South Melbourne Football Club

‘Shrine to Sea’ – Celebrating Local Stories

A Series of Vignettes


St Kilda, Victoria

GML Heritage in Victoria developed a series of local stories as part of the ‘Shrine to Sea’ project to tell some lesser well-known stories to celebrate the vibrant past of the study area, which takes in parts of Middle Park, Albert Park and South Melbourne.

The ‘Shrine to Sea’ project will see the development of a new boulevard that links the Domain Parklands to Nerrm (Port Phillip Bay). The ‘Celebrating Local Stories’ component of the project is a key initiative that explores the rich local history, stories and culture of the area.

Drawing on the historical component of our work to date on this project as well as some additional targeted research, we developed a selection of local stories relevant to the Shrine to Sea project area. These stories intersect the historical themes for the project that were identified through our research and consultation.

The first of the local stories, The hidden history of women’s Aussie Rules Football in South Melbourne, published by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP), looks at the origins of women’s footy in Victoria.

The Melbourne-born football code of Australian Rules has only in recent years been played by women at a professional level. So it might be surprising to learn that women’s football matches were played in 1947 at the South Melbourne Cricket Ground (now Lakeside Oval).

Part 2 now published, Albert Park Lake: From natural lagoons to formalised lake, explores the incredible landscape that has transformed from natural lagoons into the formalised Albert Park Lake Melburnians all appreciate today. Although millions of locals and visitors enjoy the lake every year, many are unaware that the area was once a rich, wild wetland for thousands of years before.

Part 3 of the series, G’day neighbour! Building a community, travels back to the 1800s and looks at how post-colonisation and settlement communities and neighbourhoods were formed in the Shrine to Sea Boulevard surrounding areas. From hopeful gold-seekers, to the poor and working class, to the immigrants arriving after World War II – these areas have a diverse community background. This instalment tells some of the stories of those that came decades before us, helping us to further understand the building blocks of the neighbourhoods that we now enjoy today.

With the Albert Park Lake, the Kerferd Road Pier, and beaches all close by, water recreation has become embedded in the identity of the area. Part 4 of the series, Sands of time: a history of water recreation, explores how these water-based areas shaped the community. From providing crucial dietary sustenance for Traditional Owners to popularising learning to swim, the history behind these areas certainly makes a splash.

The final part of the series, Nerrm: land, sea and sky, focuses on the ancient connections of the Traditional Owners of the Kulin nation, who occupied this country for tens of thousands of years, their use and care of Country, as well as the traumatic impacts of colonisation.

Learn more about ‘Celebrating Local Stories’ as part of the ‘Shrine to Sea’ project.