Documenting and preserving the stories and the images of the people and places of Melbourne's West since 1984



Visitor Centre
Pipemakers Park, Van Ness Avenue,
Maribyrnong. Melway Map 28 B10

contact and opening hours




news / what's on

what's on this winter

June 2016

Forthcoming Events & Exhibitions

The Living Museum contemporary art exhibition program is currently postponed as the Bluestone Building is currently closed (from January 2016) due to structural repairs by City of Maribyrnong.

At the Visitor Centre

Open Monday - Friday, 10 to 2 pm for self-guided tour of Visitor Centre.

Admission: Free

Research enquiries, bookshop open, talks and other information available on Tuesday's 11-3 pm
by appointment.

School excursions are also possible on Tuesday's.

Please call 0419 154 265 for further details.


Currently in the Visitor Centre are a selection of displays and extracts from our exhibitions including:

Australia's Arsenal
An exhibition of images, stories, artefacts and photographs from the industrial munitions complex in the western suburbs of Melbourne that supported Australia's military. The largest such complex in the country once included the Explosives Factory Maribyrnong (EFM), Ammunition Factory Footscray and the Ordinance Factory Maribyrnong.

A 10 metre panoramic display about the Animals of the Maribyrnong River Estuary. The Estuary being the part of the river that flows to and from the sea.
Exhibition weblink.

Billie Tea Tales
An interactive animated story screen.

Still Here

A brief history of the Aboriginal People in Melbourne's west. Tells the story of the Aboriginal people in Melbourne's West from pre- eurpoean invasion to today.
Note: This exhibition can be viewed by request.

The History of Pipemakers Park
A display about the history of the site from sheep, tinned meats, to Humes Pipes and a park for the people.

Archaeology displays
Alpha Archaeology displays about current local digs and projects.


SCREENING in the Visitor Centre on Tuesday's 11- 3 pm, by appointment:

Puddlehush: Our Stony Creek
- a short film about Stony Creek one of Australia's most challenged little waterways which runs through the back streets of Sunshine and Yarraville and on to a mangrove backwash under the Westgate Bridge.

The Living Museum's exhibitions are available to be borrowed by schools and groups.

Check out the Museum's Youtube channel newly uploaded archival footage.



Research on Tuesday's

Search the Museum's database - With nearly 5000 items on record including more than 1000 maps, 1700 books, 725 audio recordings, 100 films and more than 600 photographs. The Living Museum has been collecting the stories of the people living and working in Melbourne's west since 1984.

Peruse the Museum's bookshop and library - since 1984 the Living Museum has produced and collected publications and reports about the western region of Melbourne.


In Pipemakers Park

Friend's of Pipemakers Park
The Tuesday's gardening team. Come and learn about the park and the native plant species. Lend a hand, pull up some weeds, meet in the History of the Land Gardens every Tuesday and the first Sunday of each month.

Winter in Pipemakers Park

June - August 2016

Woodlands: golden wattle in flower, first flowering of chocolate lilies, tree violet flowering. Casemoth caterpillars cutting sticks; earthworms crawl across paths after rain; snails active. Newly-flowering eucalypts attract many honey-eaters; noisy minerscall loudly at dawn

Wetlands: frog chorus on still nights, blooms of daphnia water fleas

The Pioneer Womens Shelter
This small shelter on the banks of the Maribyrnong commemorates six women who started the first hotels, schools and punts across the river last century.

The History of the Land Gardens
This imaginative and much-loved garden, funded and developed through Melbourne’s Living Museum of the West, in consultation with Parks Victoria, will continue to be a valuable resource in telling the story of the river valley and the region and an important component of the total park interpretation program.

The Cycle Saloon
Sponsored and auspiced by the Living Museum...
Learn how to fix your bike, enthusiast and bike mechanic Glen Mason has the tools and expertise on hand, next to the bike path.
Check out Glen's wordpress site for details and updates.



Lighting up the bluestone wall, in preparation for the eleventh annual winter solstice lantern walk.




The Living Museum has recently begun to construct this new section of our digital library as an ecomuseum studies resource.

