Heritage Room and Exhibitions

rsz heritage room and exhibitions

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 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 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 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..



Current Exhibitions

Visit our Hertiage 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 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The Truganina Explosives Reserve Preservation Society

Tuesday 2 February to Monday 8 March at Williamstown Library

Located opposite Kooringal Golf Course on Queen Street, the Truganina Explosives Reserve has a unique history. In operation from 1901 to 1962, the reserve was used to store civilian explosives for mining and construction purposes. 

The large reserve included 55 storage magazines, jetty, offices, stables, and two residences, for the Keeper and the Under Keeper. The magazines and jetty were connected by a narrow-gauge horse-drawn tramway. The Keeper's Quarters and some other buildings have recently been restored by the Truganina Explosives Reserve Preservation Society, The Men's Shed and Hobsons Bay City Council. See this unique exhibition at Williamstown Library, or view the presentation online by clicking on the image below.

rsz truganina explosives reserve original image












Upcoming Exhibitions

Zoran Babic: Walking and Sketching Williamstown

Monday 1 March to Friday 16 April at Williamstown Library

Zoran Babic is a local resident, practicing architect and a long time urban sketcher. Most of the sketches presented at this exhibition were created during Victoria's COVID-19 lockdown of 2020. The artist decided to become a tourist in his own neighbourhood, rediscovering European settlers’ rich heritage and maritime history. Using very simple tools — pens and sketchbook — the artist has created an intimate and immediate record of the local built environment.

Sketch by Zoran Babic "64 Pasco Street, Williamstown 1858-1876"








Trainee Nurses at Williamstown Hospital

Tuesday 9 March to Friday 30 April at Williamstown Library

Williamstown Hospital has a proud tradition stretching back to the 1890s of training Registered Nurses and Enrolled Nurses.

Visit our exhibition at Williamstown Library to read their stories and see memorabilia collected over time.

Matron Penrose with trainee nurses in 1930











Preserving our Past for our Future: Our Heritage Buildings

Sunday 18 April to Sunday 2 May at Williamstown Library

In 1835 a small township developed to accommodate the influx of new settlers and their stock which was based around the port area of Williamstown.

It was concentrated around Nelson Place, fanning out from there as the population grew.

Organised by the Williamstown Historical Society, this exhibition will include information on many of the historic buildings still in existence along with other more contemporary buildings of social interest, accompanied by photographs showing how they looked in the past.

"Hobsons Bay" Lithograph image courtesy of the Williamstown Historical Society










Williamstown Historical Society logo


Creating Community in Melbourne’s West 

Monday 19 April to Wednesday 19 May at Williamstown Library

Since the 1970s the LGBTQIA+ community has been creating a home in Melbourne’s inner-west. From Gay-Skate in Footscray to the infamous Sunshine ‘Gay’ Girl article, this exhibition tells the story of the communities’ journey for recognition and understanding from the 1970s until today.
Visit this unique exhibition, a celebration of LGBTQIA+ culture, history, evolution, and its ongoing connection with the western suburbs.

This exhibition can also be viewed online by clicking on the image below.

rsz dennis ian and richard gayskate footscray c1982








Australian Queer Archives logo Midsumma Festival logoNational Trust Australian Heritage Festival

Past Exhibitions

A selection of past exhibitions can be viewed online below.

Controls: Use the left and right arrows at the bottom of the exhibition to navigate, or click on sections that interested you. When you want to look closer at an image, use the mouse scroll wheel to zoom in. To enlarge the exhibition, click the Prezi button in the lower right-hand corner. 

Willy Lit Fest 2020: Authors of Hobsons Bay

Hobsons Bay Libraries is a proud supporter of the Williamstown Literary Festival, one of the country’s most respected wordfests which attracts some of Australia’s best loved authors. In partnership with the festival, we’re bringing together the literary history of Hobsons Bay with today's homegrown authors to celebrate the area's vibrant culture of reading and writing in this online exhibition.

Willi Lit Fest Logo horizontal 513 x 285px












Libraries in Altona North photographic exhibition

Join us in celebrating the library with an exhibition chronicling five decades of libraries in the area, beginning with the Altona East library in 1965, and taking us all the way up to the present day.

1966 Altona East Branch Library commemorative postcard cropped 2












Williamstown Lacrosse Club: a Long, Proud History

The Williamstown Lacrosse Club was established in 1898 and in the following years quickly became the largest sporting club in Williamstown, fielding sides in all grades of the then Victorian Amateur Lacrosse Association. By 1936 the club established a record when it fielded 8 teams and had 139 registered players, which reputedly made Williamstown Lacrosse the largest amateur sporting club in the Southern Hemisphere.

rsz wlc 1899 team photo cropped and resized












The History of Recorded Sound

Experiments in capturing sound for preservation and reproduction began during the Industrial Revolution of the 1800s, with many more attempts to record and reproduce sound made during the latter half of the 19th century.
These efforts culminated in the invention of the phonograph by Thomas Edison in 1877. After a century of refinement in analog recording technologies, digital recording emerged in the late 20th century and has since flourished with the popularity of digital music and online streaming services

turntable 2786528 1920 cropped for website












Interested in hosting an exhibition?

If you are interested in having an exhibition, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..