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Home > A rare photo series showing the Melbourne slums of the 1930s

A rare photo series showing the Melbourne slums of the 1930s

25 September 2020

The first video in our brand new series, From the Vault, provides a rare glimpse into the slums of Melbourne 100 years ago.

Captured by Methodist social reformer F. Oswald Barnett, these photographs served to power his campaign to abolish the city’s inner-city slums and provide a better quality of life for Melburnians.

This collection also tells a fascinating story about the history of Melbourne's housing reform movement more broadly. Barnett himself was instrumental in helping to lay the foundations for what would become the Housing Commission of Victoria – although as you’ll discover in this film, its remit to excise the slums ‘for the common good’ did not go according to plan.

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About From the Vault

From the Vault is a video series that delves into the surprising, poignant and sometimes funny stories behind the unique archival images held in the State Library Victoria collection.

Find out more and view all episodes.