Stories Organisations Projects About Login

Melbourne Athenaeum Archives Melbourne , Victoria

The Archives manages records of The Melbourne Athenaeum which was founded in 1839 as the Melbourne Mechanic's Institution. Its purpose, "the diffusion of literary, scientific and other useful knowledge to members and the general public, was achieved by maintaining a Library, Museum and Reading Room, and offering classes and lectures. Land was purchased in 1840 in Collins Street and the original building, a two-storey, rendered-brick structure, was completed in 1842. The name was changed to the Melbourne Athenaeum in 1872 reflecting the cultural changes in the society it represented. The Library continues to operate.

Links

Contact Information

location
Level 1, 188 Collins Street Melbourne Victoria 3000 (map)
phone
+61 03 9650 3100

Contact

Opening Hours

The Archives is open to researchers on Wednesdays and Fridays from 11 am to 6 pm, by appointment. The Library is open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday 10 - 6 pm; Wednesdays 10 - 8 pm; Friday 10 - 4 pm and Saturday 10 am - 2 pm.

Entry Fee

Archives, free entry to research the collection The Melbourne Athenaeum Library is Victoria's oldest subscription library. Members pay a yearly subscription of $99 ($89 concession) to borrow up to 30 items at a time for up to 4 weeks.

Location

188 Collins Street Melbourne Victoria

View on Google Maps

The Archives project commenced in 2005 and has provided research support for a range of research projects including a volume of essays about its history; publication of several papers in historical journals; an exhibition of pictures (displayed in the theatre foyer) and assisted numerous students, including PhD candidates, family historians and,, writers of fact and fiction.

Significance

The archives collection reflects the work of the The Melbourne Athenaeum, previousy Mechanics' Institution, where the Library has special significance to the city not only because of its continuous service to its members since 1839, but also to the links to the Melbourne's founders, far-sighted men from all walks of life who understood the need for knowledge and the importance of literature. The institution has operated from the same site in Collins Street since 1842 when the original building, a two-storey Georgian-style construction, was first occupied. The Melbourne Athenaeum Archives covers the history of the institution which was formed in 1839, a few years after European settlement. The visionary men involved established a cultural and social hub for Melbourne that has endured despite financial difficulties. The Melbourne Athenaeum continues to be managed by a voluntary Committee of Management, supporting a popular subscription library and a theatre that provides a wide variety of live entertainments for the citizens of Melbourne.

Sylvia 10 March 2016 4:43 PM

I have an admission ticket(in 2 Parts) for the film "Jazz Singer" starring Al Jolson. It is dated Monday April 1. It doesn't have a date but my father has written 1926. The only information I can get leads me to believe that it was actually 1929 not 1926. Was the film being shown in 1926 at the theatre. Any help appreciated. Thanks Sylvia

Marjorie Dalvean 18 March 2016 1:56 PM

Our records show that the film was shown at the Melbourne Athenaeum in 1929. A copy of the poster can be seen in the foyer of the theatre, as part of the "Athenaeum in Pictures" exhibition. Our records show the film was made in 1927 and shown in Sydney in 1929.

Leave a comment

579 items

579 items

Theatre Program - Minna Von Barnhelm (play) by Gotthold Lessing performed at Athenaeum Theatre commencing 10 February 1982

Melbourne Athenaeum Archives, Melbourne

The program contains background information on author and play ; good condition

Historical information

First performed in 1767, the background of the play is the Seven Years' War in Europe. this production is an adaptation by Ray Lawler.

Theatre Program - On Our Selection (play) by Bert Bailey adapted by George Whaley performed at the Athenaeum Theatre commencing 7 December 1983

Melbourne Athenaeum Archives, Melbourne

paper program:good condition

Historical information

A dramatization from the books of Steele Rudd

Newspaper Article - Telegraphic Entertainment – 1 August 1878 – lecture and telegraphic conversazione held at Melbourne Athenaeum Hall on 1 August 1878

Melbourne Athenaeum Archives, Melbourne

Theatre Flyer - Queen:its a kind of magic,starring Giles Taylor as Freddie Mercury Produced by Peter Freestone commencing at the Athenaeum Theartre on the 3rdof August 2017

Melbourne Athenaeum Archives, Melbourne

coloured flyer-Double sided

Theatre program - Sword of Honour / The Mikado (1939 films) presented by Frank Talbot in association with British Dominions Films shown at the Athenaeum Theatre on the 29th September 1939

Melbourne Athenaeum Archives, Melbourne

Paper program for a film screened at the Athenaeum Theatre September 1939; coloured cover; 16 p. includes articles about the film, the actors and advertisements

Historical information

The two films screened were produced by the British company Gaumont-British Dominions. Frank Talbot, who leased the Athenaeum Theatre, made an agreement in 1932 with the British company to show British movies exclusively at the Athenaeum Theatre, the first agreement of this kind to be made in the world. The film "The Mikado" is presented with the D'Oyley Carte Opera Company chorus.