We have begun by publishing an article and books about the history of the Living Museum that describe the development of the first ecomuseum in Australia. We will add to this section as we receive permissions to publish further articles.

ecomuseum studies

Two publications are now avaiable for free download in pdf:

Your History Mate, the work of a community museum in Melbourne's Western Suburbs.
By Peter Haffenden, 1994.

Melbourne's Livign Museum of the West, A Museum Without Walls,
By Olwen Ford, 1984.

artist in residence

The Living Museum current artist in residence is Charlie Sofo.

More about Charlie's projects at LMW coming soon...






recent past exhibitions

December 2015

Events & Exhibitions

Vessel for mixing metaphors

Susan Jacobs

This installation is the result of a body of sculptural work which began in 2013. Components of the work were first exhibited at the NGV in the exhibition 'Melbourne Now'.
The work has evolved through material experimentation, beginning with an attempt to make a rudimentary version of a late C19th plastic called Hemacite, which used animal blood as a binder with wood flour that was formed using hydraulic pressure moulding. The work crosses this reference with the production of Pig Iron, drawing out symbolic associations and familial relationships between elemental materials. In it’s current iteration, it responds to the industrial history of the Bluestone building.

Exhibition dates: December 12 -13.

hours 11- 6 pm

Image courtesy Susan Jacobs, photograph by Andrew Curtis




October / November 2015


A new exhibition, "Bluestone", opens next Tuesday 20th October at the Living Museum...showcasing five of Melbourne’s upcoming and emerging maker artists: Kate Sylvester, Aniquah Stevenson, Louise Meuwissen, Mel Jane Wilson and Hernàn Lopera.

"Bluestone"...Opening hours will be 10-4 Fri Sat Sun until the 20th November. Official opening, Saturday 24 th October, 4 - 6 pm.

Each artist has developed a unique style and approach to their contemporary art practise using craft based materials. The Bluestone Building will be transformed into a visceral infusion of fabric installation, sound and performance. An exhibition of contemporary art, held within a place so full of history, with exposed remnants of its past, has inspired ideas of experimentation. The exhibition will include music composed by Neil McDonald in collaboration with Aniquah Stevenson, while Kate Sylvester will incorporate dance into her work to utilise the mezzanine of the upper level. These inclusions are aimed to celebrate the magnitude of the aesthetics available within the warehouse space. The show overall, is a celebration of our collaborative creativity within an environment outside the studio and away from the known gallery space.


July 2015

ECHO - Sunday July 5 at 3 pm

Echo is the culmination of a brief research project by Eliza Dyball and Ash Kilmartin at Melbourne's Living Museum of the West.

(more information below)

ECHO - July 5 at 3 pm

Echo is the culmination of a brief research project by Eliza Dyball and Ash Kilmartin at Melbourne's Living Museum of the West. (more information below)

Using the Museum's extensive archives of life and work in the city's western suburbs, Dyball and Kilmartin have selected stories from the diverse history of the area, to compose a new collaborative work for the Living Museum's visitor centre and Bluestone Building.

Developed over a period of only four weeks, Echo will draw on the knowledge and experience of visitors, as well as the rich social, industrial, botanical and geological life of the area as represented and preserved by the Museum itself. The once-only event will present an embodied sense of the scale of historic activity on this unique site.

Sunday 5 July, 3-4pm
Location: Melbourne's Living Museum of the West, Pipemakers Park, Maribyrnong.
Refreshments will be served!

The artists wish to thank Kerrie Poliness; and also acknowledge Westspace and Jane O'Neill whose ongoing engagement with the Museum have made this opportunity possible.

Changing Environment of Melbourne's West: Our Poetic Prince, Throroughbred stallion, standing at Stockwell Stud, Diggers Rest. This gentle horse is the winner of over $1.6 million in prize money, the richest prize-winner in Australasia. Photograph, C. Dennis. © 1990 Melbourne's Living Museum of the West


Have your say...

Master plan, Pipemkaers Park

Council are now seeking feedback on the Draft Master Plan to prepare a final version for Council endorsement, and welcome your ideas and input in the Masterplan through the following contacts.

