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A remote island group 65 km to the west of the Outer Hebrides of Scotland, inhabited from ancient times until finally evacuated in 1930. Its cliffs are very rich in bird life and it is a World Heritage site.

The main island is called Hirta, with Soay "sheep island" and Dún right next to it. To the north-east is Boreray, accompanied by two stacs (or stacks), tall piles of rock emerging from the sea. Stac an Armin is 191 m and Stac Lee is 165 m.

Evidence exists for habitation thousands of years ago, and for early Christian and Norse settlement. The name St Kilda is thoughout to derive from Old Norse skildir "shields", from the appearance of the islands from a distance. There was no saint called Kilda.

Their landlord was The Macleod, who lived on Skye. He sold the islands in 1779, and bought them back in 1871. Normally they were visited only once a year, by the landlord's factor, accompanied by a minister to perform whatever marriages and baptisms might be required. They got a resident minister in the early nineteenth century, and a school in 1884. A jetty was built only in 1901. They did not adopt the Gregorian calendar until 1912.

The St Kildans lived on the rich fishing grounds, on their peculiar strain of sheep (the ancient Soay sheep have remained untended on the uninhabited islands and been studied by scientists), on catching seabirds such as the fulmar, gannet, and puffin, and on a certain amount of agriculture. There was a village called The Village; in the mid nineteenth-century stone-roofed houses replaced thatched ones. They stored their food in stone larders or barns called cleitean.

The population was around 180 in 1700, and spoke Gaelic. In 1726 one man visited the Hebrides and died of smallpox. They sent his clothes back and they killed every adult but one on the main island, and the only other survivors were marooned on Stac an Armin eating gannets... for nine months. A new population was sent out from the mainland. In 1746 government troops landed looking for Bonnie Prince Charlie, only to be met with fearful incomprehension: "Who?"

They were really not up with the modern world. About 1840 they caught a witch, who had caused a storm. They tried her and a mob stoned her to death. She was in the form of a great auk, the last such bird ever recorded in Britain. In 1844 Icelanders killed the very last one.

In the late 1800s tourism caused the St Kildans to adopt a new traditional way of life of selling authentic St Kildan trinkets and handicrafts to tourists. Thirty-six people had emigrated to Australia in 1852. The final 36 inhabitants were evacuated at their own request to mainland Scotland on 30 August 1930. Some are still alive.

The islands were used as a military range for many years. St Kilda is now a National Trust of Scotland property, having been bequeathed by the Marquess of Bute in 1957. In 1986 it became Scotland's first World Heritage site.


Also an inner suburb of Melbourne, named from those who survived the emigration to Australia. It lies on Port Philip Bay just south-east of the City, and is notable for its night life. The football team St Kilda plays in red, white, and black, and is nicknamed The Saints.


Most of these facts have been taken from www.kilda.org.uk, which deserves some kind of prize for unfriendliness. I think they must have deliberately tried to make it as hard to get around as the islands themselves.
Location

Melways Map: 58
Postcode: 3182

St Kilda is an inner-city suburb of Melbourne, Australia. Located about 6km to the south-east of the CBD, just below Middle Park (and adjoining Albert Park), north of Elwood, west of Malvern. It sits upon a pleasant beach front overlooking Port Phillip Bay.

History

Named after a yacht ('Lady of St Kilda'), allotments in the Fitzroy Street and Lower Esplanade area were sold by the government in December, 1842. The route from St Kilda to Melbourne was via a dusty track. By 1849 schools and churches were erected, and by the end of 1851 St Kilda was becoming a home of the well-to-do. (a sign of things to come, evidently)

Amongst many Christian denominations that established themselves throughout the general area, Moritz Michaelis, a Jewish importer and merchant, built "Linden", his residence at 26 Acland Street (which is incidentally less than 20 metres from my house). Thus began the influx of Jewish residents to the general area, many of whom settled in the areas now known as East St Kilda, and Caulfield.

A pier and breakwater were constructed between the late 1850s and 1884, which even today serve as popular 'tourist' attractions. The foreshore was hired out to open-air showmen, which served to slowly transform St Kilda from the somewhat patrician village into a "carnival-spectacular" of sorts.

It was in the late 1920s that brothels and some street prostitution began to emerge amongst some of Melbourne's first flats and night spots. In the 1930s the Melbourne City Council began their first of many efforts to 'clean up' St Kilda. They were largely unsuccessful, as the great depression forced more and more people to adopt unseemly lifestyles in order to survive.

By the end of the 1930s flat construction outnumbered house construction, dictating a trend that all inner-city suburbs would be soon to adopt. Over the next 40 years crime would increase steadily, until in the late 1970s the council would be forced to confront the 'socially unorthodox' behaviour of its residents.

At the peak of St Kilda's criminal history it played host to some of Melbourne's largest organised crime outfits. Nowdays the 'crime' is restricted to drug dealers and users (Heroin predominantly, and more the latter than the former), street prostitutes, and their pimps. Oh, there's the occasional burglary, usually perpetrated by a junkie looking for money to sustain their habit.

