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Year 9 City Trail 2015

Pre City Trail lesson on the history of Lygon Street to give the excursion context

Joanna Marletta

on 10 August 2015

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Transcript of Year 9 City Trail 2015

A BriefHistory
Lygon Street & Italian Immigration
The Milani family bought what was renamed
University Cafe
in 1953, where one of Melbourne's first coffee machines - a Gaggia - was utilised. It is now on display in the window. The cafe was regarded as the first Italian eatery to cater not only for Italians, but also other European immigrants settling in Melbourne and the general population. Thereafter, along with
cafe Sport
a few doors down, this city's cafe culture was established.

When you mention Lygon Street to a Melburnian nowadays, the first store that comes to mind would have to be
. Some will tell you it produces the best gelati outside Italy and not only. The pasticceria offers a wide selection of cakes, biscuits and other Italian 'dolci' to tempt its customers. Established later on in 1979, the store moved around the corner to Faraday Street for many years until it recently reopened in its original location, Lygon Court on Lygon Street.
The Birth of Melbourne's Cafe Culture
The Migrant Experience
Early on, a great number of eateries in Lygon Street were family run dining halls which often included boarding houses, catering predominantly for the influx of Italian immigrants to Melbourne. Here, an Italian migrant could get a home cooked meal and a place to stay until they got on their feet. The women would cook and clean for the young men who were often here without their families in order to find a job and establish a home. Their wives and children would later join them in Australia, sometimes two or more years later.
One such family-run boarding house was 'Ottanatadue' at 82 Lygon St, run by the Sartori family. They then went on to establish

restaurant on Drummond Street, which they still own today. Much like many other Italian families starting restaurant businesses on Lygon Street, the Sartori family sought only to serve authentic, regional home-style Italian food rather than try to serve fancy meals to its clientele.
Immigration in the 1950s and 60s
Carlton and the surrounding area became the main Australian destination for Italians migrating to this country in the post-war period. What was a predominantly Jewish suburb in the 1920s and 30s soon became the largest Italian community in Australia; the immigrants very own 'little Italy.' Before long, the main language spoken in the shopping precinct of Lygon Street was Italian.
Much like the Jewish migrants who had come to Australia in search of a better life, the Italians established businesses in Lygon St for a reassuring sense of home in a city which was unfamiliar and at times hostile towards migrants. Amongst the first stores were
Angerame's Barber Shop
Del Monaco

Tailors, King and Godfree grocery store
Borsari Cycles
. While the barber and tailor no longer exist on Lygon Street,
the grocer and cycle shop are still in business today.
During the 50s, Lygon Street became a home away from home for Italian migrants. When the 1956 Olympics came to Melbourne, the Italian athletes spent much of their social time in the area. As the 60s approached, Lygon Street and Carlton began to be recognised by the wider community as an Italian cultural centre. From 14 Italian owned shops in the 40s to 47 by the 60s, Lygon Street was soon established as Melbourne's very own 'Little Italy.'
New Beginnings
Lygon Street and the suburb of Carlton have long been the destination for European migrants to Melbourne. Before the Italians arrived, Lygon Street was a melting pot of cultures including Jewish, Greek, German, Spanish and Lebanese migrants coming to our shores in search of a better life.
As early as the late 1800s, the Jews and Italians - the two ethic groups to have the greatest influence in Carlton - began arriving in Melbourne. Whilst not yet migrating in large numbers, these two cultures quickly set down roots in the precinct. The Italians, many of them craftsmen, went to work on many grand buildings being constructed in the area. At this time, opera was also brought to Australia through the musical talents of many migrants.
The beginning of the 20th Century saw great periods of boom and bust for Melbourne but Lygon Street continued to flourish. Many churches moved into the area and the Salvation Army set up its first permanent Australian base. Through to the 30s, the area was predominantly Jewish and took on a European village feel. Soon after, Italian liner companies establish regular shipping routes to Australia, and following WWII much larger numbers of Italian began arriving. Australia was no longer 'far flung' and the next phase of Lygon Street's development had begun.
Your Task
City Trail 2015
Travel via train to
Flinders St
, on
August 18 or 19.
Meet a teacher at
Federation Square at 10:00am
and have your name marked off the class list.
Catch a
Melbourne University tram
Swanston St
alight at Lincoln Square
(the stop after Queensberry St).
Walk across down
Pelham St
Piazza Italia/Argyle Square
to meet an Italian teacher.
Collect a
City Trail booklet
Museo Italiano worksheet
and begin your Italian City Trail.
Make your way to
Museo Italia at Co.As.It
at your
allocated time
for this activity.
Ensure you check in with the teacher outside
Lygon Court at 12:30pm
and at the conclusion of the day at
2:00pm in Piazza Italia
before you head back into the city. You must have your name checked off in
Federation Square by 2:30pm
before boarding the train home.

Enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of Lygon Street, Carlton! Good luck, or, as the Italians say, In Bocca al Lupo!
M. Harden,
Lygon St.
(2008), Murdoch Books Australia, Millers Point NSW
National Trust Victora,
A Walk Through Italian Carlton
(1988), Gardner Printing Pty Ltd, Melbourne VIC
A Taste of Italy
Though Lygon Street has changed considerably over the years, it still retains a strong sense of Italian culture. Italian popular culture stores such as
Mondo Music
and newcomer
Forza Italia
offer Italian CDs, DVDs, books, magazines, playing cards, games and other Italian and Italian-themed items. These stores are relatively new in the area comparitively, sharing Lygon Street with businesses long since established in Carlton. Some have come and gone but others have either been passed down the family or sold to other Italian families and are still going strong.
Other Italian businesses still operating today include:
Toto's -
believed to be the first commercial pizzeria in Australia
King and Godfree's -
imports a wide range of Italian food and wine
Lygon Food Store -
introduced many food products never before seen in Melbourne.
Lygon Street today
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