Prahran (/pɛ'ræn/, also known colloquially as "Pran") is an inner
suburb of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 5 km south-east of
Melbourne's Central Business District, located within the City of
Stonnington local government area. Prahran recorded a population of
12,982 at the 2016 Census.
Prahran is a part of Greater Melbourne, with many shops, restaurants
and cafes. The area of Prahran, centred along Commercial Road was one
of Melbourne's gay villages, but no longer is.
The shopping street Chapel Street is a mix of upscale fashion
boutiques and cafes. Greville Street, once the centre of the
Melbourne's hippie community, has many cafés, bars, restaurants,
bookstores, clothing shops and music shops.
Prahran takes its name from Pur-ra-ran, a compound of two Aboriginal
words, meaning "land partially surrounded by water". The proximity of
Yarra River and a swamp to the southwest (Albert Park Lake is the
remnant) explains that description.
3 Local landmarks
3.1 Non-residential architecture
3.2 Residential architecture
3.3 Public space
5 Notable people
6 See also
Chapel Street scene in 1889
The Prahran Telegraph, front page from April 1918
In 1837 George Langhorne named the area Pur-ra-ran, a compound of two
Aboriginal words, meaning "land partially surrounded by water". When
he informed the Surveyor-General
Robert Hoddle of the name, it was
written as "Prahran".
Prahran Post Office opened on 1 April 1853.
Describing Prahran, as it was in the mid 1850s, F.R. Chapman
In the very early times Chapel-street had many vacant spaces. On the
west side, about the middle, a man could be seen ploughing his farm...
and on the same side was a small brick church, or more probably a
school-room used as a church, which was known as Mr Gregory's.
Chapel Street scene in 1906. The large building second from the right
between Read's Store and the Love & Lewis building was formerly an
extension of Reads' store but made way for a carpark in the 1960s
Prahran Town Hall
Prahran City Hall
Between the 1890s and 1930s Prahran built up a huge shopping centre,
which by the 1920s had rivalled the
Melbourne Central Business
District. Large emporiums (department stores) sprang up along Chapel
Street. Prahran also became a major entertainment area. The Lyric
theatre (also known as the fleahouse), built on the corner of Victoria
Street in 1911, burnt down in the 1940s. The Royal was the second old
theatre built. The Empress (also known as the flea palace[citation
needed]), another popular theatre on Chapel Street, was destroyed by
fire in 1971. The site was operated by the cut-price clothes and
homewares chain Waltons for the next decade and was later developed
into the Chapel Street Bazaar.
In the 1960s, in an effort to boost the slowly growing local
population and inject new life into the suburb, the Victorian
Government opened the Prahran Housing Commission estate, just off
Chapel Street, together with a larger estate, located just north in
South Yarra. Further complementing the high rise developments was a
low density development between Bangs and Bendigo Streets.
In the 1970s, the suburb began to gentrify, with much of the remaining
old housing stock being renovated and restored. The area had a
substantial Greek population and many took advantage of the rise in
property values during the 1980s, paving the way for further
development and a subsequent shift in demographics.
During the 1990s, the population increased markedly, with demand for
inner-city living fuelling a medium-density housing boom, which
continues in the area, as part of the
Melbourne 2030 planning policy.
It was during the 1990s that solidification of the area's gay
community occurred. Many gay and gay-friendly businesses (including
bars, clubs and bookstores) were found along Commercial Road, between
Pran Central and the railway overpass, the last of these closing
Sport car in Prahran
In Prahran, 61.2% of people were born in Australia. The next most
common countries of birth were England 4.2%, Greece 3.5%, New Zealand
3.4%, China (excludes SARs and Taiwan) 1.6% and India 1.3%.
Prahran Rechabite Hall, part of the University of Melbourne
Prahran is home to a large collection of architecturally significant
commercial buildings, with many on the Victorian Heritage Register.
The Chapel Street section of Prahran is notable for its collection of
turn of the century emporiums and large buildings, which include:
Prahran Arcade - Built in 1889 on Chapel Street, is a richly detailed
building both externally and internally. Retains the original arcade,
but decorative roof was removed in the 1950s. Also known locally as
"Birdland" due to pigeons which once bred in the recessed balconies of
the building and the large eagles which adorn the facade, but are now
screened by chicken wire. Was a
Dan Murphy's cellar for many years,
but currently a JB HiFi store. Now heritage registered.
Reads Emporium - Built in 1914 on the corner of Chapel Street and
Commercial Road. A landmark of the area. Its twin beacons, which sit
atop large copper clad domes, were once visible like lighthouses for
miles around, but no longer operate. During the 1970s, the site traded
as a department store under the name Moore's before the lower stories
were converted into shops in the 1980s and named "Pran Central". The
upper stories were restored and converted into fashionable apartments
in 2005. Now heritage registered.
Big Store - Built in 1902 and closed in 1968 on Chapel Street. A
second store, almost as large as the main store, once stood in the
carpark to the west, beyond Cato Street, linked by cross-over
walkways. This large Edwardian building is currently used by Coles
Maples Corner - Built in 1910 on the corner of Chapel and High
Streets. Converted into offices in the 1980s and many deteriorating
decorative features were replaced with post modern elements.
