Johnston Collection

The Johnston collection

Thirteen Sunbury U3A members spent a fantastic afternoon in December visiting the Johnston Collection, a museum of fine and decorative art in East Melbourne, incorporating the house museum, Fairhall. 

The collection was bequeathed by William Robert Johnston, a prominent 20th century antiques dealer and collector of furniture, porcelain and paintings, to the people of Victoria in 1986 and is administered as an independent not-for-profit organisation by the W R Johnston Trust. Today, the Collection incorporates over 1500 objects, and plays host to regular rearrangements and exhibitions. It is open to the public every weekday, with three tours per day conducted by volunteer guides. 

The focus of our tour was the Christmas collection, A Boy’s Own Story, an exhibition of works by seventeen men who are Melbourne and state-based artists or collectives. The brief was to create new works based on old objects, with each artist selecting a room of the museum as inspiration for their designs. The artwork displayed included crafts such as knitting and sewing design to lace work, crochet, quilting, sculpture and painting. It was a fascinating exhibition and well worth the visit. Go to to explore what’s on offer.