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The Johnston Collection

City of Melbourne | C15

The Johnston Collection’s Fairhall exhibition-house, is a double-fronted two-storey townhouse in classical style, which was built in 1860 for James Cumming, dental surgeon. It was originally single fronted with four rooms, and was extended sideways to its current double-fronted arrangement in 1870. In 1883 Cummings sold the house to George Hamilton Dougharty, landowner and stock and station agent, who named it Cadzow (from the Celtic, ‘cadihou’, meaning ‘beautiful castle’) after the town in Scotland where the Dougharty family house, Fairhall, was situated. The Dougharty family remained in the house until 1952, when it was sold to William Robert Johnston, an antique dealer and collector. He changed the name of the house to the more euphonious Fairhall and made many alterations both inside and out. At first Johnston let the house as flats, but later lived there himself until his death in 1986. Johnston bequeathed the building and his astonishing collection of fine and decorative arts from the Georgian, Regency and Louis XV periods, to the people of Victoria. Today, Fairhall displays works from Johnston’s collection and is rearranged for three themed tours annually. The Johnston Collection also incorporates a lecture space, retail shop and reference library.

Need to Know

  • Open: Thursday 1 January 10am-2pm - Booking required for this building

  • Heritage Listed: Yes

    Photography Restricted: Yes

  • What's Open: All parts of the building

  • Special Note: Comfortable shoes, staircase involved.

  • Tour Type: C15

  • Tour Details: First release Friday 13 July 8:30 am until booked out, second release Friday 20 July 8:30 am until booked out, small booking fee applies. Tours at 10.00am, 11.20am, 12.40pm, running for 60minutes, in groups of 22

  • Access: Limited mobility

  • Building Type: Cultural

  • Facilities: Toilets

  • Special Programming: Visitors will be taken on a guided tour of Fairhall exhibition-house

  • Year Built: 1860

  • Transport: Tram stop 11: Powlett St on routes 48, 75


Meet at Pullman on the Park Hotel, 192 Wellington Parade, East Melbourne, VIC


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