Culture Victoria

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Chinese Museum

22 Cohen Place MELBOURNE Phone: (03) 9662 2888 Visit Website

A living part of Melbourne's modern Chinatown, the Chinese Museum was brought into being in 1985 to document, preserve and display the history of Australians of Chinese descent. An exciting range of changing exhibitions, heritage tours and public seminars are some of the ways by which the Museum shares the past, culture, and values of Australia's Chinese community.

Bronze urns dug from the Victorian goldfields, carpenters' tools from industrious furniture makers, and images of the debutante balls of the 1930's Young Chinese League, evoke some of the richness of the Chinese contribution to Australia's history. The Museum is also home to Dai Loong and the Millennium Dragon, the largest Chinese dragon in the world.

Our Collection

The Museum holds a repository of over 5,000 catalogued artefacts relating to the experiences and cultural life of Chinese and their descendants in Australia. The collection also incorporates objects relating to the experience of Australians of all kinds of ancestry in China. Paper-based and ephemeral material in the collection includes letters, newspaper clippings, manuscripts, certificates, title deeds, business records, photographs, images and other documents. Objects in the collection include clothing, textiles, costumes, furniture, artwork, religious and ceremonial objects, tools and household goods. Within the collection are over fifty oral history recordings with Chinese and their descendants in Australia and other Australians' experience of Chinese in both Australia and China. The collection also includes historic gramophone records and film footage depicting China, Asia and Australia.

As a national museum, the Chinese Museum is the significant repository of artefacts, which mainly comprise textiles, objects, documents and images, related to the history of Chinese in Australia and their descendants. The collection consists of items of local, state and national significance, which document the social and cultural history of these Australians. Utilising this collection, the Museum undertakes research programs, exhibitions, tours and educational programs about Australia's Chinese history and heritage. The Museum is valued by the people it portrays. It encourages identity and self-esteem and firmly places contemporary Chinese and their descendants in Australia within the documented history of our society.

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