The Carlton Community History Group

October 24, 2017

The Carlton Community History Group incorporated in 2007 and launched at the Carlton Library Rathdowne Street in 2008. Their purpose is to research and record all aspects of life and work in Carlton.

In this post, the group share with us some of Carlton’s fascinating historic  stories with us..


Did You Know.. Carlton once had a prison?

In the early 1850’s due to the surge in population following the gold rushes, the prison system was overcrowded.  New facilities were built and one of these was a stockade prison at “Collingwood” (now North Carlton) A low security facility it was built in a then unsettled area from local bluestone. By the 1860’s settlement reached the Stockade  and it was closed as a prison and converted to an asylum, and then a school. It is now the Lee Street Primary School in North Carlton

(Source: CCHG Newsletter Crime in Carlton)

The story of Carlton’s prison is told in full in ‘The Stockade’ a CCHG publication by Jeff Atkinson





The Corkman Hotel, demolished illegally in 2016, was originally The Carlton Inn, licensed in 1856.

In 1853 according to the Licensing Register there were three licensed public houses in Carlton. By 1856 this number had tripled and by 1885 there were so many that the number of new licences issued was restricted, and some existing licences not renewed. Many became private homes or were used for business purposes. One example is the former Bristol Hotel, on the corner of University and Rathdowne Streets, formerly the Australia or Australian Hotel, now a doctor surgery.

Carlton Inn in the 1930s

The Carlton Inn in the 1930’s


The former Bristol Hotel (1871-1908)

The former Bristol Hotel (1871-1908)


(Photos: John T Collins and State Library of Victoria)

Early hotels were not just places to have a meal or a drink, but centres of community activity. For example, The Clyde Hotel in Elgin Street was used as a changing room for the early Carlton Football Club. Inquests were often held in hotels with the deceased sometimes present.

(Source: CCHG Newsletter The Hotels of Carlton)


The CCHG meets monthly at the Carlton Library (667 Rathdowne St, Carlton North, unless otherwise advertised) and also run tours of historical interest. Come along and learn more about Carlton’s vibrant history.


See their web site and Facebook page for information about meetings, publication, tours and other events..





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