eMelbourne feature


With the beginning of the war in August 1914, the conflict in Europe began to appear as a topic in the Town Clerk's Correspondence. A number of key themes are noticeable during the first six months. The interruption to trade, essential to the running of the city, was a repeated concern (as it continued to be throughout the war); ships and cargo were delayed or failed to arrive due to the interruption to supply lines or the commandeering of vessels and goods; the British government restricted the sale of raw materials and manufactured goods essential for war purposes; and trade with German (or other enemy alien-owned) companies, such as Siemens, which had previously been major suppliers for electrical and engineering works, was forbidden by law. Also conspicuous is the way that the war began to overwhelm public life in urban spaces on both a large and small scale. While some public entertainments were abandoned in the early phase of the war, they were quickly reframed into civic expressions appropriate to the experience of the times. Balls, concerts, parades and other entertainments were held to raise funds. Other themes that arise in these early months include the contribution of the council to the war effort through a number of initiatives, recruitment of replacements for council employees who enlisted, and the depression in local trade.


Digital Resources

Letter from City Electrical Engineer
Reporting result of stocktaking of several of our important materials imported from Europe
Letter from The Adelaide Steamship Coy Ltd
Stating contract for large coal is suspended and offering to supply Engine Coal from Newcastle Pits at 24/- per ton
Letter from The India Rubber, Gutta Percha and Telegraph Works Co Ltd
With regard to tender for Fuses and Junction Boxes
Letter from A Jerome
Stating Mischa Elman concert for 8th has been postponed and requesting refund of amount paid for Rents etc
Letter from A Bosenhart
Asking Committee not to raise rent of shop occupied in Eastern Market as business is very bad at present time
Letter from Eliza Tinsley
Stating all exporting from England and the Continent has ceased and referring to Council's consignment of Carborundum Wheels
Letter from H F Dunne and C Mitscherlich
Requesting that proposed increase in rent for premises occupied in Eastern Market Buildings be held in abeyance
Letter from City Surveyor
Reporting the present conditions of Junior Clerks under his control
Letter from Hon Secretary Imperial Boy Scouts
Stating Scout Parade called for Saturday 15th inst has been cancelled
Letter from The Polack Tyre Rubber Coy
Stating the Stocks of Solid Tyres in Australia at the present moment are very limited
Letter from Union Electric Coy of Australia Limited
Withdrawing all prices and discounts which have been hitherto quoted
Letter from J W Barrett
Regarding use of Town Hall for a repetition of the lecture by Dr Rosenhain on 'The Making of a Big Gun'
Letter from Mrs J Graham
Re use of Kensington Municipal Buildings on 8th September to hold a Euchre Party in aid of the Patriotic Fund
Letter from City Treasurer
Memo, stating that he has received instructions to report himself for Military Duty at Broadmeadows
Letter from Mrs M C Braddy
Permission to give Band Performance in Fitzroy Gardens on Sunday 23rd idem in aid of the Lady Mayoress's Patriotic League Fund
Letter from City Electrical Engineer
Reporting that (2) Working Men's College Students have been called for Military duty suggesting that Salary of Brinkley be raised to 10£2/10/- per week
Letter from City Electrical Engineer
Memo. re position of the Council in regard to Contracts for Annual Supplies, where the contractor is unable to obtain his supplies
Letter from Miss Mabel Mattingly
Requesting free use of North Melbourne Town Hall to give concert in aid of Patriotic League inaugurated by the Lady Mayoress (30th September)
Letter from Meter Inspector (T Wilson)
Memo, stating J Lennard Assistant Inspector will resume work on Monday 24th August
Letter from F Sherwin
Permission to use North Melbourne Town Hall 3rd September to hold a Social in aid of the Patriotic Fund
Letter from City Surveyor
Report re Solid Rubber Tyres suitable for Motor Waggons under the Control of the Public Works Committee
Letter from Continental C and G Rubber Coy Pty Ltd
Circular letter relating to the above Company since the Outbreak of War, stating Company has large stocks of its well known Tyres available
Letter from M Healey
Asking that rent of premises occupied by him in Queen Victoria Market Buildings, be not raised
Letter from Secretary Municipal Association of Victoria
Requesting use of old Council Chamber for the Annual Session to be held on 21st and 22nd October next
Letter from T G Scott and Son
Advising Despatch by next Mail, of a Copy of first issue of the Manufacturers' Illustrated Post, to be known as M I P
Letter from Amy Thaw
Requesting free use of Kensington Town Hall to hold Patriotic Concert and referring to use of a room for a meeting
Letter from McIlwraith McEacharn and Co.
Re covering shipments of goods going forward against War risk
Letter from British Insulated and Helsby Cables Ltd
Stating they are prepared to quote for and supply all goods manufactured by them
Letter from C E Sweetland
