The Customs House building is one of Melbourne's most important 19th century public buildings.
In this building customs officers recorded all goods entering or leaving Victoria; the customs duties they collected formed the backbone of government revenue. Customs officers also controlled immigration, recording every arrival, and administering a White Australia Policy that excluded immigrants on the basis of their race. Customs officers were also in charge of censorship, determining what material might offend mainstream social values.
The history of the Customs House and the activities of the people who worked here is thus the history of Victoria's trade, immigration, social attitudes and government.
Beautifully restored in 1998, the Old Customs House is now the home of the Immigration Museum.