Sustainable Futures

The Sustainable Futures Collection documents the history of rural Victoria from the 1860s to the present. It comprises over 86,000 historical and contemporary items relating to sustainability, agriculture and rural life, economic botany, animal husbandry, and textile and food technology.

Developed in partnership with communities, key stakeholders, academics, government and non-government organisations and industry groups, the collection includes: large agricultural machinery and equipment, models of fruit and agricultural equipment, photographs and moving footage, symbolic icons, audio and video interviews, plant specimens, seeds and grains, business and personal archives, trade publications, artworks and textiles. While Victorian in focus there are also items from across Australia and around the world.

While it is predominantly rural in focus, the themes relating to environmental change, place, cultural and biodiversity, identity, community activism, land and water use, food, and primary and secondary production have a close connection to the lifestyles and issues facing urban communities and their futures.


The Sustainable Futures Collection is one of the most significant in Australia. It contains several key sub-collections which are significant both for their content and/or their collecting methodologies: the Agriculture and Rural Life collection, the Economic Botany collection, the HV McKay collection, the Victorian Women on Farms Gathering collection and the Victorian Bushfires collection.

These collections: provide a comprehensive document of over 150 years of primary production; document the social, industrial, manufacturing, technological and economic impact of an important Australian agricultural manifesting company; reveal the incredible story of the emergence of women farmers 'from the hidden heart of rural Australia' into leadership roles in their rural communities and the broader agri-political arena; set new benchmarks in the museum industry for the documentation of contemporary disasters; and illustrate the value of community partnerships in developing museum collections.