Permission to use Band Stand in Queen Victoria Gardens on 6th September for performance in aid of the Australian Patriotic Fund
Letter from F R Morton
Re use of North Melbourne Municipal Buildings to hold a Patriotic Carnival on 22nd September 1914
Letter from H Benjamin
Statement of Receipts etc in connection with performance given in Fitzroy Gardens on 30th August
Letter from J C Williamson Ltd
Permit to march in connection with Patriotic Matinee
Letter from Gaulois Tyre Co
Re their stock of Gaulois Tyres
Letter from Honourable Secretary Loyal Monster Patriotic Carnival
Asking the Committee to give the Lighting for the Patriotic Carnival at the Exhibition Free
Letter from City Surveyor
Reporting that the rates specified in the contract for Coal have under Special War Clause been advanced by 2/- per ton
Letter from Honourable Secretary Code's Concert Band
Re use of Queen Vic Fitzroy Gardens on Sunday 6th inst for concert in aid of the Patriotic Fund
Letter from Honourable Secretary Fortune Hunter's Club
Further letter with regard to refund of amount paid for the Hire of the Kensington Town Hall
Letter from T Warr and Company
Re renting a piece of land near the Railway Coal Canal
Letter from City Surveyor
with regard to an extra War charge of 10/9 added on an a/c of Burnip and Company contractor for the supply of Bass and Kitool
Letter from Inspector Montgomery
Report with regard to arrangements made for Stands in connection with Bus and Cab traffic to Military Encampment
Letter from Joint Secretaries of Patriotic Movement North and West Melbourne
Requesting free use of North Melbourne Town Hall on 8th September a demonstration for the send off of the Troops
Letter from Secretary Motor Transport Committee Defence Department
With regard to purchase of Motor Vehicles by the Commonwealth for Defence purposes
Letter from Principal Working Men's College
Requesting free use of Town Hall on 6th October to give Patriotic Concert
Letter from Director Agriculture Department
With regard to the Selling of Sheep horses etc as the Cattle Yards the proceeds to be donated to the Patriotic Fund
Letter from Engineer and Manager Australian Metal Co Ltd
Misunderstanding about legality of trading with the company
Letter from Honourable Secretary Monster Patriotic Carnival
Permission for Scouts Riflemen and Bands to March
Letter from Vaccuum Oil Company Pty Ltd
Replying to our letter of 3rd September re charges on goods to be supplied by them to the Council
Letter from A E Rane (Ancient Mariners of Victoria)
Permission to Parade City Streets with a motor lorry filled up as a Ship
Letter from Cab Owners and Drivers Protective and Benefit Union
Asking that temporary cab stand be fixed at terminus of Coburg horse tramway for use re military encampment at Broadmeadows
Letter from Mrs V L [Alice] Solomon
Stating that they have decided to hold the Conversazione in the Masonic Hall, so will not require the Town Hall
Letter from House Secretary Kangaroo Club
Re giving a concert in October in aid of the Patriotic Fund and the dates the Town Hall is Vacant
Letter from Chartres Pty Ltd
Stating D Gestetner Duplicators and Supplies are made at Tottenham Hale England
Letter from City Electrical Engineer
Memo forwarding particulars of the employe W Williams at the Station who lost his life at the War
Letter from City Surveyor
With regard to leave of absence to A H Wardrop for Military Instruction from 14th October to 12th November
Letter from J Sutton Crow
Re Mademoiselle Dolores Concert in aid of the 'Belgian Relief Fund' and the charge fo the rent of Town Hall
Letter from J Troup
Requesting refund of £2/2/- paid as rent for use of the North Melbourne Recreation Reserve on 26th September in aid of Lady Mayoress' Fund and Christian Brothers' Bazaar
Letter from Officer of Health
Forwarding memo from L J Bird stating he will be away at Queenscliffe for 16 days
Letter from Miss Metta de Kock
Requesting rebate on the rental paid for use of Town Hall Kensington to give Patriotic Concert
Letter from McIlwraith McEacharn and Co.
Advising that freight still remains at about 25% above normal
Letter from City Surveyor
Memo re request from Defence Department for space to store about 40 Motor Waggons during time departure of troops delayed
Letter from Australian Imperial Force Assistant Provost-Marshal
Requesting use of a room to be used by men on piquet duty
Letter from Secretary Melbourne Harbour Trust Commissioners
Asking that no charge be made for loan of hurdles used at wharf in connection with the departure of Troops from Victoria Dock
Letter from Newton and Company
Circular re supplying a Series of Lantern Slides explaining the causes and progress of the War
Letter from Stewarts and Lloyds
Re Contract for Tubing and Fittings and stating they have been subjected to £4/4/- % War Risk Insurance
Letter from Tarrant Motors Ltd
With regard to Council presenting a Motor Ambulance to the Expeditionary Force
Letter from McIlwraith McEacharn and Co.
Enclosing contract for Carbon Brushes and Lamp Carbons (Websters)
Letter from J Wilson (Meter Inspector)
Reporting that J Lennard, assistant Meter Inspector, has again been summoned to attend Military Duties
Letter from Secretary the Girls Guild Union
Requesting use of Organ in connection with display in aid of Red Cross Funds
Letter from Secretary Musicians Union of Australia
