Melbourne's Biggest Family Album Collection




Melbourne's Biggest Family Album Collection consists of copies of over 1100 photographs taken by past and present Melbourne residents depicting scenes of what they consider to be an accurate portrayal of life in Melbourne. The images range from the mid 19th century and through to 1980, and were collected by Museum Victoria in 2006-2007.

Melbourne's Biggest Family Album was modelled on the successful Biggest Family Album in Australia (BFA) project, undertaken by Museum Victoria in the 1980s. The Melbourne project, undertaken in 2006-2007, aimed to enrich Museum Victoria's collections by sourcing and capturing images of Melbourne held in family collections. The project collected copies of over 1,000 images ranging from the mid 19th century and through to 1980, and was restricted to images within the boundaries of 'Greater Melbourne' as defined by Melways in 2006. The project surveyed regions which were not sampled in the original BFA project, such as specific Melbourne suburbs, and increased the range of content themes used to select images for coping. Like the original BFA project, Melbourne's BFA was conducted to increase the representation of images of everyday life, taken by ordinary people, in Victoria's State Collection. The images collected as part of the project have opened up many new perspectives on Melbourne's history, and provide evocative, personal insights into life in Melbourne from the late 19th century to the early 21st century. More than just records of individual family life, these photographs are a wonderful resource for exploring the history of communities, places and events. Featuring approximately 170 Melbourne suburbs, the photographs depict people of all ages, from a range of cultures. Melbournians are captured at home, on the streets, working, celebrating, travelling, playing and mourning. These photographs also show some of our city's hidden histories - people travelling on public transport, hanging out their washing, browsing inside shops, sleeping in their bedrooms, and washing in the bathroom. Over 120 contributors responded enthusiastically to the invitation to share their photographs, with most bringing several generations of family photographs with them. Contributors also often came along with a family member who could help with accurately documenting the photographs. They brought with them not just photographs, but stories, emotions and a passion about their place in history.

Please direct access requests via Museum Victoria's Discovery Centre


1890-2006; Backyards; Beaches; Building & Construction; Building Sites; Celebrations; Children; Children's Play; Coastal Landscapes; Domestic life; Front Yards; Games; Gardens; Horsedrawn Vehicles; Hotels; Houses; Leisure; Motor cars; Motor Vehicles; Natural Environments; Olympic Games: Melbourne, 1956; Photography; Portraits; Public Gardens; Public Transport; Rail transport; Recreation; Retail Displays; Retail Trade; Road transport; Rural Landscapes; Shops; Social Life; Sports; Streetscapes; Swimming; Travel & Tourism; Urban Landscapes; Working life; World War I, 1914-1918; World War II, 1939-1945

Coverage Spatial

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

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