On site Pioneer Women’s Shelter, on the river edge at Pipemakers Park
Saturday 18th July, 10am to 12 noon

Living Museum of the West Visitor Centre
Wednesday 15th July, 6-7pm

If you require further information, please contact the City Design Unit on 9688 0591.



Melbourne’s Living Museum of the West would not exist without Joan Kirner.  Joan’s collaboration with David and Eva Yencken and her ability to persuade key people like Evan Walker and Ray Marginson kick-started this innovative ‘eco-museum’ in 1983. Joan continued to support the Museum as Patron until her passing.

Joan embraced all people with her generous spirit and warm acknowledgement of the communities of the west and elsewhere.  The Living Museum of the West and its members are grateful, and proud to add their voices to the accolades being made on her behalf.

Roger Holloway
Vice President, Melbourne's Living Museum of the West


Events & Exhibitions

May 2015


MADE IN MARIBYRNONG - May 2 and May 6, at 3 - 4 pm

Talk (free) presented by the Living Museum of the West

In conjunction with the National Trust Heritage Festival: Conflict and Compassion...


It is not well known that all the bullets used by the Anzacs and our soldiers in those dramatic campaigns in Turkey, France and Belgium were produced in Footscray and Maribyrnong. The supply side of war is as historically significant as the battles those supplies were used in. This talk will explore the development of providing those bullets and explosives in the suburbs of Melbourne one hundred years ago.

Living Museum of the West
Pipemakers Park
Gordon Street, Maribyrnong 3032 VIC


An exhibition of photographs and objects by artist Andrew Hazewinkel
(more details below)


In the historic Bluestone Building


An exhibition of photographs and objects by artist Andrew Hazewinkel investigating relationships between materials and remembering.

The exhibition culminates three and a half years research and brings to Melbourne works created in response to ancient things held at the Acropolis Museum in Athens, the National Archaeological Museum in Athens, the Archaeological Museum in Reggio Calabria, and the photo-archive at the British School at Rome. While the exhibition draws from far-flung artefacts, many of the works, which shed light on how the ancient is entangled with the contemporary, have been created much closer to home in Hazewinkel’s Maribyrnong studio.

Thursday 14 - Sunday 31 May 2015

12 – 6pm : Thursday 14, 21, 28
12 – 6pm : Friday 15, 22 (closed 29)
12 – 6pm : Saturday 16, 23, 30
12 – 6pm : Sunday 31

or by appointment info@andrewhazewinkel.com


On Tour

Volcano Dreaming is touring locally throughout January to end of April
back at the Visitor Centre late May 2015

Von Mueller Hall, Botanical Gardens Melbourne , May 7,
"Engergising Australian Grassland Management" Symposium 9.30 am - 5.20 pm

An exhibition about the critically endangered species of the Victorian Volcanic Plains.

Volcano Dreaming is a 12 metre, digitally constructed, photographic panorama that merges more than 3000 photographs taken during more than 100 field trips over a three year period. The panorama has been constructed to visually describe each of the key habitat types that have evolved within the plains and to show a variety of key species of flora and fauna within those habitats to help describe the complex relationships of its biodiversity.

Design, research, text, photography and digital construction by Peter Haffenden and Kerrie Poliness, © Inherit Earth. Funding for this project was made possible by EPA Victoria's - Inspiring Environmental Solutions program and granted through the Magistrates’ court to the Iramoo Sustainable Community Centre at Victoria University to support this community environment project and to engage Inherit Earth to produce this exhibition.

Key species photographers include: Trevor Pescott, Brian Bainbridge, Debbie Reynolds, Reto Zollinger, Liz Fenton, Chris Tzaros, Bev Wood, Melissa Doherty and Kerrie Poliness.






April 2015

RELATEDNESS an exhibition by Caroline Phillips and Catherine Johnstone.

Two artists explore the breadth of potentials to be found in a larger world.
Catherine Johnstone’s video installation engages in a dialogue with Muslim women, to explore perceptions of identity and relationships of reflexivity.

