The Melbourne Total Abstinence Society was one of several organisations in nineteenth century Victoria established to promote temperance, oppose the extension of hotel licences, and educate children and adults about the dangers of alcohol. Others were the Order of the Sons of Temperance, the International Order of Good Templars, and the Band of Hope.

The Total Abstinence Society was formed in Melbourne around 1842 in response to the growing threats of opium and alcohol. It was inaugurated in Scots Church Hall. With a distinctly religious emphasis, it drew many hundreds of people to its meetings. The Society's work included the support of widows and public processions, one of which was held in Melbourne in 1846.

James Forbes, founder of Scotch College, was sometime president of the Melbourne Total Abstinence Society. Thomas Ferguson held the position of secretary of the Society from 1868 to 1904. A fountain in Barry Square (now known as University Square) was later dedicated to his memory.


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