Scandalous Stories of Our City

08 November, 2012

SmartBar promo image
SmartBar, at Melbourne Museum on 29 November, 2012

On Thursday 29 November, Melbourne Museum's special evening event SmartBar will invite visitors to walk on the dark side of our city, exposing historical scandals, ruinous rumours and infamous crimes of Melbourne.

Notorious gangsters, brothels, opium dens and the poisoning of Phar Lap will be some of the highlights of the adult only event, where the Museum's exhibitions and objects come out after dark.

"Melbourne has a much more colourful past than most people realise," said Lauren Ellis, Programs Officer, Melbourne Museum. "We all know of Ned Kelly's escapades, but the city has been captivated by a number of shocking crimes and notorious characters over the years."

SmartBar will shine a spotlight on some of the scandalous moments of Melbourne's early history, through talks by experts and the fascinating artefacts in our exhibitions. This is the perfect opportunity to learn more about Melbourne's dark corners in a relaxed, kid-free environment," said Ellis.

Visitors to the upcoming SmartBar can expect to:

  • Walk the mean streets of 1920s Melbourne and get acquainted with Squizzy Taylor and his cohorts, the infamous gangsters renowned for sly-grog selling, robbery and even murder.
  • Discover the events around the 1921 'Gun Alley Murder', a shocking crime that led to the arrest, conviction, hanging, and eventual posthumous pardon of a local saloon owner.
  • Explore Phar Lap's shocking death in 1932 which resulted from arsenic poisoning, long rumoured to be the work of organised criminals.
  • Meet Melbourne's 'Queen of Harlotry' – Madame Brussels, the infamous proprietor of the most expensive and opulent brothels of Little Lonsdale Street.

The Melbourne Story exhibition will be open on the night, providing a thorough insight into Melbourne's unique and changing tale with iconic stories and over 1200 objects. Visitors will also be able to explore Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre's Birrarung Gallery.

SmartBar is an exciting new addition to Melbourne nightlife and forms part of a growing range of adult programs presented at Melbourne Museum.

Food and drinks will be available for purchase on the night.

SmartBar at Melbourne Museum

Date: Thursday 29 November 2012
Time: 6pm –9.30pm
Cost: Adults $18, Concession $16 (Adults 18+ only)

To purchase tickets visit or phone 13 11 02.To avoid the queue, buy online, print and bring your ticket with you.

For further information follow Melbourne Museum on Facebook | Twitter @melbournemuseum #smartbar

For further media information, interviews or images, please contact: Amanda Linardon on 03 8341 7726, 0400 130 307 or 

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