Significance

The souvenir program has a generic cover, featuring an advertisement for "Cholerton's School of Motoring" instead of the name of the film, as found on previous programs. This may have been the result of wartime economies. The evening of entertainment, typical for the time, commenced with an overture from Cecil Parkes Strad Trio followed by Fox Movietone News and the first film, "Sword of Honour". After interval the Cecil Parkes Trio again played, a Gaumont-British newsreel was screened and then the main feature "The Mikado" was screened. In 1939, when the Athenaeum Library was open until 10 pm, Library members could change their library books during the interval, between films, Monday to Saturday.

Newspaper Article - Verbrugghen Chamber Music Concert at Melbourne Athenaeum 16-18 May 1916 - Age, Wednesday 17 May 1916

Melbourne Athenaeum Archives, Melbourne

Theatre Program - Scaramouche Jones (play) performed at Athenaeum Theatre commencing 18 June 2003 performed by Pete Postlethwaite and written by Justin Butcher

Melbourne Athenaeum Archives, Melbourne

internet printout - Vikram Seth in conversation with Robert Dessaix at Athenaeum Theatre on 8 March 2000

Melbourne Athenaeum Archives, Melbourne

promotiomal materials - World Famous by stephen K Amos commencing at the Athenaeum Theatre om the 30 April

Melbourne Athenaeum Archives, Melbourne

small coloured

Theatre Flyer - Hamlet (play) performed at Melbourne Athenaeum Theatre Two 10-28 June 2014

Melbourne Athenaeum Archives, Melbourne

Newspaper Review and Flyer - Chat - The Musical (play) by Soup Kitchen Theatre commencing 20 June 1994 at Athenaeum Theatre Two

Melbourne Athenaeum Archives, Melbourne

newspaper review and flyer

Historical information

Newspaper review was sourced from The Melbourne Times Wednesday 6/7/94

Theatre Poster - Macy Gray - The Way Australian Tour 2015 (music) performed at Athenaeum Theatre Melbourne on 7 March 2015

Melbourne Athenaeum Archives, Melbourne

coloured flyer - Crazy Lady by Rosie Waterland

Melbourne Athenaeum Archives, Melbourne

coloured flyer

Theatre Flyer - The Gay Divorcee (play) by Margaret Fischer performed at Athenaeum Theatre Two, Melbourne commencing 21 July 1994

Melbourne Athenaeum Archives, Melbourne

Coloured Flyer

Historical information

Vitalstatistix Theatre Company and Ford O' Connell Presents. Writer and performer Magaret Fischer Director Rose Clemente Designer Cath Cantalon LX design Maxine Le Guier Music Marianne Permezel & Justin Posa

Theatre program - Mourning Becomes Electra: Part Two (play) by Eugene O'Neill performed by the Melbourne Theatre Company at the Athenaeum Theatre commencing 4 February 1981

Melbourne Athenaeum Archives, Melbourne

paper program

Theatre Flyer - A Fifth of Love, a Bottle of Whisky (play) performed at Athenaeum Theatre Two performed by Arthouse Theatre Company commencing 25 January 1996

Melbourne Athenaeum Archives, Melbourne

Theatre Program - Top Silk (play) by David Williamson performed at the Athenaeum Theatre commencing 26 April 1989

Melbourne Athenaeum Archives, Melbourne

Program (2) and newspaper article

Significance

Stars Tina Bursill Geoff Morrell Alan Fletcher

Theatre program - Jugglers Three (play) by David Williamson performed by the Melbourne Theatre Company at the Russell St Theatre commencing 17 July 1972

Melbourne Athenaeum Archives, Melbourne

Paper program for a play performed at the Russell St Theatre 17 July until 5 August 1972; green cover; 20 p. includes articles about the play, the actors and advertisements

Historical information

Several programs of the Melbourne Theatre Company performing at Russell Street Theatre contained advertising for the Melbourne Athenaeum Library.

