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The Johnston Collection, Melbourne

4.6
#8 of 17 in Historic Sites in Melbourne
Art Museum Historic Site
The Johnston Collection is a museum of fine and decorative art in East Melbourne, Victoria. The museum complex incorporates the house museum, Fairhall, as well as a gallery and reference library. The WR Johnston Trust was founded in 1986 as the result of a bequest by the late William Robert Johnston, a prominent 20th century antiques dealer and collector of Georgian, Regency and Louis XV furniture, 18th and 19th century porcelain, and paintings ranging from the 16th–19th centuries.The Collection, which first opened in 1990, as part of the Spoleto Festival (now the Melbourne International Arts Festival), operates as an independent not-for-profit museum. Today, the Collection incorporates over 1200 objects, and plays host to regular rearrangements and exhibitions. It is open to the public every weekday, with three tours per day conducted by volunteer guides.Because the Collection is situated in a residential area, the address is not available to the public, and visitors are transported by courtesy bus from a nearby collection point, the location of which is advised at the time of booking.William JohnstonBorn in Lilydale, Victoria in 1911, William Robert Johnston was the son of a boot maker and a scullery maid. Around the age of eight, he was given a Minton cup by his grandmother. This became the first piece of his collection and provided the inspiration for a career in antiques that would take Johnston around the world. At 14, he left school to work as a window dresser in Buckley and Nunn (now David Jones), where he continued to develop his interest in decoration and arrangement. After World War II, Johnston travelled to Britain where many owners of English country houses, suffering financial hardship after the war, were willing to discreetly sell their antiques.
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  • Well worth a visit to see this lovely old house and museum art pieces and furniture. Great location and lovely to have a walk around afterwards. Guide was very knowledgeable.  more »
  • Have lived in Melbourne for 30 Years and this is my first visit to The Johnston Collection. Overwhelmed by the collection and its setting. Truly beautiful could have happily stayed longer.  more »
  • I was surprised the tour was on with only me! Delightful lady picked me up at the Pullman Hotel. Was then offered tea/coffee & bickies before being taken by a lovely, knowledgeable lady on a personal ...  more »