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Jolimont-The Spiritual Home Of Australian Rules Football



Jolimont is a beautiful, but small, locality within the suburb of East Melbourne, but it has played an enormous part in the history of the state of Victoria. Most of Jolimont is occupied by the Melbourne Cricket Ground (M.C.G.) and Yarra Park. It also has its own railway station. The remainder of Jolimont comprises of a single block of housing consisting of numerous Victorian terrace houses and office blocks.

(The 'Skybridge' between the M.C.G and Melbourne Park)

Jolimont is also where the first ever game of Aussie Rules was played between Melbourne Grammar School and Scotch College in 1858.

(The first Aussie Rules match)

Jolimont was the location of Victoria's first Government House. Charles Joseph La Trobe arrived in Melbourne in 1839 on the Fergusson, bringing with him his wife and family as well as a prefabricated house. It was erected on 12.5 acres (5 ha) he had purchased and named Jolimont ('pretty hill') after his wife's Swiss home. This small cottage combined the functions of a private residence and official Government House, and is one of the most well-documented buildings of early Melbourne. Agnes and Charles streets are named after two of La Trobe's children. Because of its association with the Lieutenant-Governor, and close proximity to the city, Jolimont was an area of some social significance where the cream of Melbourne society gathered. La Trobe's cottage was moved to the Kings Domain in 1963 and is open to the public.

(La Trobe's Cottage)

Adjacent to La Trobe's cottage in Agnes Street for many years was the footwear factory of Bedggood & Co. Occupied in 1899, the factory was a landmark for many years and helped to preserve La Trobe's Cottage. The Bedggood family bought surrounding houses at considerable expense rather than use the land the cottage was on, and employees sometimes lived in it.

(The M.C.G. in 1864)

Founded in November 1838 the Melbourne Cricket Club (MCC) selected the current MCG site in 1853 after previously playing at several grounds around Melbourne. Ten acres of land at Yarra Park in Jolimont was set aside for the use of the Melbourne Cricket Club, the purpose of the reserve being 'to promote the recreation and amusement of the people and ... to provide a site or place for the playing of cricket within the City of Melbourne in our said Colony.' Since 1862, the ground has been administered by a government-appointed trust (the MCG Trust) which continues to delegate its day-to-day management to the Melbourne Cricket Club. From its beginnings as a simple paddock-like ground with a modest pavilion and with limited grandstand and other facilities scattered around the perimeter, the Melbourne Cricket Ground has evolved and expanded through a process of phased redevelopment and renewal into a major piece of sporting infrastructure serving the metropolitan area and the State as a whole. Currently, the stadium comprises four principal stands, the MCC Members Pavilion (the third on the site, designed by Stephenson and Meldrum and completed in 1927), the Northern (Olympic) Stand (designed by AW Purnell and completed in 1956), the Western (Ponsford) Stand (designed by Tompkins, Shaw & Evans and completed in 1968) and the Great Southern Stand (designed by Daryl Jackson in association with Tompkins Shaw & Evans and completed in 1992), the oval, light towers (1984) and Australian Gallery of Sport (1986).

(The M.C.G. now)

The former East Melbourne Cricket Ground also helped to associate Jolimont with sport in the public mind, as did Gustav Techow's National Gymnasium, established around 1870.

One item of note on the Historic Buildings Register is the Former Grand Rank Cabmen's Shelter near the footbridge in Yarra Park, dating from 1898. The Jolimont railway station on the northern end of Yarra Park dates from 1900 when the Princes Bridge to Collingwood section of the Heidelberg line was opened.

(Former Grand Rank Cabmen's Shelter)

The Jolimont Railway Yards, comprising some 27.5 ha, have been the topic of much discussion over the years. Development on the site began in the 1860s as the need for a centralised rail yard, connecting the major lines, grew paramount. In the early 1960s a plan to cover part of the yards and place a city square on top gained much publicity but came to nothing.

(Jolimont railway station)

Today Jolimont combines 19th-century sensibility with 20th-century office buildings.  Jolimont is not noted for its shopping opportunities, although there are shops near the Hilton Hotel in Wellington Parade, and the area is close to the numerous popular discount factory outlets in Bridge Road.

(Property in Jolimont Tce.)

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