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Villa Alba Museum Open Days

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Explore the 1880s mansion & recreated gardens
 Photo - Susan Wright

Villa Alba Melbourne's unique painted villa is a spectacular, heritage-listed, 1880s mansion built in the Italianate style. Sitting at the top of the Walmer St hill in Kew, Villa Alba is remarkable for the beautiful painted and stencilled detail on the walls and ceilings.

Photo - Mitchell Luo

The Paterson Brothers, a Scottish firm of painters and decorators, completed the interior decoration. The Paterson Bros were one of the premier art decorating firms in Australia at the time, and the leading Melbourne firm in the days of 'Marvellous Melbourne'. They also worked on Government House and the Trades Hall Council Chamber.

Photo - Susan Wright

In their designs, you will see many different flowers, huge murals of Sydney Harbour and Edinburgh, realistic, stencilled and stylised designs - even a story from Walter Scott's Waverley novels.

Villa Alba was originally the home of Anna Maria McEvoy and her husband William Greenlaw and continued as a private residence with multiple owners and tenants until the 1940s. In the 1950s it became a home for trainee nurses. You can still see the room and bed numbers painted on many of the doors. At this time, much of the interior decoration was painted over to brighten up the place. The house was then used as a hospital, with the addition of many portable buildings taking over the garden.

Photo - Robyn Smith

Since the mid-1980s, the house has been evolving as a museum. A series of grants over the past 30 years or so has enabled the rediscovery of many treasures beneath the 1950s paint. The portable hospital buildings have also been removed and the garden reinstated following original plans. There is so much more to uncover and enjoy on a visit to this unique property. You can follow a self-guided Flower Trail through the house, highlighting many of the floral features and giving you an insight into the language of flowers from the Victorian era. You can also just wander at your leisure and soak up the atmosphere of this hidden gem.

Photo - Susan Wright

Villa Alba is open throughout the year on the first Sunday afternoon of the month. Bookings are encouraged for timed entry (available at Eventbrite or see the link on the Villa Alba website). You can also purchase a ticket at the door (subject to availability). Address: 44 Walmer Street, Kew. Entry is $15 per person.

Villa Alba Museum Incorporated is a volunteer-run, charitable organisation established to conserve this heritage-listed property. As well as regular monthly Open Days, the house is available for special events, private group tours, photo shoots/filming, exhibitions and workshops. For example, you might have seen the house featured as the home of musician Skeet Du Pont (played by Benedict Samuel) in the ABC drama series A Beautiful Lie, or visited our recent Winter Flower Exhibition. Details soon on our new exhibition, Glass@VillaAlba coming up in October. You can find out more about the house, do a virtual tour and find opening hours and special event details here: www.villaalbamuseum.org

Villa Alba's friendly and knowledgeable volunteers look forward to welcoming visitors to the house and garden. Entry on 1st Sunday of the month Open Days is $15 per person by timed ticket.

We recommend pre-booking www.villaalbamuseum.org/events

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Where: Villa Alba Museum, 44 Walmer Street Kew, VIC 3101
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