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Moomba Festival parade in 1954
Photograph: State Library of VictoriaCrowds gather outside Flinders Street Station during 1954's Moomba Festival.

In pictures: Crowds of people gathering in Melbourne over time

It's quiet right now, but let's reminisce about the city at its most alive.
Written by
Rebecca Russo

The city is very quiet right now. So quiet in fact that it has us reminiscing about when the city was at its most alive. We don't need to remind you of how busy the city can get during city-wide public events, from White Night festivities to protests and parades. But what about further back, maybe back before many of us were even born?

The State Library of Victoria has a treasure trove of copyright-free images to explore and on our explorations, we found a few great photographs of old Melbourne. Take a look at these historic gatherings that took over our city. 

Crowd gathering in Melbourne in 1954

Photograph: State Library of Victoria

The above photo is from Melbourne's annual Moomba Festival in 1954. A floral float is driven down Swanston Street with a crowd gathered to watch the festivities. 

Soldiers marching through Melbourne 1941

Photograph: State Library of Victoria

This image shows soldiers marching through Melbourne streets. It's dated c. 1941 and it's assumed it was taken somewhere on Little Collins Street close to the corner of Elizabeth Street. 

Crowd on Bourke Street in Melbourne c.1840-1990

Photograph: State Library of Victoria

This photograph looks east towards a large crowd on Bourke Street in front of Coles Variety Store in Deva House (the big blue building located next to Royal Arcade in Bourke Street Mall). The image is dated between 1930 and 1935.

Two sculls on Yarra River in 1900-1914

Photograph: State Library of Victoria

Dated around 1900 to 1914, this image shows the historic Henley on Yarra regatta race, which ran annually in Melbourne from 1904 until after World War II. It shows a large crowd gathered on the banks of the Yarra watching the race.

Crowd at the corner of Flinders and Swanston Streets, 1950

Photograph: State Library of Victoria

This image appeared in the old Argus newspaper on February 23, 1950. It shows a large crowd of people walking near the corner of Flinders and Swanston Streets during the transport strike.

Flinders Street Station tram strike 1954

Photograph: State Library of Victoria

Just four years later, in April of 1954, a tram strike occurred in Melbourne causing another crowd of people to gather outside Flinders Street Station. 

Bicycle race outside the Royal Exhibition Building 1885/1890

Photograph: State Library of Victoria

This last photograph is the oldest of the bunch, from c. 1885-1890. It depicts a bicycle race taking place outside the Royal Exhibition Building, where Carlton Gardens now sits. 

Want more old Melbourne photographs? These are great, and these are the oldest we could find

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