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DISPLAYING POSTS TAGGED: immigration museum (2)

Old Customs House revisited

Author
by Kate B
Publish date
21 January 2013
Comments
Comments (4)

I loved the post on the restoration of Old Customs House – do you have any earlier images of the Old Customs House?

Stepping further back in time this post will look at images of Old Customs House from 1957-1969. Customs officers moved out of Old Customs House in 1965. The building was then used as the Melbourne offices for the Commonwealth Parliament and its local members. 

The following images sourced from the National Archives of Australia show the Old Customs House during this period.

Eastern View, Long Room 1957 Eastern View, Long Room 1957
Image: National Archives of Australia
Source: National Archives of Australia
 

The chandeliers, clock and parquetry flooring are no longer a feature of the Long Room today. The restoration of the Long Room included researching the original flooring, and sourcing and laying a near exact copy of the original tiling.

Eastern View, Long Room 1965  Old Customs House, Eastern View, Long Room 1965
Image: National Archives of Australia
Source: National Archives of Australia
 

Desks and partitions were installed to create a workspace for office staff.

Western View, Ground Floor 1969 Old Customs House, Western View, Ground Floor 1969
Image: National Archives of Australia
Source: National ARchives Australia
 

In this image the lifts are directly opposite the grand staircase on the western side of the building.  The lift today is still on the western side but moved about three meters to the left. 

  South East View, Ground Floor Foyer 1969 South East View, Ground Floor Foyer 1969
Image: National Archives of Australia
Source: National Archives Australia
 

One of the main differences here is the glass wall creating a vestibule from the street entrance. Other differences include the central desk and carpeted floor. 

  First or Second Floor Corridor, 1965 Old Customs House, First or Second Floor Corridor, 1965
Image: National Archives of Australia
Source: National Archives of Australia
 

Cupboards, shelving and seating line the walls of the corridor and linoleum covers the original marbled flooring.

  South View, Rear Courtyard Old Customs House 1969 South View, Rear Courtyard Old Customs House 1969
Image: National Archives of Australia
Source: National Archives Australia
 

The rear courtyard area now features the Immigration Museum’s Tribute Garden. There is now also a glass atrium attached to the rear entrance of the building.

The Immigration Museum opened in the Old Customs House in 1998 and houses a number of exciting exhibitions exploring the history of immigration to Victoria, contemporary issues exploring identity, international and local community exhibitions and the history of The Old Customs House.

Immigration Museum is open daily from 10am - 5pm

Got a question? Ask us!

Old Customs House

Author
by Kate B
Publish date
25 June 2012
Comments
Comments (4)

Your Question: Does the museum hold any images of the restoration of Old Customs House?

In 1998, the Immigration Museum opened in Old Customs House. Since its completion in 1876, considerable changes had been made to the building's interior. Customs officers vacated in 1965 and the building was used as Melbourne offices for the Commonwealth Parliament. Linoleum tiles had replaced original floors, office partitions disguised the original layout, plasterwork was cracked and paintwork peeling.

Customs House interior Customs House being renovated prior to housing Immmigration Museum
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Much work was required to restore the building and to adapt the facilities so it could function as a contemporary museum. Consequently, many of the twentieth century additions were removed and architectural features such as tiled floors, moulded ceilings and timber details were restored.

Customs House being renovated prior to housing Immmigration Museum Customs House being renovated prior to housing Immmigration Museum
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Customs House renovation: Immigration Museum Customs House renovation: Immigration Museum
Source: Museum Victoria
 

The images from the Museum Victoria collection demonstrate some of this restoration process as well as the development of some of the Immigration Museum's original exhibits (many of which have now changed).

Old Customs House exterior being renovated Old Customs House exterior being renovated
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Old Customs House exterior being renovated Old Customs House exterior being renovated
Source: Museum Victoria
 

To see the Old Customs House as it looked as the offices for the Commonwealth Parliament, the National Archives of Australia have a series of images of the building during those years. You can search for these images on Picture Australia or on the National Archives website.

Customs House being renovated prior to housing Immmigration Museum. Long Room with finished tesselated flooring Customs House being renovated prior to housing Immmigration Museum. Long Room with finished tesselated flooring
Source: Museum Victoria
 

Customs House being renovated prior to housing Immmigration Museum. Construction of The Boat in the Long Room Customs House being renovated prior to housing Immmigration Museum. Construction of The Boat in the Long Room
Source: Museum Victoria
  

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Old Customs House

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