Stories from the Iron Houses

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Stories from the Iron Houses


Ever wondered why these houses were made of iron?

Or who lived there?

And where is Emerald Hill anyway?


The City of Port Phillip and National Trust of Australia (Victoria) were delighted to this year present a short story writing competition about the Portable Iron Houses, South Melbourne. The three houses date to the 1850s and provide an unique insight into life in Emerald Hill during the gold rush years.


We are fortunate in Melbourne to have many well preserved sites that help our imagination track back through history to the very start of white settlement in Victoria, and sometimes beyond. The Iron Houses in South Melbourne are particularly evocative places to glimpse the experience of those who came before us, and to contemplate a way of life that is a distant but clear ancestor of our more comfortable existence. That this window to the past is still open for all who care to peep through is a tribute to those who have preserved these Iron Houses, and we owe them our gratitude.

History can be used in any number of ways: as a curiosity, viewed in isolation from any contemporary relevance; as a map to show how we got to where we are now; as a lesson in how we might face the future…. It can also be a leaping-off point for us to ponder ‘what would life have been like?’, ‘what might have happened next?’, and ‘what if?’.

The Stories from the Iron Houses competition did not stipulate how writers should use the known history of the Iron Houses. How they leapt-off was left to their imagination, and, with the courage it takes for writers to let their work go out, the results were put forward for judgement.


What the Judges had to say...

And the Winners are...