Re giving Pand performance 1st November near the Queen's Monument in Alexandra Parade in aid of Red Cross League
Letter from Officer of Health
Submitting letter from Dr J W Springthorpe (Melbourne University) who is leaving for the War
Letter from J Sutton Crow
Requesting permit for Band to march to Exhibition Buildings 31st inst
Letter from City Surveyor
Reporting that he appointed A Barton Temporary Clerk to fill L Beanland's place during his absence on Military Duty
Letter from Secretary Melbourne Philharmonic Society
Desiring to transfer date of Concert from 17th November to 24th November
Letter from City Surveyor
Referring to press cutting re trading of the Continental C and G Rubber Company Collins Street
Letter from Secretary The Master Builder's Association of Melbourne
Asking that the date (20th November) of Supper Room be transferred indefinitely
Letter from Secretary Otago Expansion League (NZ)
Relative to the suspension of the Bluff-Hobart Melbourne Steamship Service
Letter from P Phillips
Re Stand for disengaged Drags in Swanston Street near Flinders Street to be used after 11pm (to go to Broadmeadows)
Letter from City Surveyor
Reporting that A Wardrop will be away for a further 5 Weeks on Military Duty
Letter from McIlwraith McEacharn and Co.
Re Arc Lamp Globes and stating so far they have not been able to discover a source of supply
Letter from Honourable Secretary British Red Cross Society (Richmond)
Statement of receipts etc of performance given in Fitzroy Gardens 22nd inst in aid of the fund of the above Society
Letter from Honourable Secretary South Melbourne City Brass Band
Re use of Lady Clarke Memorial Band Stand on 6th December to give performancei in Aid of the Lord Mayor's Patriotic Fund
Letter from Secretary The Prime Minister's Department
Stating resolution adopted by Council in respect of the death of Field Marshal Earl Roberts was forwarded through His Excellency the Governor General for communication to Lady Roberts
Letter from C Parker
Stating the Journal 'Mining Standard' will be known as 'The Australian Statesman and Mining Standard'
Letter from Acting Secretary Defence Department
Expressing Minister's thanks and high appreciation of the donation of a Motor Ambulance Waggon for use with the 2nd Contingent, Australian Imperial Force
Letter from Miss C Squire
Further letter with regard to Employment and referring to money voted by the British Government
Letter from Kellow Falkiner Motor Company
Enclosing account for Motor Ambulance supplied to the Council to be presented to the Defence Department
Letter from N J Boyd
Application for employment
Letter from Building Surveyor
Application of S Arnold Best and Company requesting permission to re-erect wooden verandah at 124 Macaulay Road Flemington
Letter from Police Department
Relative to complaints re unlicensed Motor Car and drags being used for plying for Hire in the City and at Broadmeadows
Letter from Town Clerk Collingwood
Statement of Receipts etc of Band performance in Fitzroy Gardens 29th November in aid of Red Cross Fund
Letter from Miss G H Block
Statement of receipts etc in connection with concert 24th November North Melbourne Town Hall in aid of Red Cross Society
Letter from Officer of Health
Stating Assistant Inspect E T Wood was released for two days from Military Service on 3rd and 4th inst andwas engaged at his usual Departmental Duties
Letter from McIlwraith McEacharn and Co.
Re quotations received from Johnson and Jorgensen Ltd and Macbeth Evans Glass Company to supply Arc Lamp Globes (and enclosing samples of Glass)
Letter from Gordon and Gotch Ltd
Forwarding 50 copies of booklet containing report of the Speech by the Right Honourable David Lloyd George on the Great War
Letter from G W Brown (The Newmarket Theatre)
Re rates Newmarket Picture Theatre requesting permission to pay same in installments
Letter from Secretary Cab Owners and Drivers Protection and Benefit Union
Re providing a Cab Stand in Swanston Street for Late Loading to the Military Camp
Letter from Officer of Health
Reporting that Assistant Inspector E J Wood was released from Military Duty on 10th and 11th inst
Letter from Salvation Army
Application for Registration of a Common Lodging House (Watson's Place)
Letter from The Sanitas Company Ltd
Bringing under Notice their preparation called Sanitas Sypol
Letter from A R Butler and A F Trebilco and others
Applications for positions (2) of Architectural Draftsman (Temporary)
Letter from City Architect
Re extra expense (War Risk) W and T Avery Ltd have been put to in landing Weighing Machines for City Abbatoirs
Letter from Honourable Secretary Municipal Property Owner's Defence Association
Further letter re suspending action regarding condemnation of properties for a further term of six months

Site-wide information and acknowledgements

This eMelbourne feature was curated by Professor Andrew J. May and Nicole Davis, with research assistance from Nick Coyne. Financial and in-kind support was provided by the School of Historical and Philosophical Studies, Faculty of Arts, The University of Melbourne, and Public Record Office Victoria.

Special Thanks to: History Program, School of Historical and Philosophical Studies

Thanks to: Helen Morgan (eScholarship Research Centre), Daniel Wilksch (Public Record Office Victoria) and John Lycette (Lycette Bros.)
The University of Melbourne Public Record Office Victoria