Old Treasury Building

Sitting at the top end of Collins Street in the Melbourne CBD, the Old Treasury Building is widely regarded as one of the finest 19th century buildings in Australia.

The Old Treasury building was designed by nineteen-year-old architect JJ Clark and built between 1858 and 1862.

What can I see?

The Old Treasury Building hosts the original gold vaults where gold bullion was stored during the gold rush era, as well as rare and historic documents from Public Record Office Victoria highlighting key moments from Victoria’s history.

Come and explore the intriguing gold vaults and you may earn yourself a gold licence!

Open Sunday to Friday (closed every Saturday), Free entry
(schools and groups by appointment ONLY)

World War One and the Ibuki

Many of the stories that have most affected people are the little known ones – personal stories of endurance and courage.

One of the little known stories is of the battlecruiser Ibuki, part of the Japanese Navy, and its critical part in the First Convoy. The First Convoy of 17 ships took Australia’s first overseas military commitment – soldiers, nurses, horses, weaponry and supplies – on the long journey to Egypt, where troops completed their training before going to Gallipoli and the Western Front.

The Ibuki escorted a convoy of 10 troop transports carrying the Main Body of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force, crossing the Tasman Sea with the British protected cruiser HMS Pyramus and armoured cruiser HMS Minotaur to Albany. Then, with the Australian light cruiser HMAS Sydney, the HMAS Melbourne and the Minotaur, the Ibuki escorted the ANZACs across the Indian Ocean.

The Veterans Branch, Department of Premier and Cabinet, has worked with the generous support and assistance of the Japanese Consulate-General in Melbourne to create a compact display telling the story of the Ibuki. A special part of the display is historic photographs, taken on the Ibuki during its journey and kindly made available for reproduction by the Center for Military History, National Institute for Defense Studies, Japan Ministry of Defense. Other images have been made available by the Australian War Memorial, Canberra.

The display will be on view from 16 December 2016 to 15 January 2017, on the ground floor level.

Wild Colonial Boys: Bushrangers in Victoria

Colonial Robin Hoods or murderous thugs? Discover new stories of Victoria’s bushrangers

If you thought you knew all about Victoria’s bushrangers, think again. There’s far more to it than the story of Ned Kelly.

This exhibition will reveal the long history of bushranging in Victoria, with some new and little-known characters from our frontier past. Meet the first bushrangers convicted in 1842 who were tried and executed publicly as an example to others. And the audacious gang who held up travellers on St Kilda Road in the 1850s. Visitors can also meet the oldest bushranger, and the youngest – John (Jack) Doolan, who inspired part of the well-known bushranging song The Wild Colonial Boy. The Kelly Gang will be there too of course. There’s no story of bushranging without Ned!

Were they indeed nineteenth century ‘Robin Hoods’ – or just common criminals? We’ll leave you to judge.


These School Holidays children can immerse themselves in the late 19th century world of bushrangers at the Old Treasury Building!

Dangerously Suspicious, ST Gill. Courtesy State Library Victoria.

During the fourth week of the holidays, children are invited to come and explore the Wild Colonial Boys exhibition. Share the stories of the Plenty Gang and other bushrangers who roamed Victoria’s countryside. Visit the gold vaults below to find bushrangers who were a threat to the gold escort. Along the way discover Dan Kelly’s armour and make a mask of your own.
Combining stories, mask making, and song this program leads children through the Wild Colonial Boys exhibition on a journey of discovery.

16-19 January 2017 at 10:30am (5-9 year olds) & 2pm (8-12 year olds)

$8 per child (Adults free) Bookings essential as numbers are limited (03) 9651 2233 or bookings@otb.org.au

Paintings of Early Melbourne

'Evening on the Yarra, Melbourne', Watercolour by Henry Easom Davies, c. 1856

Join us for an exclusive tour of this fascinating collection of Early Melbourne paintings. Drawn from the private collection of the Roy Morgan Research Centre, this unique display of oil paintings, watercolours and lithographs provides an insiders glimpse into the early beginnings of colonial Melbourne, from swamp town to the opulence and wealth of the gold rush era. Along your tour, notice our incredible architectural interior features and unique collection of 19th century furniture, all original and purpose-built for the building in the 1860s. 

Tour Dates:
Thursday 26 January at 11am & 1pm (Australia Day)
Monday 20 February at 11am
Friday 17 March at 11am
or by appointment.

Bookings essential:
Cost: $8 Adults
Bookings: 9651 2233 or bookings@otb.org.au

Victorian Display

The Deakin Room currently holds a display of Bendigo, and Victorian Art Pottery, kindly on loan from the Roy Morgan Research Centre Collection.

Bendigo Pottery
George Duncan Guthrie (1828-1910), a Scottish Potter, left Scotland to travel to Australia to join the gold rush of the 1850’s. Guthrie arrived penniless, and found no luck in the goldfields; however, he did find a deposit of fine white clay and set up Australia’s most illustrious Pottery works at Huntley, Bendigo in 1857. The Pottery continued business until its closure in 1861. In 1863, Guthrie established a pottery at Epsom, which he later sold in 1882. In 1898 Guthrie entered into a partnership with Mr Edwin J. Hartley and re-purchased the Bendigo Pottery, which he ran almost until his death in 1910.

Victorian Art Pottery
William Ferry 1887-1910, worked at the Linthorpe Art Pottery, in Middlesbrough, England, where he worked under the designer Christopher Dresser. William and his elder brother Graham were the principle sculptors for Christopher Dresser and also with Burmantoff’s Pottery, where he later became manager. In 1894 he moved to France and worked at the Niderville Pottery until 1896, when he moved to Australia. By 1898, he leased land in Brunswick, Melbourne, where under the name of Victorian Art Pottery he produced hand finished art wares, often using moulds he had brought from England. He gained a reputation for his beautifully made, colourful and decorative Jardinières, Pedestals and Grotesques. The works closed in 1912.



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Tuesday 11 October 11am
Curator Tour
with Kate Luciano

Sunday 23 October 2:30pm
History Week Lecture
Redmond Barry and the trial of Ned Kelly
with Dr Andrew Lemon

Tuesday 25 October 11am
Victoria’s First Bushrangers
with Helen Marson

Tuesday 15 November 11am
Wild Colonial Boys
with Rob Edmonds

Tuesday 6 December 11am
Bushrangers in the City
with Gabrielle Keating

Tuesday 10 January 11am
Gold! Gold! Gold!
with Lynne Robertson

Tuesday 6 February 11am
Captain Melville
with Marguerite Bell

Tuesday 28 February 11am
Curator Tour
with Kate Luciano



School Programs

The Old Treasury Building is a unique resource for students and teachers.

A magnificent gold rush building, it reflects the growth of ‘Marvellous Melbourne’ and changing life in the city. From the basement vaults where gold was stored in the 1860s, to the elegant Executive Council Chamber, still used regularly by the Governor of Victoria, students experience one of Australia’s most beautiful and historic buildings.

Programs include the story of gold, the growth of democracy, early Melbourne, life in the city and urban environment. Programs offered are aligned to curricula for Levels 2 to VCE.


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