Acland Street: The Grand Lady of St Kilda

Judith Buckrich

Acland Street: The Grand Lady of St Kilda
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Acland Street: The Grand Lady of St Kilda

Judith Buckrich

Unique in Melbourne’s history, Acland Street has been the home, playground and business address for millionaires and paupers, members of parliament, creators of the culture, sex workers, criminals, migrants from Europe and Asia and the most staid and most ‘out there' people in the city. It was the first named street in St Kilda in 1842, and until the 1880s, Melbourne’s most desired address.

From the 1890s, when many of the mansions became boarding houses, and certainly after World War 1, it was a magnet for European migrants, single men and women and those from less acceptable sub-cultures including artists, musicians, writers, the LGBTI community and anyone who was poor but wanted the joys that life near the sea could provide. It has been and remains impossible to pin down economically and socially. Acland Street has, for more than a hundred years, conjured fun, food and good times and continues to be one of our city’s most loved places.

“Judith Buckrich’s splendid salute in Acland Street: The Grand Lady of St Kilda is an energetic, evocative portrait sweeping from St Kilda’s leisurely colonial days to its crowded, non-conforming present, Dr Buckrich captures all the complexions and contrasts, controversies and crises of this enigmatic, ebullient, sometimes gracious, sometimes sleazy bayside haunt - it seems too tame to call it a suburb. This is an important, exciting and immensely entertaining history of one of the more attractively idiosyncratic of metropolitan ‘Grand Ladies'.” - Brian Matthews

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