The collections of the Kew Historical Society include bound and unbound archives, audiovisual materials,  books, costumes & textiles, maps, and pictures, These are stored in the Kew Heritage Centre within the Kew Library, and at the Kew Court House. Items in our collection have been donated by members and friends of the Society over a sixty-year period. For information about donating items to the Society, please access our Donating Items page.


Grace James, Full-length Multicoloured Knitted Coat Dress, 1978

While most of the items in our large and important Fashion & Design Collection are commercially retailed items of clothing, there are also a number of pieces made by home dressmakers. Some exhibit outstanding design knowledge and technical skills. A large and important collection of handmade clothing is contained in the Grace James Collection of outfits created for her daughter. This knitted coat dress was made in 1978. If you would like to find out more about Grace James and this item look at the detailed description on Victorian Collections.


Significance Assessment is the process of studying and understanding the meanings and values of objects and collections. It identifies the historic, aesthetic, scientific and social values that an object or collection has for past, present and future generations. A Significance Assessment (PDF, 1MB) of our collection was funded through a Community Heritage Grant. The assessment described the entire collection while focussing on the framed photographs in the civic collection, costumes, and maps & plans.


A Preservation needs Assessment is used to define need and initiate a planning process to enable a cultural organisation to reduce risks to the collection, and better allocate resources for preservation over time. A Preservation Needs Assessment (PDF, 6.6MB) of our collection was funded through a Community Heritage Grant. The assessment was carried out by Vanessa Kowalski of Grimwade Conservation Services. (PDF, 6.6MB)

The Community Heritage Grant program is funded by the Australian Government through the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications (Office for the Arts); the National Library of Australia; the National Archives of Australia; the National Film and Sound Archive and the National Museum of Australia.


In 2019, the Kew Historical Society was declared by the Victorian Government a Class-B Place of Deposit for Government Records. Many of the items in our Civic Collection derive from donations made by the former City of Kew, many of which are classified as Government Records. Most of these, and indeed other items in the collection can be viewed by appointment.

Items which we have digitised can also be accessed at the Kew Historical Society’s section of Victorian Collections.