This past weekend I went to the Old Treasury Building on Spring Street, Melbourne, and took a gander at the free exhibition: Wild Colonial Boys: Bushrangers in Victoria.

The Old Treasury Building, Melbourne

The exhibition is admittedly small when compared to, say, NED the exhibition from 2002, however it is apparent that a lot of thought went into assembling the exhibits in the context of the already quite packed Treasury Building. Most items are on loan from the Public Records Office and State Library of Victoria who have some very interesting items in their catalogues. The small size benefits the narrow scope of the exhibition that focuses mainly on Victorian bushrangers with, naturally, an emphasis on Ned Kelly. The information supplied is very interesting and if you stop to properly examine the items on display they offer up all sorts of things.

Dan Morgan’s death mask

Items on display include Dan Kelly’s armour, Dan Morgan’s death mask, a Cobb & Co. bullion box and the prison record of Jack Doolan. One of my favourite items was a log book that details the costs for building the gallows in Melbourne as it gives a rather unique insight into the way things were run back in the day. I also enjoyed the display detailing the events depicted in Bushrangers on the St. Kilda Road by William Strutt. Naturally most visitors go straight to the Ned Kelly stuff where you can drop a coin into a tube and cast your vote on whether you agree with the death penalty or where your opinion sits on the spectrum. Dan Kelly’s armour is kept in a rather awkwardly placed, super reflective glass case. This has the annoying qualities of being both inconvenient when more than one person is in that part of the exhibition and making it difficult to see the armour inside the case due to the reflections of the white walls on the glass. Despite the minor bother presented by this I definitely recommend checking it out.

Dan Kelly’s armour

While you are at the Old Treasury Building be sure to check out the other exhibitions on Aboriginal history in Victoria, the development of Melbourne as a city and the displays downstairs in the old vaults. It provides many informative and fascinating perspectives on various aspects of Victoria’s history.

Jack Doolan’s prison record

The Old Treasury Building is at 20 Spring Street, Melbourne, and is open from 10am until 4.00pm, Sunday to Friday. Entrance is free however gold coin donations are a great way to give a little something back to help keep things going.

Wild Colonial Boys: Bushrangers in Victoria is on display at the Old Treasury Building until August 13, 2017.

Find out more:

Leave a Reply