Exhibition

Come on a trip down memory lane

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

150 Years of The Village Market Exhibition
A collection of stories, memories, photos and memorabilia.

This exhibition has now finished and we would like to thank everyone who contributed and visited.


This exhibition was one of many events held to celebrate the Market’s 150th anniversary. It told the story of South Melbourne Market, woven from photos, stories and artefacts collected from those know the Market best – our traders, shoppers and the local community.


Exhibition Narrative

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.