Street ballad titled 'Marvellous Melbourne - The Latest Song about the Depression. Composed by 'Good Cheer''. Rare octavia-sized printed sheet ballad, printed in North Fitzroy, no date, but circa early 1890s. A rare example of a genuine Melbourne street ballad.

In 1885 visiting journalist George Augustus Sala had dubbed the city 'Marvellous Melbourne'. The locals embraced the title; even in this ballad about the depression the author retains some of the sunny optimism of the 1880s. The song was set to the tune of 'After the Ball', an American hit song of 1892.

Physical Description

Street Ballad titled "Marvellous Melbourne" printed in black ink on a rectangular shaped, brown paper leaflet.


This street ballad is a rare surviving example of a highly ephemeral material which was sold by street balladeers in Melbourne the late 19th and early 20th Century. They were often highly political in nature, and usually dealt with contemporary events, such as disasters, labour disputes and strikes, political and sporting figures, as well as economical downturns, such as those which occurred during the 1890s and 1930s. This is an important piece of popular culture related to the 1890s Depression, which ironically uses the title `Marvellous Melbourne', a moniker that was originally linked to the period of great economic growth during the 1870s and 1880s.

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