Footscray Historical Society Research
Preserving, recording and accessing the past
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The Footscray Historical Society plays an active role in recording
and promoting local history.
A key resource for understanding the history of Footscray is
John Lack's book A History of Footscray. This book is written
from a local's wellspring of knowledge and academic research.
See publications for details about this book.
Local history is actively researched by the Society, within their own publications and special features in the newsletters Melbourne Regatta, Maribyrnong River, 1875 A brief overview The area formerly known as the City of Footscray and now the
City of Maribyrnong has a long and unique history.
The Society acknowledges the Indigenous Australians, the
Wurundjeri people on whose land Footscray was founded.
Gary Presland's book, The First Residents of Melbourne's
Western Region, a key resource for understanding this history
of the Wurundjeri people is available from the Society.
The area was first mapped by Charles Grimes in 1803 and the
first European residents, mainly squatters and shepherds arrived
in 1839. In 1859 the Municipality was created.
The name Footscray was taken from the village of Foots on the River Cray, Kent, England. Footscray Looking West, c1939 In the 1860-90s Footscray experienced its first economic boom,
mainly brick making, quarrying, fat boiling, meat canning and
candle making industries.
The Maribyrnong or Salt Water river as it was called became the
back bone of these industries. However reliance on the river for
carrying away industrial by-products caused many heath issues
for the village of Footscray.
Footscray's industries have been central to the development of
this region. From the 1950's this development has been continued
by a culturally diverse community increasingly involved with
commerce and light industries.
T.H. Young, General Printer, 35 Hyde Street Footscray. 1880 Footscray's social history is
evident in it's built environment.
The Footscray cemetery, local
schools, churches, parks, shops,
factories and private
dwellings all track the past.
The Maribyrnong Council is involved in many heritage projects
actively supporting and promoting the history of Footscray.
These projects include on-going heritage studies, celebrating local
history in festivals and events and also oral history projects such
as the recent Aboriginal Reconciliation oral history documentation.
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