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.

Our collection

Melbourne Athenaeum Archive Collection (1839)

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.

Themes: Building community life, Shaping cultural and creative life