Exhibition

Come on a trip down memory lane

South Melbourne Market 150 Years of The Village Market Exhibition Enews Header

Come on a trip down memory lane to South Melbourne Market’s
150 Years of The Village Market Exhibition
A collection of stories, memories, photos and memorabilia.

Where: SO:ME Space, South Melbourne Market
When: Fri 5 May – Sun 4 June 2017 (Market days only Wed, Fri, Sat & Sun)
Free: Just take a wander through and enjoy!

Part of the year-long celebrations to mark our 150th anniversary, this exhibition tells the story of South Melbourne Market. This story has been woven from photos, stories and artefacts collected from those know the Market best – our traders, shoppers and the local community.

It’s the story of our past and a journey through time. From the first sheds erected in the 1860s that were little more than a roof held up by posts and open to the elements, to the bustling undercover Market that is now home to 140 traders.

It’s a story of migration, where many were given an opportunity for a different life through a stall at the Market. Enterprising immigrants shared their generosity of spirit, introduced us to their cultures and cuisines, and shaped the inclusive and multicultural village we are today.

It’s the story of how important the Market was, and still is, in people’s social lives. Even when they didn’t have much, they had the Market. So many stories we have uncovered remember visiting the Market with Mum or Nana. The taste of the sweet treats that accompanied these visits – the scalding hot jam in the doughnuts, the cream biscuits and the crunchy honeycomb, never forgotten.

It’s the story of children growing up in and around the Market. Walking through the Market on the way to Dorcas St Primary School, exploring the aisles, or spending school holidays amongst the stalls. They made their own fun, gathering used boxes and discarded chicken feathers to make toys or race billy carts under the Market verandahs.

It’s the story of family and a true village community. Entire families were raised here. Whilst mum and dad worked in the wee hours of the morning, the kids would sleep in the car. Work and play were intertwined, one minute children could be found playing hide and seek in the aisles, the next they’d be chopping onions or stacking shelves.

It’s the story of how our goods have changed over 150 years. Once upon a time, traders sold vegetables and frocks from tables or baskets. Chickens were plucked on site, rabbits skinned and hung on hooks and horse drawn wagons carrying goods lined Coventry Street.

Amongst our aisles, we’ve uncovered extraordinary stories of luck and love. We’ve discovered characters galore. We’ve heard how the Market brings people together and sustains them.

We hope you enjoy our story.


The exhibition is one of many events being held to celebrate the Market’s major milestone, including free guided history tours and large murals celebrating the diversity of people working and visiting the Market over 150 years. On Saturday May 6, the streets around the Market will come alive for the 150th Birthday Big BBQ Street Party, featuring delicious barbecue and street food from Market restaurants and traders, food trucks and carts, plus free family-friendly entertainment all day including live music, giant games, jumping castle, kids’ fun, BBQ cook-off, roaming performers, a giant birthday cake and lots more.