The Johnston Collection
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The Johnston Collection
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Exhibition-house Tours & Special Events

The Johnston Collection is administered as an independent not-for-profit museum by The W R Johnston Trust.

PLEASE NOTE:    A $3.50 booking fee applies for online bookings. This covers banking costs and fees charged to us by our ticketing provider for online sales.  An $8.00 booking and administration fee applies for telephone bookings.  Thank you for your understanding.


Click on the blue arrow to the right of the screen to scroll through the calendar. 

Exhibition-house Tours descriptions appear below the calendar.



Wednesday 1 August 2018 6.30 pm - 9.00 pm 


This is a unique opportunity to visit one of Melbourne’s most secretive and interesting clubs. Guests will have the opportunity to view the astonishing collection of art, artefacts and ephemera that has been amassed over the last 120 years by members of the Club. Short curatorial tours will be available during the evening. Drinks and delicious canapes will be served amidst the fascinating objects and roaring open fires.
Tickets : $150 per person
(includes a $100 tax deductible gift donation)


Monday 4 June 2018 - Tuesday 18 September 2018

PATTERNS OF COLLECTING | From the Bower at The Johnston Collection is a touring exhibition presenting the artwork and items from the unique personal collections of four contemporary Victorian artists, Loris Button, Deborah Klein, Louise Saxton and Carole Wilson.

The artists are linked by their studio practice, their regional locations and connections and their love of gleaning. Their studio collections range from curiosities, natural history specimens, memorabilia, discarded books and china, fabric, carpet and lino, and old tools of trade.

The definition of a bower includes the idea of an enclosed space; a 'sanctuary' and a space in the natural world, in which objects are gathered.  It has a connection to the garden - to plants, birds and insects and Australia is home to at least seven different types of bowerbirds.

In medieval times the bower referred to a woman's private space.  Aspects of these meanings can be found, to greater or lesser extents, in the works of this particular group of artists, gathered together in this joint exhibition into one large ‘bower’ creating a space in which the private becomes public.

A selection of each artist’s studio collection is installed alongside and responds to William Johnston’s astonishing collection to make this exhibition one not to be missed.

image: Deborah Klein Hair Ornaments, ©artist


Join PATTERNS OF COLLECTING guest artists for a Walk and Talk through Fairhall exhibition house as they discuss their work and the inspiration and processes behind this exhibition. 

Tuesday 19 June 2018 | 10:00 am - 11.30 am
Wednesday 11 July 2018 | 10.00 am – 11.30 am
Thursday 9 August 2018 | 6.00 [pm – 7.30 pm
Saturday 11 August 2018 | 10.00 am – 11.30 am
Thursday 13 September 2018 | 10.00 am – 11.30 am


Our intimate and personalised Menu Tours offer further ways to visit and enjoy The Johnston Collection. Choose one of these specialised guided exhibitionhouse tours and discover even more intriguing insights that are sure to nourish the mind.

By 'unlocking' the doors, lids and covers of objects, this specially developed tour offers visitors the opportunity to see hidden aspects and interior details of items in Fairhall.

Monday 25 June 2018 | 12 noon
Thursday 19 July 2018 | 12 noon
Thursday 16 August 2018 | 12 noon
Monday 10 September 2018 | 12 noon 

Let the flowers bloom! Be beguiled by the beauty of botany and the language of flowers on this exhibition-house tour. Fairhall is full of flowers and foliage, floral and plant motifs used as embellishment and patterns on objects to bring the outside in all year round.

Wednesday  20 June 2018 | 12 noon
Tuesday 3 July 2018 | 12 noon

Tuesday August 7 2018 | 12 noon
Thursday 6 September 2018 | 12 noon

DATES and times don’t suit? Call us and we can organise another suitable time for a group of four or more.

[image] detail | Swansea Pottery, vase, Wales, circa 1815-1820, porcelain, polychrome enamel decoration | 335 x 145 x 90 mm, A0643 1989,  Foundation Collection, image by Ben Cordia photography


Monday 1 October 2018 – Tuesday 5 February 2019

Our wonderful Christmas at The Johnston Collection exhibition will feature new works by Melbourne-based makers and artists.

Each year a different region in Victoria has become the focus to create new works for this project, based on aspects or items in The Johnston Collection or relating to the life of William Robert Johnston (1911-1986).

This year The Johnston Collection has commissioned Melbourne-based artists and collectives to create and contribute to our annual exhibition-house tour.

The Johnston Collection encourages challenges to traditional making, thinking and practice through contemporary responses to the Collection, along with more traditional responses that reflect historical techniques, materials and making. This exhibition offers an ‘inspired’ interpretation of the Collection and brings together the work of Melbourne’s best contemporary makers in one magnificent show. 

Visitor Information

Weekday Tour Times:

10:00 | 12:00 | 2.00

After Hours Tours:

Second Saturday at 10:00 and 12:00
Third Thursday at 18:00

Christmas at The Johnston Collection Tour Cost  (2 October 2017– 31 January 2018)

Adult $27.00 | Concession $25.00 | Group Rate $23.00 per person group of 8 or more (max 22) After Hours $35.00

Weekday Tour Cost (February 2017 - September 2017):

Adult $25.00 | Concession $23.00 | Group Rate $21.00 per person group of 8 or more (max 22) |After Hours $32.00

Individual and group bookings available. Please note when booking a group online, enter the number of people in the Adult field and the Group Rate will be automatically calculated.

Confirmed bookings are essential.


A $3.50 booking fees applies for online bookings.  This covers banking costs and fees charged to us by our ticketing provider for online sales.  An $8.00 booking and administration fee applies for telephone bookings.   Thank you for your understanding.

Online and telephone booking fees do not apply to current members of The Friends of The Johnston Collection.

Telephone bookings 03 9416 2515


Organisation and Club Bookings Policy

Telephone us on 03 9416 2515 for more information or download a copy of our policy here:

Organisation_and_Club_Bookings.pdf Organisation_and_Club_Bookings.pdf (60kB)

Visiting The Johnston Collection

The Johnston Collection is the legacy of William Johnston, an antique dealer and collector. He left his estate to the people of Victoria for their education and enjoyment. The collection ranges from the 17th to the 19th century and has great strengths in Georgian, Regency and Louis XV furniture, Empire and decorative arts.

To protect the privacy and parking rights of Mr Johnston's residential neighbours, we are not permitted by our planning permit to publish the address of the museum.

On the day of the appointed visit, visitors will be collected from the foyer of the Pullman Melbourne on the Park hotel (formerly the Hilton on the Park Hotel) at 192 Wellington Parade, near the Fitzroy Gardens. Visitors are brought to the Johnston Collection in a courtesy bus operated by our staff. This arrangement is due to planning permit stipulations and adds a little intrigue to your visit that we know you will enjoy.

All tickets are prepaid and tea/coffee and shortbread are served to guests on arrival. From the time of collection to the time of return to the Pullman Melbourne on the Park hotel your tour will take approximately one and a half hours.

We allow a maximum of 22 people on guided tours.

Disabled Access

Wheelchair access to Fairhall is limited. There are 3 steps to the entrance and 19 steps which must be ascended in order to reach the first floor. Disabled car parking is not available. Please make us aware of the special needs of any member of your group in advance of your arrival so that we can offer every assistance.

Please ring 03 9416 2515 for more information.