Melbourne prior to the Great War was the Jewel of Australia. Money from the Gold Rush had created the grand architecture that the city has today. Political power, wealth and influence were focused here as the city was the capital at the time. Decisions about the direction of the Country are made here, business deals and bargaining occur in private clubs, the cream of antipodean society discuss the latest trends in Europe and cultural pursuits such as opera and art galleries.
But as with any glittering city there are dark sides: Slums that see theft and murder, drunken soldiers who want to forget the horror of war, and more.
The unknown lingers beyond the city limits.
For more information on specific suburbs and locations, go here.
In 1923, Melbourne was the second largest city in Australia after Sydney, with a population just under 1 million.
The citizens were were predominately of British and Irish descent. There were also sizeable German, American and Chinese populations, who had come to Australia for the 1850s gold rush.
There was considerable class divide in the city. As the center of power, much of the country's rich and powerful lived and worked here. At the same time many suburbs were slums.
The city was mostly Christian, primarily Anglican and Catholic.
More information: https://museumsvictoria.com.au/origins/
This page presents the history of Melbourne for the Prelude and Main Sessions of the Vampire Sangfroid Chronicle
It will be updated regularly to inform about major and minor historical events of note for the players
Archaeological record for the region extends back approximately 40,000 years
- Stone from the Mt William Greenstone Quarry has been used for axes for roughly 10,000 years
- 9,000 years ago the Port Phillip Bay was dry land. The local stories talk about the spirit-creator Bunjil (the eagle) caused the low lying land to flood. There are many different stories about why it happened.
- Sunbury Earth Rings and Mounds constructed
- By the late 1780's introduced European diseases like smallpox spread southwards and began to infect the Aboriginal people in Victoria
- 1800 (approx) A 16 year old girl died and was buried in fine possum skins and jewelry in a cave along a basalt cliff, a victim of the new disease
- Bebejan, Billibilery and other Elders of the Kulin Nations meet John Fawkner and John Batman in 1835- the exact location of this meeting is currently disputed
These are some of the historical events which occurred in the region post European arrival
- David Collins’ party of marines and convicts had been stationed briefly at Sullivan’s Cove (Sorrento) in 1802–03
- Edward Henty (28 March 1810 – 14 August 1878) was a pioneer and first permanent European settler in the Port Phillip district (later Victoria), Australia at what is now Portland
- Robert Hoddle arrived in Port Phillip, the future site for the City of Melbourne, in March 1837 and began to lay out what is now known as the Hoodle Grid
- 1851 marks the start of the Gold Rush in Victoria
- 1852 Johann Joseph Eugen von Guerard arrived in Victoria. He was a talented landscape painter who became first master of the School of Painting at the National Gallery of Victoria.
- By 1861, the Chinese community made up nearly 7% of the Victorian population. Melbourne’s Little Bourke Street first became a bustling center for Chinese cultural and business activity at this time. Later as the gold ran out the focus changed to market gardening, importing goods or setting up laundries.
- 1863: Coranderrk set up at the request of William Barak and Simon Wonga as a piece of land that they could farm and earn a living. Coranderrk growers won the gold medal for their hops at the International Exhibition in Melbourne
- Breweries were an important part of early British settlement of Melbourne: The North Melbourne Brewery was established by Theodore Rosenberg (who purchased the site in 1858) of Rosenburg & Co. at 24 Bouverie Street. This property later became the main brewing center for Carlton & United Breweries (CUB) when the Carlton, Fosters, Victoria, Shamrock, Castlemaine and McCracken breweries united in 1907
- Raffaello Carboni witnessed and documented the famous Eureka Stockade in 1854, calling the actions of the soldiers a “foul deed, worthy of devils”.
- Kew Asylum in Melbourne, which by the 1890's was the largest in Australia, was planned in the 1850's, built on a prominent site in the 1860's, and opened in the early 1870's with accommodation for over 500 patients.
- Australia is connected to the rest of the world via a telegraph wire in 1872.
Recent local events that may or may not be known to the new arrivals
- 2 February – The Brighton tornado, the strongest storms ever recorded in Melbourne, strike the suburb of Brighton, killing two people
- 21 March – John Bowser resigns as Premier of Victoria after his railway estimates bill is defeated in parliament. Harry Lawson forms a composite ministry of Liberal factions, including Bowser as Chief Secretary and Minister for Public Health.
- April Novgorod Steamship, 5285 tonss. Lbd 390 x 50.7 x 28 ft. Commandeered by the British from the Russian in 1918 entered Port Phillip to debark the first troops returning home from World War 1
- 7 September – premiers of the 1918 VFL season the South Melbourne Swans defeat the Collingwood Magpies 9.8 (62) to 7.15 (57)
- 6 October – Australia's first electric train service begins, between Newmarket and Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne.
Prelude Melbourne 1919
Melbourne of 1919 is on the cusp of social and political change, yet again. Federation, the Great War and now the Spanish flu (which has not reached the city) have brought about an unstable time. Gangs bootlegging alcohol are running riot in the slums.
Into this mix the Vampire Prince of the City has invited, brought, summoned or otherwise gathered new inhabitants to this safe city.
The arrivals have occurred over the last month
The first thing that these new arrivals learn when presenting themselves at Court is that the boundary of Melbourne is the extent of where they can safely tread. Explained to them by the Scourge William Buckley, this limitation is part of a treaty with those who live beyond. Vampires who do wrong have been known to be banished there for punishment.
There are no restrictions on sea travel in and out but travel into the rural lands and into the interior are restricted.
What is known about the Spanish Flu as it affects Vampires will be given to players prior to the first prelude session.
Currently, none of the new arrivals has territory.
The city extends from Williamstown, Footscray and Essendon in the west to Heidelberg and Bulleen in the East. Coburg and Preston are the northern boundaries of the urban area and to the south, there is not much beyond Moorabbin.
It is 1923, the memories of Great War are being forced into the background, but new ideology, new technology and new sources of wealth herald a changing society. Unions are gathering strength, the economy is growing and women are gaining more influence, employment and independence. The old ways of Empire are being questioned across the globe and new ideas are beginning to develop as the world seeks to find a better way. As it goes with the Kine, so too with the Kindred. The old ways are being questioned and new political thought is taking hold. The ancient vampiric society, however, is conservative in the extreme and highly resistant to change.