Sunday, 11 December 2011 06:04

Timeline 1900-1950

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1901: The Duke and Duchess of York arrive at St Kilda Pier to open the first national parliament - St Kilda is now part of the newly federated country of Australia. St Kilda pier is the entry point for many vice-regal and other visits.

1906: May 7, the Victorian Railways St Kilda to Brighton Electric Tramway commences operation to Middle Brighton, servicing the Elwood area and also the Brighton beachfront.

1906: Jun 22, St Kilda Foreshore Committee holds their first meeting under leadership of Italian engineer, Carlo Catani. Foreshore is gradually transformed by new landscaping and amusement areas attracting thousands of new vistitors.

1906: Dec 22, extension of electric tram to Brighton Beach station commences operation.

1908: Jan 21, sales of Crown lands commence for new homes in the former Elwood swamp area.


1911: St Kilda first enclosed cinema, the St. Kilda (Bioscope) Theatre, opens at 145 Fitzroy Street.

1912: Dec 13, Luna Park opened by The Greater J D (Joseph Dixon)Williams Amusement Co.

1913: Nov 14, further sale of Crown Lands in the Elwood swamp area, all 32 allotments sold.
Dec 20, The first Palais de Dance opens, built on the site of the present Palais Theatre.

1914-18: Three thousand men and boys from St Kilda enlist to fight at Gallipoli and France in the First World War.

1917: Elwood State School opens.


A decade of subdivision. Flats and small apartments replaced or altered many grand homes and gardens. Genteel St. Kilda began to lose its predominance.

1921: Apr 18, the Victory Theatre opens as a 3000 seat cinema. Now St Kilda has four large cinemas including Palais Pictures, Barkly, and St Kilda. In the 1970s the Victory becomes the National Theatre, home to the National Theatre Ballet School and The National Theatre Drama School.

1924: Nov 11, St Kilda War Memorial Hall opens in Acland Street in memory of returned soldiers and to raise funds for families. It later becomes a local cinema known as the ‘Mem’ or ‘fleapit’.

1925: Nov 18, fire breaks out and destroys the privately owned The St Kilda Baths (1906).

1926: Feb 10, Palais Pictures is destroyed by fire. Rebuilt as a luxurious American picture palace and reopened 11 November 1927, renamed Palais Theatre 17 September 1945.


Severe Depression ensues. Gallipoli hero, Albert Jacka, becomes Mayor and fights for the rights of the unemployed, defending evictees and proposing public works for the ‘sussos’. Sly grog trading, cocaine smuggling and organised crime increase. Flat production outnumbers houses ten to one.

1931: Opening of the new council built St. Kilda Baths with separate enclosures for men and women.

1936: The Astor Picture Theatre opens in Chapel St.

1937 and 1938: Polio epidemics occur.

1939: World War Two breaks out. St Moritz ice skating rink opens in Frank Thrings’s former Efftee Productions film studio.


1941: St Kilda Town hall is barricaded with sandbags and trenches are dug for bomb shelters. Air raid drills practiced in schools.

1942: American troops march down Beaconsfield Parade into St Kilda. Entertainment booms. Jewish migrants arrive in large numbers. Sydney Nolan, Joy Hester, Albert Tucker and other artists live and paint in St Kilda.

Last modified on Wednesday, 08 August 2018 04:10

The St Kilda Historical Society respectfully acknowledges:

Yalukut Weelam clan

The traditional lands of the Yalukut Weelam clan and the continuing relationship of the Boon Worrung people to our local area

City of Port Phillip

The continuing support of the City of Port Phillip


The contribution made by past and present volunteers

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