Christmas at the Old Treasury

Remember a time when decorating for Christmas was about what you could make, not what you could buy?
A new display at the Old Treasury Building recaptures the joy of creation, with decorations hand made to patterns from the 1920s.

From 1916-28 the Old Treasury Building was home to the Maynard family – John, Emma and their eight children, who lived in a five-roomed flat in the basement. John’s salary as building caretaker was modest and it was a large family. There was not much money to spare. This was true of most people at the time, despite popular images of the ‘Roaring Twenties’.

But Christmas could still be fun without spending lots of money. Newspapers at the time were full of ideas for making cheap but pretty decorations at home out of simple coloured papers, card and glue. Artificial snow and frost was very popular, made out of cotton wool, or glue sprinkled with Epsom salts. Coloured candles were a novelty.

A stunning variety of clever decorations has been made this year by volunteers at the Old Treasury Building to decorate the Maynard’s flat in appropriate style. From simple chains, to intricate pointed stars, they point to the ingenuity of people in the past making do with what came to hand. This is an original display that contrasts with the opulent decorations in the rest of the building and is well worth a look this Christmas. It reminds us of a time when everyone in the family had a hand in making and hanging Christmas decorations.

Christmas at the Old Treasury’ is on display from 15 November 2016 until 5 January, 2017 at the Old Treasury Building, 20 Spring Street, Melbourne.

Paintings of Early Melbourne

This display showcases rare and little known paintings of Melbourne from the 1840s to the 1870s. Drawn from the private collection of the Roy Morgan Research Centre Collection, these paintings, watercolours and lithographs show a Melbourne before high-rise buildings, a swamp city through to the wealth of the gold rush.

They provide an insider’s glimpse of the early beginnings of colonial Melbourne and offers an insight into the life of Melbournians.

Included in this exciting tour is the historic Executive Council Chamber, the office of the Governor of Victoria, since 1862.

Tour Dates: 
Friday 18 November at 11am
Monday 5 December ay 11am
or by appointment.

Bookings essential
Cost: $8 Adults
Bookings: 9651 2233 or