All this unseemly business has been becoming increasingly supressed in recent years, though. St Kilda is turning into a haven for trendy wankers. (like my good self, some might argue) With the emergence and outright dominance of cafe culture throughout Melbourne, Acland and Fitzroy Street's wide sidewalks and ever-increasing numbers of street cafe's lend themselves perfectly to this social phenomenon.

Fortunately for me and my family, the trendies are people with a lot of cash. Hence the property that I currently occupy is now worth roughly four times what we paid for it 5 years ago.

source: http://www.arts.monash.edu.au/ncas/multimedia/gazetteer/list/stkilda.html

Demographic

St Kilda is an interesting place socially. It is one of those rare places where one can see many "social orders" living in close proximity in relative harmony. You have people like me and my family (wealthy, reasonably straight-laced, but leftist), 'trendy' people (young, rich, and conservative), 'junkies' (heroin addicts), Generation X Rat People ('alternative' white people with dreadlocks and poor personal hygene), young people in general, and the oldschool St Kilda residentials (those that have probably dodged several drafts and have bar stools named after them down at the local, often seen looking threatening and smiling at the same time).

Public Transport

At one stage there was a train line that ran from the city centre, Flinders Street Station, terminating at St Kilda Station. The train line has since been converted into a light-rail, or tram, line. The terminus still exists, but the number 96 tram continues down Fitzroy Street, around Upper Esplanade, and finally terminating at the eastern end of Acland Street. There is also the number 112 tram which passes through Middle Park and terminates at Fitzroy Street a few blocks north of the beach front. Both these services are operated by Yarra Trams.

Additionally, the number 16 travels down St Kilda Road, through St Kilda Junction, down Fitzroy Street to Acland Street, meeting with the number 69 at which point the trams swap numbers and the 69 travels up Carslile Street through East St Kilda into Malvern, and out of the scope of this node.

Miscellany

St Kilda has both a VFL and AFL team, the St Kilda Saints.

St Kilda Saints: Australian Rules team, in the Australian Football League.


Joined competition: 1897
Colours: Red, Black and White
Home Ground: Colonial Stadium, formerly Waverly Park and Moorabbin

History: The Saints have been the perennial easybeats of the competition, a symbol of failure, in-fighting and mediocrity. Perhaps the only team historically worse than the Swans. Coaches at St Kilda tend to have short careers. Strangely enough though, the Sainters seem to have a very large following, considering their almost total lack of success.

St Kilda were one of the eight original clubs, joining in 1897. They were invited into the breakaway VFL largely because they had an excellent home ground, Junction Oval. The hapless 'Seasiders', as they were then known, lost their first 48 games in the league. In 1897, they didn't score a goal on three separate occasions. It wasn't until the opening game of 1900 that they finally tasted victory. The game ended in a draw with Melbourne, and was awarded to St Kilda on a protest.

St Kilda made the grand final in 1913, losing to Fitzroy. In 1914, at the outbreak of World War I, St Kilda changed their colours from red, black and white (German colours) to red, black and yellow. They switched back to the traditional red, black and white in 1922.

St Kilda teams up until the 60s mostly occupied the bottom positions on the ladder. They produced some great players, such as Bill Mohr, but onfield success was elusive. Even so, the Saints still enjoyed good support.

Enter Alan Jeans. Jeans took over as coach in 1961, and in his 16 years at the club, the Saints finished in the top half of the competition 13 times. St Kilda moved to Moorabbin in 1965. That year, they finished runers up, losing the Grand Final to Essendon.

In 1966, St Kilda finally broke through, winning their first (and thus far, only) premiership in dramatic fashion. The Saints scraped home, beating Collingwood by the barest of margins, 1 point. The wobbly kick in the dying seconds that won them the game was off the boot of Barry Breen, something for which he will forever be rememberd by Saints fans.

In the next few years the Saints stuck around at the top of the ladder, making more finals series and finishing runners up to Hawthorn in 1971.

After making the finals in 1974, St Kilda slipped back down the ladder, and stayed there for the next 15 years. It wasn't until 1990, and the appointment of Kevin Sheldon as coach that they had some sort of success once more. With goalkicking legend Tony Lockett in great form, St Kilda made the finals in 1991 and 92. Kevin Sheldon was replaced at the end of 1993 by Stan Alves, and the Saints began to struggle once more.

It looked like it was going to be another typical year at St Kilda in 1997, when they won just one of the first five games. It was expected at this stage that Stan Alves wouldn't last the season at St Kilda. The Saints turned it around though, and breezed into the finals, winning 14 of the next 17 games. They beat North Melbourne and Brisbane in the finals, and went into the Grand Final as favourites against the inexperienced Adelaide. St Kilda built an early lead, but the Crows came back, and stormed home, winning by 31 points.

1998 saw the Saints slip back down the ladder, and 1999-2001 saw them stay there. the Saints of the latter part of the nineties had plenty of talent, but seemed to play without spirit. St Kilda suffers from constant in-fighting in the boardroom, and their players have a nasty habit of getting into alcohol-related trouble off the field.

It's difficult to tell where St Kilda is headed in the near future. They're struggling on the field, but the support is still there, and they don't seem to be in particularly bad financial shape compared to some other clubs. If they could find some unity and spirit on the field, then anything is possible.

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