Before 2003

The Victorian Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Trust, as we were then known, was formed in October 1985, and was created in response to the alleged illegal sale, lending and disposal of Aboriginal Victorian relics and skeletal remains. This included legal action against the auction house Leonard Joels to prevent the sale of Victorian artefacts and relics. Although unsuccessful, this action was the catalyst for the re-acquisition of cultural material of significance to the Victorian Aboriginal community including shields, spears and clubs pre-dating European settlement  of Victoria, purchased from the auction house Sothebys.  Together with a grinding stone and axe-head that had been given by a private donor, this material became the nucleus of what is our unique and irreplaceable collection of Koorie art and artefacts, which we are proud to hold as custodians for Victorian Aboriginal people.

In 1986, the trust entered into an agreement with the Museum of Victoria then located in the CBD and bordered by Swanston, Latrobe, Russell and Little Lonsdale Streets, to use one of its major display galleries, Kershaw Hall, for the development of a Resource Centre and Keeping Place. However, with the pending relocation of the Museum, in 1995, the Trust purchased a building in Lonsdale Street for redevelopment into a purpose built home for the Trust.