Main Collection

The Chinese Museum collects material that contributes to the history of Chinese Australians and the cultural and historic interaction between the people of Australia and China.

Detail of cloth slipper on high heel, Donated by Claire Williams, Museum of Chinese Australian History Collection 1986.11.03

We have a broad collection of materials that reflect the social fabric and activities of the Chinese community in Australia from the 1850s to the present day. This includes artefacts (such as costumes, tools, utensils, art and craft objects, furniture and household objects); documents (newspaper clippings, diaries, letters, books, journal); images (photographs, illustrations), art ( drawings, paintings, sketches) and audio-visual material (such as oral history recordings, musical recordings, films and videos).

Alma Quon and her joy belles, Donated by Daisy Quon, Museum of Chinese Australian History Collection P00785

The Museum’s photographic collection, along with images from other public collections, are shown online through the Chinese-Australian Historical Images in Australia (CHIA) website – 

The content remains publicly accessible as a valuable resource for researchers, academics, and individual interested in researching their family history. The CHIA website has been archived and is currently not updated.

Items from the Museum’s collection can also be found on the Culture Victoria website: 

  • Chinese-Australian families: 

Members of the Chinn family 1903, Donated by Frank Chinn, Museum of Chinese Australian History Collection P00315

  • Language, A Key to Survival: Cantonese-English Phrasebooks in Australia:

 English-Cantonese Phrasebooks, Museum of Chinese Australian History Collections

To request permission to publish material from the Museum of Chinese Australian History Collections, please complete the request form and send the completed copy to [email protected].

Object Donation:

The Museum welcomes donations of objects that contribute to the history of Chinese people in Australia. The Museum’s Collections Policy stipulates that we acquire and care for objects that focus strongly on the history and contributions of Australians with Chinese ancestry ranging from their arrivals in the early 1800s through to the present. Objects should also have clear provenance and donors must be the lawful owners of the objects. 

Accepting donations into the collections is guided by our Collections Policy and their significance to our cumulative history. Our long-term obligation to care for and store our collections as well as our limited storage space influence this selective process. Not all offers of donation are accepted and may be respectfully declined. 

Opera gown, Donated by Eunice Leong, Museum of Chinese Australian Collection 2012.14.02

If you have an object that you would like the Museum to consider for its collection, please complete the object donation form and send the completed copy to [email protected] or by mail to Chinese Museum, 22 Cohen Place, Melbourne VIC 3000 Australia.