Of Kin & Kind

By Public Record Office Victoria (State Archives of Victoria, Australia)

Public Record Office Victoria, Victorian Archives Centre

Community means being part of something bigger. It can be inherited from family or grow out of work, play or shared beliefs. This exhibition showcases different communities around Victoria, Australia, from the late 19th Century until today. It was drawn from the Victorian State Government's archived photo collection and submissions from street photographers. 

Conductors by Victorian Railways CommissionPublic Record Office Victoria (State Archives of Victoria, Australia)


The Victorian Railways operated in Victoria from 1859 to 1983. Staff were obliged to conform to a stringent system of hierarchy and working conditions which demanded their loyalty. The Traffic and Commercial Branch encompassed station staff such as station masters, station mistresses and porters, gate keeping and signalling staff, and on-board staff including guards and conductors. Ensuring that the uniforms and appearance of staff in this Branch were ‘up-to-scratch’ was critical for maintaining good corporate image. 

Chris Brown, Woof Woof by Chris BrownPublic Record Office Victoria (State Archives of Victoria, Australia)

Woof Woof

Two women who are clearly twins are identically dressed as supporters of the Australian Rules Football Western Bulldogs Club. As a team traditionally classed as the 'underdogs', in 2016 there was a groundswell of local support for the Club concentrated in the western suburbs of the city of Melbourne. This photograph was taken on the eve of the Grand Final, at which the Western Bulldogs triumphantly took home the premiership over the Sydney Swans.  

Deep Lead's oldest residents by Borough of Stawell, Victoria, Australia.Public Record Office Victoria (State Archives of Victoria, Australia)

Deep Lead

The town of Deep Lead, located in the Stawell district, was once one of the busiest places in country Victoria, Australia. In 1856 gold was discovered and for the next few years it attracted a rush of diggers seeking their fortune, peaking to a population of over 30,000 in 1858. When mining declined, the area experienced a mass exodus. The Deep Lead Pioneer memorial pictured here was unveiled in 1937 to a township with a population of only 70 people. This book of photographs was “Presented to the Borough Council of Stawell by N.P Chapman in 1939".

Ritual by Victorian Railways CommissionPublic Record Office Victoria (State Archives of Victoria, Australia)


Participating in a ritual can be a unifying experience for members of any community and there is perhaps no ritual more culturally esteemed than a wedding ceremony. While weddings are performed differently around the world, they can be powerful rituals to reinforce the traditions and beliefs which underpin community life. In modern western-style wedding ceremonies brides often choose to wear white, but this hasn’t always been the case. White is thought to have been popularised by Queen Victoria in 1840, when she wore a white gown designed to incorporate a sentimental piece of lace. White later came to be synonymous with purity, but other traditions can equally prize brightly coloured or intricately detailed attire. Many Australian brides vary their wardrobe during the celebration, choosing to don both ‘the white gown’ and a dress representative of their cultural heritage – for example, the traditional red qipao or cheongsam, an embroidered, slim-fitting frock in the Chinese tradition. 

Rafael Morales, Wuthering Heights (2016) by Rafael MoralesPublic Record Office Victoria (State Archives of Victoria, Australia)

In 2013, 300 participants dressed as acclaimed musician Kate Bush, gathered in the seaside British town of Brighton to reenact her iconic 1978 Wuthering Heights video clip. Since then the phenomenon has spread across the globe, including to Melbourne, Australia.

Trunks by Victorian Railways CommissionPublic Record Office Victoria (State Archives of Victoria, Australia)


Flinders Street Station is one of Melbourne’s most iconic landmarks. The station functions not only as a transit hub for a city always “on the move”, but provides a meeting place for locals and tourists alike: the steps under the clocks are just the place to greet friends before heading out for an evening in the city. This 1940s photograph documents an unusual sort of meeting, in which acrobats gathered on the station’s roof to perform feats of bravery and balance.  The station building was completed in 1910 and in its heyday was a multi-functional space for community to gather, bringing people together for social events in its grand ballroom, cafes and juice bar, and even providing patrons with day care facilities and a gymnasium.

Barry C Douglas, Basketball Game by Barry C DouglasPublic Record Office Victoria (State Archives of Victoria, Australia)

Basketball game

RMIT University City Campus provides a vibrant community hub right in the heart of Melbourne, Australia. This photograph shows a group of students having some time out to play a game of basketball. 

Peter Tsipas, My Dummy (2016) by Peter TsipasPublic Record Office Victoria (State Archives of Victoria, Australia)

The Bourke Street Mall in Melbourne, Australia attracts street performers and protesters all vying for the attention of passers by.

Babies by State Bank of VictoriaPublic Record Office Victoria (State Archives of Victoria, Australia)

The 'Babies' advertising campaign was developed by State Bank of Victoria, the state-owned bank for Victoria, Australia, which operated from 1842 until 1990. By exploiting positive associations with family, the advertising executives sought to place their product squarely in the home, the most intimate space in many people’s lives. Playing upon positive feelings associated with childhood was a clever strategy for a bank which naturally had an interest in creating lifelong relationships with its customers.