Caroline Phillips’ sculptures reveal interconnections between site and materials, to draw attention to the material nature of relationships.

EXHIBITION DATES: April 4 to April 19
GALLERY HOURS: Friday to Sunday 11- 4 pm

Further details on the LMW facebook page.
Enquiries contact Catherine Johnstone: 0405 844 782

March 2015


March 15 and March 22 - Film screenings presented by WEST SPACE

more details below...


Opening at the Living Museum of the West in March 2015, CHALKSTONE of the Indian art of Rangoli (also known as Muggu or Kolam), the delicate symmetrical patterns traditionally drawn in domestic areas during festivals and celebrations.

Visit the Bluestone Building at the Living Museum of the West to learn how to draw these intricate patterns according to the simple formation of a grid. Add to a colourful patterns according to the simple formation of a grid. Add to a colourful large scale floor work which expands along the floor of the Bluestone Building throughout the month of March.

This is a free event - chalk and instructions are provided. School bookings welcome. For furtherinformation, please call Jane O’Neill on 0412169391.

go west


March 15 and March 22 - Film screenings presented by WEST SPACE

free event, bookings and details

On Sunday 15th March, join us for the screening of two films: Dial H-I-S-T-O-R-Y and In Comparison, with a short film from the Living Museum Archive at the Living Museum of the West.

Book your free ticket: https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/living-museum-of-the-west-screening-tickets-15826904698
Dial H-I-S-T-O-R-Y - Johan Grimonprez
Belgium, 1997, (DVD-Video), colour, 68 min

Programmed by Jessie Scott.

Buckle up for Dial H-I-S-T-O-R-Y, the acclaimed hijacking documentary that eerily foreshadowed 9-11. We meet the romantic skyjackers who fought their revolutions and won airtime on the passenger planes of the 1960’s. By the 1990s, such characters apparently are no more, replaced on our TV screens by stories of state-sponsored suitcase bombs. Director Johan Grimonprez investigates the politics behind this change, at the same time unwrapping our own complicity in the urge for ultimate disaster. Playing on Don DeLillo’s riff in the novel 'MAO II,' ‘What terrorists gain, novelists lose’ and ‘Home is a failed idea’, he blends archive hijackings with surreal and banal themes including fast food, pet statistics, disco and his quirky home movies. David Shea wrote the superb soundtrack to this roller coaster through history, best described in the words of one hijacked Pepsi executive as: “running the gamut of many emotions: from surprise to shock, to fear, to joy, to laughter and then again, fear.”

Dial H-I-S-T-O-R-Y addresses the mass media manipulation by, and complicity with terrorism. The gratuitous facilitation of ISIS' grotesque, sophisticated, layered propaganda across all forms of media, with its call backs to Abu Graib and Guantanamo and deployment of seductive, radical and pop-culture iconographic such as the black flag, are verily admired by the media (recognising their own offspring), but remain largely uncritiqued as media objects, by artists or others. Grimonprez's Dial H-I-S-T-O-R-Y deploys that old chestnut: using the medium to critique the medium. Have we in fact lost the ability to do this: as our use of media, video in particular, becomes more ubiquitous and sophisticated, has our ability to see it diminished?

Living Museum Archival Footage Screening. GO WEST YOUNG WOMEN!

A play produced in 1986, directed by Rachael Fenham, written and produced by the cast including Michelle Howard, Lee Kennedy and Kate Kantor, who work closely with women who worked in the local munitions industry during the war. This short film includes excerpts of the filming of the play on opening night and an interview with the director and cast.

In Comparison - Harun Farocki
Germany, 2009, (DVD-R of) 16mm, color, 61 min

Programmed by Nic Tammens.

“I wanted to make a film [In Comparison] about concomitance and contemporary production on a range of different technical levels. So I looked for an object that had not changed too much in the past few thousand years. This could have been a shoe or a knife, but a brick becomes part of a building and therefore part of our environment. So the brick appears as something of a poetic object. I follow its mode of creation and use in Africa, India, and Europe."[1]
When a film abstains from being didactic, to introduce it with wordy convictions puts one at risk of saying too much.

