'A Modern Tale of Two Cities: Richmond - Toorak', was written by Ken Miller for the Communist Party of Australia in 1949.

Ken Miller was the elected leader of the Young Communist League in the 1930s, was the communist party organiser for the Richmond-Collingwood Yarra district area, and in 1943 stood for the Communist Party of Australia at the federal election; he achieved 9.3% of the vote. Miller wrote this pamphlet in 1949 to encourage Richmond voters to support the Communist Party at Federal elections held that year. The candidate standing for the Communist Party at that election, Gerald O'Day, achieved only 3.3% of the vote.

'A Modern Tale of Two Cities' contrasts the suburbs of Richmond and Toorak in the late 1940s. The pamphlet illustrates (both verbally and pictorially) conditions in the inner-Melbourne industrial suburb just after the war. The text emphasises many of the problems faced by residents in Richmond, an overly developed industrial area where living conditions were horrible. They are compared with conditions in Toorak, where rich people are presented as living in lovely houses. Residents of Richmond are portrayed as poor workers exploited by money hungry Toorak business men who benefit by overly developing residential and industrial areas.

The pamphlet outlines the perceived causes of the issues affecting Richmond, and outlines how the communist party would provide solutions for them. While written with an unmistakable communist agenda, Ken Miller's text makes a not insignificant contribution to the post-war reconstruction debate.

Physical Description

Paper pamphlet, stapled on the spine. Text throughout, the whole printed in black ink. The front cover features two illustrations framed in red circular borders: one depicts terrace housing adjacent to a factory, with children playing in the street; the other features a grand mansion outside of which sits a Rolls Royce. Black and white photographs are published throughout to illustrate the text.

More Information

  • Collecting Areas

    Public Life & Institutions, Home & Community

  • Acquisition Information


  • Author

    Mr Ken Miller, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 1949

  • Publisher

    Communist Party of Australia, Australia, Jul 1949

  • Printer

    G. V. Little, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, Jul 1949

  • Inscriptions

    Printed in black and red ink on the front cover: A MODERN TALE/ Of TWO CITIES/ RICHMOND/ TOORAK/ by/ KEN MILLER Printed in black on the back cover: First published July, 1949; A COMMUNIST PUBLICATION; Printed by G.V. Little at 16 Corr's Lane, Melbourne Selected examples of text: p2: '...climb a little way up that sacred Toorak Hill./ Note the quiet, well-made tree-lined avenues. Mark well the/ stately mansions set back amidst trees and pleasant gardens./ In its very peacefulness it oozes wealth and luxury./ Now, look back on Richmond. Through a haze of factory/ smoke you will see a maze of close-packed tiny roof-tops. No/ gardens, no tree-lined avenues, hardly a flower. Rising above/ the close-packed roof-tops are giant, solid, well-built factories/ and ugly chimney stacks./...It is a story of how Richmond has built Toorak and how/ Toorak has robbed and ruined Richmond.' p9: ' Wealthy men who make so much out of Rich-/ mond have seen to it that the Labor Party does not disturb/ their vested interests. They have exercised their influence/ inside the Labor Party.' p12: 'This party was so organised and disciplined that it/ could keep itself clean from capitalist influences./ ...The Big Business gentlemen of Toorak, who have taken/ so much out of Richmond and who want still more, hate the/ Communists.' p13: 'Under Socialism the vast tribute in profit and rent which/ is to-day extracted from the people of Richmond under capi-/ talism, would be devoted to their welfare./ ...The once idle owners and investors - -- "the big men" -would/ not be left idle. With the source of their great unearned/ incomes cut off, they would have to turn to honest toil. They/ would be given jobs helping to rebuild what they had destroyed.' p14: 'But it is ONLY the Richmond people themselves who can/ do the job.'

  • Classification

    Politics & public protest, Social justice, Protest materials

  • Category

    History & Technology

  • Discipline


  • Type of item


  • 2D Dimensions - Document

    140 mm (Width), 205 mm (Height)

  • Keywords

    Housing, Suburbs, Political Organisations, Political Parties, Socialism, Communism, Property Development