Significance

Melbourne Theatre Company leased Athenaeum Theatre from 1977 season to 1985

Inscriptions & Markings

The front cover has a message for the secretary Mr Stephens regarding future advertising for the series

Theatre Flyer - Carmen (opera) performed by Melbourne City Opera at Athenaeum Theatre commencing 10 October 2006

Melbourne Athenaeum Archives, Melbourne

Theatre program - The Last Warning (play in three acts) by Thomas S Fallon performed at the Athenaeum Theatre in 1927

Melbourne Athenaeum Archives, Melbourne

Paper program for a play performed at the Athenaeum Theatre Saturday September 24 1927; coloured cover; 16 p. includes articles about the film, the actors and advertisements

Historical information

The plot of the play is concerned with the performance of a play "The snare" at the imaginary Woodford Theatre; a separate, small paper program for this play within a play is included with the program. The play was based on the novel "House of fear" by Wadsworth Camp and was presented at the Athenaeum Theatre by E.J. Carroll

Significance

Staged by Eric Edgley (Theatrical family); advertisements show cost of living of the period - two course meal for 2 shillings and 3 pence; holiday suggestions by Government Tourist Bureau are to Mt Buffalo and Gippsland Lakes.

Theatre Program - Other Places: One for the Road / Victoria Station / A Kind of Alaska (3 plays by Harold Pinter) performed by Melbourne Theatre Company commencing 14 February 1985 at Melbourne Athenaeum 2

Melbourne Athenaeum Archives, Melbourne

Theatre Program - Agnes of God (play) by John Pielmeier, performed at the Athenaeum Theatre commencing 28 June 1984

Melbourne Athenaeum Archives, Melbourne

Theatre program coloured

Historical information

Play was produced by the Gordon/Frost Organisation by arrangement with John McCallum productions and the Australian Elizabethan Theatre Trust. Australian premier at the Athenaeum with permission of Melbourne Theatre Company.

Significance

In the 1980s John McCallum, husband of the actress and 1940's film star Googie Withers, set up his production company and brought a number of West End productions and stars to Australia. Cast includes Diane Cilento and Carole Raye.

Theatre Flyer - The John Denver Story (musical performance) performed at Athenaeum Theatre commencing 9 June 2015

Melbourne Athenaeum Archives, Melbourne

Newspaper Article - Mr. Guenett's Matinee Musicale performed at Melbourne Athenaeum Hall on 9 February 1875 as reported in Argus 10 February 1875

Melbourne Athenaeum Archives, Melbourne

Newspaper Advertisement - Nice Work If You Can Get It (music) by Michael Feinstein performed at Athenaeum Theatre commencing 4 July 1996

Melbourne Athenaeum Archives, Melbourne

Newspaper article - Wadaiko Ichiro (music) performed at Athenaeum Theatre from 26 March 1996

Melbourne Athenaeum Archives, Melbourne

Newspaper Review - Lift-Off Live (play) performed at Athenaeum Theatre commencing 28 June 1996 presented by Australian Children's Television Foundation

Melbourne Athenaeum Archives, Melbourne

Theatre program - Bell Shakespeare Company - Season brochure 1993

Melbourne Athenaeum Archives, Melbourne

Paper brochure, black and white cover, 55 pages, includes photographs of scenes from the plays and photographs of the actors.

Historical information

The Bell Shakespeare Company leased the Athenaeum Theatre for plays performed in Melbourne for its 1993 season. The company toured the productions in Sydney, Adelaide and Canberra, commencing on 26 March and ending on 24 July. All plays were directed by John Bell and he usually took the leading role. The plays were Romeo and Juliet, Richard lll, Hamlet. The music was composed by Nigel Westlake.

Significance

Performances of Shakespearean plays have been held at the Athenaeum over many years. The Bell Shakespeare Company performed several times at the Athenaeum Theatre. The company was founded in 1990.

Theatre Flyer - The Man in Black (The Johnny Cash Story) starring Adam Harvey & Catherine Britt commencing 21 November 2015 at Athenaeum Theatre Melbourne

Melbourne Athenaeum Archives, Melbourne

Theatre Program - The Maid's Tragedy (play) by Beaumont and Fletcher performed by the Melbourne Theatre Company at the Athenaeum Theatre commencing 26 October 1983

Melbourne Athenaeum Archives, Melbourne

Paper program ; good condition