage Branch of the Victorian Ministry for Planning and Environment. CHRIS MCCONVILLE teaches urban studies at Footscray Institute of Technology. A broadcaster and writer, he is co-editor of Families in Colonial Australia (1985).