Love & Lewis - Built in 1913 on Chapel Street and converted into a
mix of offices, retail and apartments in 2004. Now heritage
Other significant Prahran emporiums include Conway's Buildings (1914)
and the large Colosseum building (1897), which was lost to fire in
Other heritage buildings include the former
Prahran Town Hall
Prahran Town Hall (now
used as a library and council offices), the adjacent former City Hall
(1888) (now used for special functions and as an exhibition space),
the neighbouring police station (1887) and court house (1887) and
Rechabite Hall (1888), in the Second Empire style. The Prahran Fire
Tower (1889) is on Macquarie Street. State School number 2855,
formerly Prahran Primary School (1888), on High Street was converted
into apartments in 2005. St Matthew's Church, a large bluestone church
on High Street built in the 1880s, was converted into offices in the
Gates to Princes Gardens
Residential Prahran consists of mostly single storey Victorian and
Edwardian terrace houses, with some larger double storey terraces
closer to the main shopping strips.
Prahran features many small (largely hidden) gardens scattered
throughout the suburb. The former Greville Botanical Gardens, now
"Grattan Gardens", are off Greville Street, on Grattan Street.
Subdivisions have caused incursions to what is now a narrow strip,
with a playground and heritage pavilion. The Princes Gardens are a
small garden, which features Chapel Off Chapel, an old church
converted into a theatre, as well as the Prahran skate park, home to
the best vert skateboarding facilities in Victoria. Victoria Gardens,
off High Street, is a Victorian era garden, with a main space
consisting of a circular row of
London plane trees and an angel
statue. The Orrong Romanis Park is the largest park in Prahran.
Prahran is serviced by Prahran Station, on the Sandringham line, as
well as trams routes 5, 6, 64, 72 and 78.
Graham Berry - Colonial politician, and 11th Premier of Victoria, was
a grocer in Prahran in the 1850s.
Maurice Blackburn - Australian lawyer and Labor Party politician, who
died in Prahran in 1944.
Raelene Boyle - Australian athlete, who worked for the Prahran City
Council as a landscape gardener.
Keith Campbell, first Australian to win a Grand Prix motorcycle racing
world championship in 1957.
Barlow Carkeek - Victorian and Australian cricketer died in Prahran in
Walter Joseph Cawthorn - Soldier, diplomat and a former head of the
Australian Secret Intelligence Service
Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS) was born in Prahran in
Percy Cerutty - Eccentric athletics coach of
Herb Elliott was born in
Prahran in 1895.
Arthur Henry Cobby
Arthur Henry Cobby - Leading air ace in the Australian Flying Corps
World War I
World War I was born in Prahran.
John "Jack" Edwards - Test cricketer, was born in Prahran in 1860.
Mark Evans (musician) - Bass guitarist with
AC/DC from 1975-1977.
Tony Gaze - WW2 fighter ace and first Australian racing driver to
compete in an overseas Grand Prix, born in Prahran in 1920.
Lisa Gerrard - Australian musician and singer, part of the music group
Dead Can Dance, lived in Prahran.
Lachy Hulme - Australian actor and screenwriter, lives in Prahran.
Herbert Hyland - Investor and Country Party politician, was born on 15
March 1884 in Prahran.
Gertrude Johnson -
Soprano and founder of the National Theatre, born
in Prahran in 1894.
Chris Judd - Carlton Captain, has a luxury home in Prahran.
George Hodges Knox - Australian politician, after whom the City of
Knox is named, was born in Prahran in 1885.
Sam Loxton - Australian Test cricketer, played for Prahran in
Victorian Premier Cricket, later represented the area in the Victorian
Rebecca Maddern - ex Seven News presenter and now AFL Footy show co
John Marden - Headmaster, pioneer of women's education, and
Presbyterian elder, was born in Prahran in 1855.
Paul Medhurst - Collingwood footballer, currently living in Prahran.
John Safran - Documentarian and media personality.
Sir John Armstrong Spicer - Attorney-General in the Menzies
government, was born in Prahran in 1899.
Henry Tate - Poet and musician, was born in Prahran in 1873.
Brian Taylor - Former Australian rules footballer and coach of Prahran
Football Club in the VFA.
Eliza Taylor-Cotter - Actress
George Tolhurst - Composer. Composed the first oratorio Ruth, in the
Colony of Victoria and first performed in 1864 in Prarhan.
Keith William "Bluey" Truscott -
World War II
World War II ace fighter pilot and
Australian rules footballer, was born in Prahran in 1916.
Harry Frederick Ernest "Fred" Whitlam - Crown Solicitor and father of
Gough Whitlam was born in Prahran in 1884.
Sammy J - Musical Comedian
City of Prahran
City of Prahran - Prahran was previously within this former local
Electoral district of Prahran
Prahran Telegraph, local newspaper from 1860-1930s
Australian Bureau of Statistics
Australian Bureau of Statistics (27 June 2017). "Prahran (State
Suburb)". 2016 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 21 September 2017.
^ "Prahran, Victoria". Australian Places. Monash University. Archived
from the original on 21 August 2006. Retrieved 25 July 2013.
^ John Butler Cooper On-line Archived 16 February 2012 at the Wayback
Machine. - see Chapter 1 section 5
^ Premier Postal History. "Post Office List". Retrieved 11 April
^ "South Suburban Melbourne: 1854-1864". Victorian Historical Journal.
5 (20): 183. 1917. Retrieved 2013-09-25.
^ Fire destroys third National Theatre building[permanent dead
link](see National Theatre Facebook site)[dead link]
^ Making their mark - Susan Priestley
^ George Negus Tonight - Raelene Boyle
^ "Keith Campbell career statistics". motogp.com. Retrieved 24
Suburbs of the City of Stonnington, Melbourne, Victoria