Walking Tour: Shorthand History of Melbourne

“Silently and inconspicuously” shorthand writers and shorthand educators have contributed to the legacy which has shaped the City of Melbourne. Melbourne’s central grid is brimming with shorthand history and stories, all of which contribute to the endowment shorthand has left to our society. Join this guided walk around Melbourne, and discover how these scenarios and opportunities materialised.

Shorthand has preserved our post-European arrival history with records that include those of parliaments, businesses and courts. Although the legacy which shorthand has afforded Melbourne is largely hidden, it is nonetheless entrenched and woven through multiple and varied facets of our society today. 

From the 1840s, educated Melbourne men learned and wrote shorthand. It was a fundamental skill which, as part of their repertoire, empowered them to succeed in business, law or politics. Soon after, women believed they were entitled to the same possibilities, and actively commenced the struggle. Two World Wars assisted female shorthand writers in their quest, however, many obstacles still remained. With the rise in popularity of shorthand, and therefore its demand, educators took advantage of opportunities to open shorthand colleges in Melbourne, and women took advantage of the opportunities to advance their financial independence. 

For decades, the streets of Melbourne echoed daily with the footsteps of thousands of promising and accomplished shorthand writers as they completed their commute to shorthand colleges, business houses, courts and parliament.  

The tour will commence on the steps of Parliament House (Spring Street) and will walk around the CBD concluding at Temple Court (422 Collins Street). 

Your guide on this walk is Carmel Taylor, author of With Pencils Poised… A History of Shorthand in Australia and the creator of a Shorthand History Walk in Melbourne’s CBD. Carmel has held a fascination for shorthand since the age of 12, when she was gifted a 1915 Pitman Shorthand book. She is also a shorthand teacher, collector of antiquarian shorthand books and has worked as stenographer. 

Celebrating 50 years of the Victorian Heritage Register 

Event dates

Event Details

Parliament House, Spring Street, East Melbourne VIC, Australia

The tour will commence on the steps of Parliament House (Spring Street) and will walk around the CBD concluding at Temple Court (422 Collins Street).



Entry fees:
Adults $ 35
Prebooking requiredhttps://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/walking-tour-shorthand-history-of-melbourne-tickets-870780797807bookings@nattrust.com.au(03) 9656 9889
Attendance limit: