The Domestic and Communtiy Life collection takes in a large sweep of the material culture of everyday life. It comprises several thousand objects, several thousand images, hundreds of documents, and a small number of sound recordings and intangible representations related to the lives and identities that Victorians have created for themselves at home and in their wider communities since European settlement.

The collection is underpinned by five interrelated themes: the home, domestic life, domestic ideology, community life and identity, with a focus on significant periods of domestic life dating from European settlement in Victoria to the present.

It is most significant in relation to domestic life in early to mid-20th-century Victoria, in particular regarding the technologies and tools used in food preparation, cooking, storage and preservation, cleaning and laundry.

Significant items

  • A cot used by Richmond Henty in 1837.
  • A Wolter and Echberg washing machine, designed and manufactured in Melbourne around the 1880s.
  • An extensive collection of early to mid 20th century domestic appliances, including vacuum cleaners, refrigerators, washing machines and stoves.
  • 32 architectural models of domestic buildings in Melbourne, 1839-1989.
  • Images documenting domestic and community life, particularly the Biggest Family Album collections.
  • The Graeme Fullarton Collection which records the experience of building a new home in East Keilor in the late 1950s and early 1960s.
  • The Aldred Photograph Collection.
  • The State Electricity Photograph Collection.
  • The Laurie Richards Photograph Collection.

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