Immigration and Hellenic Antiquities Museum
400 Flinders St., Immigration and Hellenic Antiquities Museum (open 10am 5pm
daily, Adult $7.50, Concession $5.50, Child $3.50, Family $20, 9927 2700). The
museum takes up nearly all the block bounded by William and Market Sts.
Two disabled persons car parks are provided on Market St but the slope up towards
Flinders Lane is awkward. Wheelchair access is provided from two gates off
Market St. One, by the car parks leads through iron gates to a path to the main
entry. Some care should be exercised at the top of the ramp as you will be close to
the top of the main steps. A short grade (10%) leads through automatic opening
doors into a large foyer. Iron gates just up Market St from the car parks lead to a
ramp of several stages down to the rear courtyard. A toilet block is located off the
ramp and includes an accessible unisex toilet (awkward threshold ramp).
The museum occupies the renovated Old Customs House building, probably one
of the most important buildings in Victoria's history. Building commenced in 1855
but was stopped due to lack of funds. It was redesigned and completed in 1876 in
Italian Renaissance style. Of particular interest is the huge white walled and
MUSEUMS & GALLERIES
ceramic tiled Long Room with its large columns. The Long Room was the focus of
revenue collection for the Government, duties accounted for approx 80% of state
revenues until 1915.
Entry to the museum is from the courtyard. Access to the ground floor is free of
charge. On this level is a shop, theatrette, education centre and the Sarah and
Baillieu Myer Immigration Discovery Centre, a library where research on family
histories can be undertaken. A Tribute Garden is located up a ramp (7.2%) off the
rear courtyard where the family names of immigrant families form a water
sculpture symbolising their journey over water.
Today the renovated Long Room houses The Boat, a large clever display reflecting
the experience of sea travel to Australia. Two short grades (12.5% and 14%) lead
into and out of the ship where visitors are exposed to conditions prevailing at the
time. Other displays are available in adjacent rooms, including a touch screen
computer revealing the stories of immigrants. An accessible unisex toilet is located
on the ground floor.
The museum covers all of the first floor with the Hellenic Antiquities Museum on
the second floor a unique agreement exists between Greek and Victorian
Governments allowing ancient treasures from Greece to regularly travel to Australia.