602 Little Bourke Street is a remnant of a largely forgotten era, when electricity was produced in the city, for the city. Presenting a rather grim, featureless 1950s façade, it was built as a stores facility for the (now demolished) adjoining electricity sub-station. It now houses the City of Melbourne’s Art and Heritage Collection—13,000 artworks and artefacts relating directly to this city.
By any standard the collection is eclectic. Some elements are already on permanent display. Lord Mayoral portraits, for example, take pride of place in the Melbourne Town Hall and in the city’s streets and parks, public artworks such as Public Purse and Vault are on permanent display. This building is where the balance of the collection is stored. The collection includes civic, ceremonial and commemorative objects, sister city gifts, architectural drawings, street art and streetscape images, a parking officer collection and contemporary art. From a wooden banana gifted by the Mayor of Coffs Harbour, to a pair of street ‘man-hole’ covers which once accessed the hydraulic system that powered the city’s elevators, to the gowns and crowns worn by Moomba kings and queens, to maquettes of some of Melbourne’s best known public art works, you will be given a rare insight into this fascinating city collection.
A vestige of Melbourne’s urban industrial past
Visitors can navigate the collection store and click on individual objects to learn more.
Time & Date
Take yourself on a virtual tour of this eclectic collection, scroll below.
602 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne 3000