The Kew Historical Society was founded in 1958, and is one of the oldest continuing historical societies in Melbourne. For over 60 years, the Society has worked with local government and other organisations within Kew to stimulate interest in our history and heritage. The Society is affiliated with the Royal Historical Society of Victoria and the Australian Museums and Galleries Association. It co-operates with other historical societies and groups across the City of Boroondara through the Boroondara Historical Societies Association.

The Society acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the ancestral homelands upon which our premises are situated. We respect their Elders, past, present and future and recognise their continuous connection to Country.

2023 Australian Heritage Festival event

In a foreign climate and environment, how did European women adapt to living in rural Victoria and the emerging suburbs of Melbourne. Explore and delight in the opulent tastes and styles adopted by women through nineteenth century gowns from the fashion and design collection of the Kew Historical Society.

Mary Ann Henty came with her husband, Francis Henty, to the Port Phillip District immediately after their marriage in Launceston in 1842. The gown that she wore at the ceremony is the centrepiece of a large collection of gowns owned and worn by pioneering Victorian families. A number of our newly acquired costumes in the Henty Collection will join other historic costumes donated by descendants of the Coombs and Weir families. The exhibition includes silken gowns worn for special events such as weddings and balls as well as examples of day dresses used for entertaining at home and when visiting. The exhibition will allow you to view evolving styles of outerwear and undergarments, which only occasionally responded to a new climate and environment.

The exhibition runs for three weekends and will be supplemented by a series of midweek lectures on the activities and tastes of women in colonial Victoria. The formal rooms of the Villa Alba Museum will form a vivid background to the items exhibited.

44 Walmer Street, Kew, 3101
22 April – 7 May
Saturdays & Sundays 10am-12pm, 1pm–3pm
Tickets range from $20-$25 and can be purchased on Eventbrite (see link on Villa Alba Museum website)


Stories They Tell: a history of Kew through objects was launched by the Mayor of Boroondara, Cr Jane Addis at the Kew Court House on 14 September. The book includes 31 specially selected objects from the Kew Historical Society collection, each with full page illustrations, and accompanying ‘stories’ identifying each object’s historic, artistic, research or spiritual relevance to Kew. Copies of the book are available for purchase at a cost of $25. You can view many of the items described in the book in our new exhibition on level 1 of the Court House.
Kew Court House, 188 High Street, Kew 3101