Yarra Ranges Regional Museum

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By: Athene Thompson and Trevor Slabak

The Yarra Ranges Regional Museum is a newly renovated museum and exhibition space located in Lilydale. It aims to present aspects of historic and modern life in the Yarra Ranges area. The museum is a combination of the historic 1889 Lilydale Shire Offices and a new modern architectural extension.

It was opened on the 14th of May 2011 and provides an important information resource for the wider Yarra Ranges community. The main focus of the museum is to present the cultural heritage of the Yarra Ranges region. It is a central point for more than seventeen historical societies and heritage groups across the Shire.

The Yarra Ranges Regional Museum brings art, culture and history to the people of the Shire of Yarra Ranges which includes Lilydale, Warburton, Upper Yarra, Mt Dandenong, Belgrave, Chirnside Park, Yarra Glen, Healesville and Sherbrooke, just to name a few.

The facility has many exhibitions, school programs, professional staff and major collections of more than 7,000 items, including the Dame Nellie Melba collection which provides an invaluable community resource.

Megan Sheehy, the Curator of Public Programs, whose role is to look after exhibitions, programming and community engagements, has a wealth of knowledge and information about the Museum and its many forthcoming events.

One of these events is the Pop up Museum that will raise awareness of what the museum provides to residents of the shires, which will demonstrate the relevance of having such a museum in their area.

As part of this event Yarra Ranges residents from all shires will be interviewed, focusing on main streets and street scapes, and the many unique communities that live there.


It will incorporate change over time and what this means to the community as they reflect on their streets, shops and businesses, and community memories. All of these interviews will form the basis of the exhibition and is run by the Yarra Ranges Council.

The Yarra Ranges Regional Museum is unique to the area as there aren’t many regional museums that meet international standards that can incorporate material from other cultural institutions.

There is solid support from the Council for this long term sustainable institution. The local government fully supports heritage with a network to maintain the best practice, therefore this museum is the leader in cultural heritage in Eastern Regional Melbourne. The temporary and touring gallery brings in exhibitions from many other regions to add to its rich cultural flavour, “The museum sees it as a social prerogative to share the history of the region and different cultural influences from other places, therefore regional focus is the aim of the year,” Megan says.

The museum is situated next to the Athenaeum Theatre, Melba Park, and is close to Lilydale train station and Lilydale Lake.

The Council sees the need to incorporate cultural references, family values, local history and regional history in one modern, exciting, interesting building – The Yarra Ranges Regional Museum is a must for locals and visitors to the area.

Exhibitions coming up at The Yarra Ranges Regional Museum include: Living in a Sensory World, 23 February – 14 April 2013, Experience a world without sight through interactive displays and feature objects, including Sonic guide glasses, a braille Playboy from 1974 and a bionic eye prototype. The Photography of Andrew Follows, 23 February – 14 April 2013, Andrew Follows is an inspiring photographer with an eye condition called Retinitis Pigmentosa. Rolling Stone: The Covers 1972-2010, 20 April-7July 2013, Come and see 150 legendary covers featuring the rock stars, pop divas and politicians.

Located at 35-37 Castella St, next to Melba Park in Lilydale, the Museum is less than an hour from Melbourne CBD by car or train. Hours are: Tuesday to Friday 10am-5pm, Saturday and Sunday 11am-4pm, closed on Monday’s. Free admission. For enquires call: 9294 6313 or email: museum@yarraranges.vic.gov.au

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