The Outcasts of Melbourne: Essays in Social History
Publication Date 1 Jan 1985
OverviewBehind the glittering image of 'Marvellous Melbourne' there existed in the popular imagination another, very different, picture of the colonial metropolis. This was the city of 'low life', of crowded slums, poverty, disease and vice. The nine essays in The Outcasts of Melbourne attempt to reveal the social realities behind this picture. They include new accounts of the forces which created the city's physical environment. They show how perceptions of a city can be shaped by campaigning journalists, artists and writers. They present collective portraits of the poor and the 'criminal classes' - and of those who set out to save them. They describe how the city's guardians - the police, public health authorities and charity workers - responded to the challenge of the slums. By imaginative use of the rich deposits in the public records, these explorations in social history present new ways of documenting the lives of people whose daily activities were seldom reported in the popular press. In doing so, they also map the chains of causation which link the actions of individuals - appearing before a committee of a benevolent society, getting arrested, evangelising at a Salvation Army rally - to the social forces which have shaped the cities in which we live.
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