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Bringing Back The Bell

150 Years : South Melbourne Market

When the Market opened in 1867, a large bell was tolled to signal trade. But the historic bell has not been seen since 1929.

At 8am on Wed 4 Jan 2017, we reinstated this lost tradition. The first peal of the historic brass bell – whose resonant tones will ring in the daily opening and close of trade throughout the year – also marks the start of anniversary celebrations and an exciting calendar of activities planned for 2017.

Tightly woven into the fabric of South Melbourne and its surrounds, the Market opened in May 1867 and has been serving the community ever since. South Melbourne Market is one of Melbourne’s oldest markets and the 150th anniversary marks a huge milestone for the Market, traders, shoppers, the council and the community.

Regular market goers, Councillor Ogy Simic from the City of Port Phillip and State Member for Albert Park Minister Martin Foley, jointly rang the bell to start the first day of trade in the Market’s 150th year. Market traders and shoppers had a go too!

150th year of South Melbourne Market. The ringing of the bell to signify the market is open

150th year of South Melbourne Market. The ringing of the bell to signify the market is open
150th year of South Melbourne Market. The ringing of the bell to signify the market is open

150th year of South Melbourne Market. The ringing of the bell to signify the market is open
150th year of South Melbourne Market. The ringing of the bell to signify the market is open
150th year of South Melbourne Market. The ringing of the bell to signify the market is open
150th year of South Melbourne Market. The ringing of the bell to signify the market is open
150th year of South Melbourne Market. The ringing of the bell to signify the market is open
150th year of South Melbourne Market. The ringing of the bell to signify the market is open


The Record, Sat April 17, 1915

“…So near and yet so far! Yes, who would think as the train; puffing and whistling, tears along the rails to St Kilda, that only a few hundred yards away from the first stopping place there is a multitude of bustling humanity. Pushing and struggling into the marketplace, like an ever running stream, pour scores of different aged women.

On they push, peeping and fingering at the unprotected vegetables that are displayed in a most enticing manner. Great piles of large green cabbages, mounds of carrots – tiers of ruby tomatoes and bloom kissed plums, all arranged and priced with precision and thought to appeal to the eye and pocket of the thrifty throng. Then when all the necessary vegetables and fruit have been bargained for, a visit is paid to the drapery portion of the market, where sellers hopefully offer their goods at the most alluring prices.

And now comes a knot of roguish school boys, who in the morning will be severely reprimanded for ‘wagging it’, but whose thoughts dwell not on the morrow, as they dart apple in hand. A young woman attractively attired in a modish gown and feathered hat steps briskly along, a small neat basket in hand to purchase ‘some things for my home’, in an unasked for explanation to an Italian fruit vendor.

And then we come to the ice-cream carts drawn alongside the pavement, gay with fluttering miniature flags and surrounded by eager kiddies eyeing with longing, the glasses of jelly and ice cream. And then some happy father remembering his far off ice cream days, collects his branch of kiddies and hurries them along to the jolly faced, white aproned seller in the cart. And so the mixed crowd come and go, barter and buy, covet and steal, until the bell is sounded – the clanging intimation that the market place must be cleared…”