The Johnston Collection
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The Johnston Collection
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Exhibition-house Tours

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.


WILLIAM JOHNSTON: His Residence & Collection exhibition-house series

Monday 12 February 2018 – Tuesday 22 May 2018

ANOTHER LOOK | WILLIAM JOHNSTON: His Residence & Collection will for the first time, present the sumptuous Green Drawing Room as a grand Indian-inspired Durbar room.

After exhausting his sources in England, antique dealer William Johnston turned his sights and travels to India, and especially Calcutta, which became his favourite place to replenish his shop stock.

Of the many significant items Johnston acquired, the Durbar room will include the splendid ‘salon suite’ purchased from the sale of vice-regal furniture from Government House, Calcutta (now known as Raj Bhavan, Kolkata).

A concept to create a sumptuous Indian-inspired ‘Durbar Room’ was proposed when the museum first opened in 1990. This room, which became known as TheGreen Drawing Room, is a stunning formal reception space in which to display a gentleman’s collection.

ANOTHER LOOK will also re-present the original arrangement of William Johnston’s collection in Fairhall. This tour will continue exploring one of the themes underpinning The Johnston Collection, that ‘Old is New’.


Contemporary Indian food meets Colonial Indian grandeur

Monday 19 March 2018:  7.00pm to 9.30 pm - SOLD OUT
Tuesday 20 March 2018:  7.00 pm to 9.30 pm - SOLD OUT

Harry Mangat of Biji Dining takes inspiration from his roots to create a contemporary Indian banquet that celebrates the rich and unique culture of the sub-continent. Guests will enjoy delicious bites as they tour the elegant rooms of The Johnston Collection - culminating in an Indian inspired Grand Drawing Room for a four course dinner. Harry will present his dishes and share how he incorporates the concept of Samaj, Hindi for community, in his cooking, foraging, and locally sourced produce. Aidan Raftery of Persillade will excite with thought provoking beverage matches.

Bookings can be made through the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival webpage


PATTERNS OF COLLECTING | From the Bower at The Johnston Collection

Monday 4 June 2018 - Tuesday 18 September 2018

An installation led by guest curator and artist, Carole Wilson
as part of our ongoing ‘house of ideas’ series


PATTERNS OF COLLECTING presents artwork and items from the personal collections of four contemporary Victorian artists: Loris Button, Deborah Klein, Louise Saxton and Carole Wilson.

The artists, who make the Bower, 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, domestic textiles, carpet and linoleum, and old tools of trade.

image: Louise Saxton (Australia, born 1958, Walcha, NSW - ), Appliqué Buddha from ‘dot-net-dot-au’ series (2007-08), reclaimed needlework, private collection, Melbourne image courtesy of the artist | used with permission. Louise Saxton is represented by Gould Galleries, Melbourne

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 26 February 2018 | 12 noon
Thursday 29 March 2018 | 12 noon
Monday 16 April 2018 | 12 noon
Thursday 10 May 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.

Tuesday  24 April 2018 | 12 noon
Thursday 3 May 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.