Debneys Park by Department of HealthPublic Record Office Victoria (State Archives of Victoria, Australia)

Debney's Park

When construction began in the 1950s, Melbourne’s high rise public housing was seen as an innovative and egalitarian solution to the problem of increasingly poor living conditions for the city’s working classes. Existing housing were raised and high rises built in the cleared land, where planners envisioned metropolitan hubs full of families and happy children. However, local communities were divided over the impact of the towers, and stigma around them grew until the project was disbanded in 1975. Today, many of society’s most underprivileged continue to call these towers home. For outsiders, the towers may be seen as dangerous or unsavoury, but for residents the towers provide much-needed housing, access to services, and a sense of belonging. 


James Henry Tanderrum Festival 2016 by James Henry, photographerPublic Record Office Victoria (State Archives of Victoria, Australia)

Photographer James Henry helps to document the experiences of today's Aboriginal peoples at community events and ceremonies across Melbourne and Victoria, Australia.

Women's Football by State Bank of VictoriaPublic Record Office Victoria (State Archives of Victoria, Australia)

On 2 February 2017, Carlton Football Club faced off against longstanding rivals Collingwood Football Club in a game with a difference – the first in the Australian Football League Women’s competition held at Princes Park, Melbourne. The establishment of the league comes from a long tradition of women’s participation in Australian Rules Football, a high-energy and popular sport homegrown in Australia. Since the early 20th Century, women’s teams and competitions have grown out of country clubs and workplaces, similar to this 1970s State Bank of Victoria Loans and Legal Department match photographed here.

State Bank Victoria Archives, Women's footballPublic Record Office Victoria (State Archives of Victoria, Australia)

Relationships with the professional men's clubs laid the groundwork for the development of the women's Australian football league:
“In 1933, while Melbourne was still in the grip of the Great Depression, the Carlton and Richmond Football Clubs hosted a women’s football match at Princes Park for charity. Carlton recruiters were over-run by young girls, older women and those in between, who were eager to wear the Blues’ guernsey" (Rob Hess, The Conversation, 2017).

Bernard Peasley, Rugby Fans (2010) by Bernard PeasleyPublic Record Office Victoria (State Archives of Victoria, Australia)

Melbourne is often touted as the sports capital of Australia and fans converge on the city's stadiums for games in droves. On 7 May 2010, AAMI Park held its very first event, the 2010 Rugby League ANZAC Test. The night match was marred by rain, so stadium management handed out clear plastic ponchos to fans sitting beyond the shelter of the roof. This photograph depicts dry fans under cover and those exposed to the rain.

Chris Hopkins/Getty Images, My Streets (2016) by Chris Hopkins/Getty ImagesPublic Record Office Victoria (State Archives of Victoria, Australia)

My Streets

On 28th May 2016, anti-immigration and anti-racism protesters clashed on Sydney Road in Melbourne, Australia, during what became known as the Coburg Race Riots. Sydney Road is a shopping and community attraction for the city's inner Northern suburbs which have seen recent waves of Turkish and Muslim immigrants call home. This photograph depicts members of the leftist militant street gang ANTIFA. 

Brendan Bonsack, Invasion Day Speakers by Brendan BonsackPublic Record Office Victoria (State Archives of Victoria, Australia)

Activists Shareena Clanton and Aretha Brown before a 50,000 strong crowd in Melbourne. The group gathered to protest the date of national holiday Australia Day and to commemorate the anniversary of British colonisation of Aboriginal land.

Northcote Technical School (1970/1980) by State Bank of Victoria and State Bank of VictoriaPublic Record Office Victoria (State Archives of Victoria, Australia)

Northern High

 Northcote Technical School opened its doors in 1966, attracting many students from southern-European immigrant families who called the inner northern suburbs of Melbourne, Australia, home. At the time, Northcote was a working class suburb, with a surviving industrial presence. The family-run shoe shops and dusty hardware stores of this period along the main thoroughfare of High Street have largely given way to the current array of hip bars, hairdressers and restaurants. “Was there in the early 80s…What memories lol. Used to wag down the creek and fight with Thornbury high all the time (sic)” (Former student, Northcote Technical School Facebook Page, December 14, 2011)

Mark Forbes, The Photographers (2016) by Mark ForbesPublic Record Office Victoria (State Archives of Victoria, Australia)

The Photographers

A group of tourists taking a photo of the historic 1929 Forum Theater. The heritage building stands opposite Federation Square, the cultural precinct of Melbourne, Australia which was opened in 2002. 

Credits: Story

Of Kin and Kind is based on a larger physical exhibition displayed at the Victorian Archives Centre in Melbourne during 2017.

The curators were Elise Bradshaw and Carly Godden. The exhibition was produced by the VAC Gallery team and the exhibition was adapted for Google Arts and Culture by Carly Godden and Kate Follington.

To find out any details about the photographs shown within the online exhibition please contact media@prov.vic.gov.au

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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