Phone: 03 9658 9658
Postal address: GPO Box 1603 Melbourne VIC 3001
This site was launched in September 2017 with 1,000 items. By mid-2019 this number grew to over 5,500. If there is something in the collection that you would particularly like to see online, please contact us and we will see if we can expedite the process of cataloguing, photographing and uploading your item of interest.
The development of the site was the result of a Council Action, which led to a collaboration between the City of Melbourne’s Arts, Technology Services and City Marketing and Corporate Affairs branches. Content has principally been developed by the Collections team with assistance from Patrick Rodriguez (photographer) and Hilary Ericksen (writer and editor).
Curated by Sean Lynch
until 26 July 2023
Location: Melbourne Town Hall, 110 Swanston Street, Melbourne (enter via Customer Relations)
Opening hours: Weekdays 8.30am to 5.00pm
Closed weekends and public holidays
The earliest items in the collection date to the 1850s but it is only over the last twenty or thirty years that it has been organised, stored and staffed along contemporary museological lines.
A major development, dating to 2000, was the establishment of a permanent collection store with facilities in line with international museum standards. More incrementally, the display of the collection has expanded beyond a single floor of Melbourne Town Hall to take in the entire building. It is also now displayed in Council’s two administration buildings, Council House 1 and Council House 2, and in the municipality’s premier community facilities. In addition, 171 outdoor artworks are on display in the streets and parks of Melbourne
A sustained program of collection development has enabled this increased use. Since 2005, contemporary art has been a particular focus with acquisition advice generously provided by a panel of external art experts, who are part of the Collection Advisory Panel. A key criteria, work by urban-based Aboriginal artists, has seen this element of the collection become significant in its own right. Heritage elements of the collection have also expanded so that now more than ever it is a collection relating to central Melbourne as much as Council alone.
This focus on Melbourne is also reflected in the exhibition program of City Gallery, in Melbourne Town Hall. The key to its free exhibitions is the use of the collection, through existing material or new commissions. The use of guest curators ensures these shows have a diversity of subject and style. Design is an important ingredient in this small but supremely central city space. citycollection.melbourne.vic.gov.au/city-gallery
The collection’s award-winning website, launched in 2017, has been a game changer for audience reach. It recently recorded 92,000 visits over a six month period. 5,500 items are now accessible, each with a quality image and associated text. citycollection.melbourne.vic.gov.au
Eddie Butler-Bowdon, Program Manager
Since 2003 Eddie has overseen the strategic development of the collection. He was previously a Senior Curator in social history at Museum Victoria (1995-2003) and an Assistant Curator at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney (1991-1995). Eddie holds a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) from the University of Melbourne and a Master of Arts (History) from the University of Technology, Sydney.
Cressida Goddard, Registrar, Art and Heritage Collection
Cressida has worked in the collection since 2010. Most recently she has overseen the expansion of this website. Prior to this she worked at Maitland Regional Art Gallery (2004-2010) and the School of Fine Art Gallery, University of Newcastle (2000-2004). Cressida holds a Bachelor of Visual Arts, a Bachelor of Fine Art (Hons) and a Master of Fine Art from the University of Newcastle.