Heritage Rooms and Exhibitions

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Williamstown Library is the home base for Hobsons Bay Libraries Heritage Collection. The library’s Heritage Room houses special collections and microform readers and features a regularly changing array of local history exhibitions.

A team of specialist staff is on hand to assist with your research on family and local history. You can submit a research enquiry online or email heritage@hobsonsbay.vic.gov.au to make an appointment with a member of our experienced heritage team.

If you are interested in having an exhibition in our heritage room, please email heritage@hobsonsbay.vic.gov.au.


Current Exhibitions

Visit our Heritage Room and upstairs Gallery at Williamstown Library to view any of our current local history exhibitions, listed below. If you are interested in having an exhibition, please email heritage@hobsonsbay.vic.gov.au.

Visit our Remembrance Day Exhibition until 30 November at Williamstown Library

We have items loaned from the Williamstown Historical Society, which include a gas rattle used to alert soldiers in the trenches to put on their gas masks from World War I.  Other interesting items include a personal identity bracelet worn by a local driver which was used to identify those killed or wounded. 

A letter from a Newport soldier explains his experience of landing in Gallipoli and how his friend Robert Lawson from Williamstown was killed in action.

With thanks to the Williamstown Historical Society.

U3A Hobsons Bay/Williamstown 2nd Annual Art Exhibition

Exhibition runs from Friday 10 November until Friday 1 December.

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U3As are voluntary Seniors’ Groups that provide educational, recreational and social programs. The Gallery at Williamstown Library is excited to welcome back the U3A Williamstown artists for their 2nd annual art exhibition. On show will be the amazing work of local artists, with an artist in residence onsite daily throughout the exhibition from 11am to 1pm.

The Gallery, Williamstown Library

During opening hours

For more information about this art exhibition or art courses with U3A, click here.


Past Exhibitions

Pier Street Pearls

Exhibition ran until Thursday 31 August, 2023.

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Pier Street Pearls is a collection of stories and images that celebrate the history of the main shopping strip in Altona, Pier Street.

Starting with the first shop to be built and tracing through its 120 year history, this exhibition tells stories that run from the pier to the civic offices. Don’t be worried, it’s not a dry piece of dusty history, rather the exhibition and accompanying publication tells the history of the street through the eyes of those who have lived and worked here over the years.

Like any good story, it has your heroes and your villains, your innocents and the adventurers, your tricksters and magicians. It tells the stories of rags to riches, of rolling the dice, whilst acknowledging the sheer hard work that goes into running your own business. Most of all it speaks to the developing of a community. Feel free to take a stroll down memory lane, stopping to greet old friends along the way, promenade on the pier and no doubt have a good yarn.

Heritage Room, Williamstown Library

During opening hours

Pearls of Pier Street is curated by Alan Young and Bronwen Gray. 



Back From the Dead: a history of resuscitation and defibrillation

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Exhibition ran until Tuesday 25 July, 2023.

When breathing and heartbeat stop, we are officially dead.  Yet with modern treatment, breathing and heartbeat can sometimes be restored – bringing the patient back from the dead! This informative exhibition shows the history of resuscitation and defibrillation (using electrical currents to restore normal heart rhythm), with a display some of equipment used in the past.

Items on display include Anne, a resuscitation mannequin, a demand resuscitator, training defibrillator and a timeline of the history or resuscitation and CPR.

Come along to find out how Australia has achieved world's best survival rate after resuscitation treatment! 

Back from the Dead is curated by St John Ambulance Historical Society.


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Westside Pride: Exploring LGBTIQA+ Heritage from the 1970s


Exhibition ran until Friday 30 June, 2023.

Since the 1970s LGBTIQA+ communities have been creating a home in Melbourne’s inner west. Back by popular demand, this exhibition is a celebration of LGBTIQA+ culture, history and evolution and its ongoing connection with the western suburbs. A Pride Month exhibition created in partnership with the Australian Lesbian and Gay Archives.

Do you have any LGBTIQA+ items you would consider donating to our online Heritage Collection? We’d love to hear from you! Contact us by email at heritage@hobsonsbay.vic.gov.au and our Heritage Librarian will be in touch!