In lieu of this, we might prepare by thinking: what is an image? what is society? what is the relationship between film and society? what is an institution? what is the relationship between the social and environment? what is the nature of work? and what is human within any of this?

Harun Farocki (1944-2014) was born in what was German Czechoslovakia during WWII. His beginnings as a filmmaker is marked by his expulsion from the German Film and Television Academy in 1969 when Farocki and fellow classmate Hartmut Bitomsky were ejected on the grounds of their political activism. Farocki supported himself by working for the West German television service and as a film critic, serving as the editor for FilmKritik from 1974 to 1984. In addition to making over 120 films he produced work for the purpose of exhibition in museums and galleries where his work has been extensively exhibited internationally.

Location: The Living Museum of the West is located at Pipemakers Park, Van Ness Avenue, Maribyrnong. Melway Map 28 B10.

– Turn left off Van Ness Road at the sign “Pipemaker’s Park”.
– Drive down the driveway to the Visitor’s Centre.
– If catching public transport to the Living Museum of the West from the city, catch the 57 tram and get off at stop Clyde St/Raleigh Rd (Maribyrnong), then it’s just a 5 min walk by the Maribynong River to the Living Museum.


On Sunday 22nd March, 2015, 2pm, join us for the screening of three films: YACKITY YACK (also known as YACKETTY YACK) and WSJV for WSJ4, with a short film from the Living Museum Archive at the Living Museum of the West.

Book your free ticket: https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/living-museum-of-the-west-screenings-part-2-tickets-15826926764

OtherFilm presents a special rare screening of

16mm; Black and White; Sound; 86 minutes, 1974, Australia

In the early 1970s, Dave Jones came from Canada to work at La Trobe University in Melbourne. (He is now D.B. Jones, Professor of Film at Drexel University, Philadelphia.) Jones was part of a film/media department typical of the time, mixing theory and practice, very aware of cosmopolitan trends in culture and politics – and much more oriented towards art and anarchism than ‘industrial’ institutions like the official filmmaking-training schools. In one week, for four thousand dollars, Jones improvised Yackity Yack (sometimes referred to as Yacketty Yak) with his colleagues and friends from Melbourne’s progressive arts scene, shooting mostly in a large concrete basement.

It is a brilliant, scattershot satire on the dreams and delusions of radical filmmaking, referencing all the intellectual obsessions of the period: Godardian counter-cinema with its long tracking shots and droning monologues; cinephile reveries on beloved genres and auteurs (courtesy of the legendary critic John Flaus); feminist interventions. In fact, Yackity Yack does for militant film culture what Godard’s La Chinoise did for student Maoism, irreverently contradicting its pious aspirations with authoritarian realities. It is all very politically incorrect, driven by a splendidly absurdist, even ‘screwball’ sense of humour. Australia has not produced another film like it!
- Adrian Martin.

Footage from The Living Museum of the West Archive, A song in my Kazoo, 1985. Focussing on local bands from the Western suburbs, featuring interviews with and performances by the Footscray Highland pipe band, Hyde Street Band, Yarraville Mouth Organ band.


West Space Journal presents a program of material related radially to our upcoming Issue 4, What was a mining boom?, guest-edited by Sarinah Masukor & Gavan Blau. The issue aims to produce an non-linear archaeology of the boom as a loose historical period or cultural moment. Here we’ll show the work of FIFO-comedians, oral and cultural historians, re-enactors, young-people-as-giant-teeth in Roebourne and Cheeditha, American artists circling Uluru and so forth.

Andrea Geyer /
The idea that we will think of something when the time comes
The idea that time is linear […]
The idea that some things will always be the same yet never viewed from the same point.

1 Harun Farocki. In Artforum, February 2011.
http://artforum.com/words/id=27620. Accessed December 18, 2013.



archived website 1997- 2007

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Melbourne’s Living Museum of the West is a community Museum
which actively involves the people of Melbourne’s West and others in documenting, preserving and interpreting the richness and depth of the region’s social, industrial
and environmental history.














LMW is supported by Parks Victoria and the City of Maribyrnong