Historical information

This inventory of the contents of the old Museum in Warrnambool dates from the 1920s. A Mechanics Institute under the management of a local committee was established in Warrnambool in 1854 and a Mechanics Institute building was erected in Liebig Street in 1871 (site of present Municipal Library). Museum items and art works began to be collected and housed in the Mechanics Institute building at that time under the care of a committee member and local policeman, Joseph Archibald. This collection did not survive in any significant form after Archibald left the town but it was revived and vastly expanded when he retired and returned to Warrnambool in 1880. Archibald is regarded as the founder of the Museum which officially dates from 1883. In 1910 the Warrnambool Town Council took over the management of the Mechanics Institute, including the Museum collection. This museum continued until 1963 and was a much-loved institution in the city. The contents of the old Museum were dispersed, with many items lost but a considerable portion of the collection was under the care of Warrnambool Art Gallery and John Welsh, the Director in the 1970s, in an effort to keep the records of the old Museum intact, had the 1920s inventory reprinted.


This inventory of Warrnambool’s old Museum is of considerable historical importance as it is an almost complete record of the Museum’s contents in the 1920s and so is very useful to researchers today.

Physical description

This is an inventory of 190 pages with a cardboard backing. The pages have three punched holes on the left side and are tied together with black and white cotton cord. At the front of the pages is a plastic envelope with a heading. The pages contain typed material, mostly in mauve ink and these are copies of the original typing. The typing on some pages is very faint and two pages have been re-copied to make them more legible.

Inscriptions & markings

Warrnambool Art Gallery Old Records of the Warrnambool Museum collected by John A.Welsh, Director, and restored by Gaspars Modern Print 25th September 1972.