State Library Victoria, Queen's Hall, Artist Impression

State Library Victoria is delighted to announce that The Ian Potter Foundation will become the lead philanthropic donor for the refurbishment of the Library’s historic Queen’s Hall through a $10 million donation from the Foundation.

The 156-year-old Hall will be renamed in honour of Sir Ian Potter as the Ian Potter Queen’s Hall.

The refurbishment of the Hall, Australia’s first public library space, will be the jewel in the $83.1 million redevelopment of the State Library announced in this year’s state budget.

The Victorian Government has committed $55.4 million towards the redevelopment, which is expected to be completed over a five year period.

The donation is the largest grant ever made by the Ian Potter Foundation’s education program and the largest donation ever received by the State Library.

Queen's Hall interior, 1870–1900. Photo: Charles Nettleton

Queen’s Hall interior, 1870. Photo: Charles Nettleton

Library Board of Victoria President John Wylie AM said, “We are immensely grateful for the generosity of The Ian Potter Foundation for supporting the Library in breathing new life into what will become the Ian Potter Queen’s Hall.”

“This project will return the original reading room to its former glory and will respect the Hall’s Victorian heritage features. We will expand the public space within the Library for our ever-growing number of students and visitors, and reopen the doors to one of the most beautiful buildings in Melbourne,” he said.

“This wonderful gift acknowledges and celebrates the history of this great institution, but also looks to its future.”

Oueen's Hall (artistic impression)

An artist’s impression of what Queen’s Hall may look like following the redevelopment.

Chairman of The Ian Potter Foundation Charles Goode AC said The Ian Potter Foundation has been a supporter of the State Library for nearly 50 years.

“This is a major grant for a very significant project which aligns closely with our philosophy of encouraging excellence and innovation,” said Mr Goode.

“The Hall, with its magnificent reading room, is one of Australia’s most architecturally significant heritage spaces. Redeveloping the Hall and returning it to full public use after it has been closed for more than a decade is important and exciting. We are very proud to support this project and help the State Library Victoria in its public fundraising for its worthy redevelopment project.”

Minister for the Creative Industries Martin Foley MP said: “The Ian Potter Foundation is one of Australia’s most passionate and prominent supporters of creative endeavour, research, education and community projects – and this extraordinary act of generosity will touch on all of those areas.”

“Together with funding from the Victorian Government, this donation will see the Hall rejuvenated and returned to the people of Victoria. True to its rich history, it will be a place for discovery and inspiration – at the heart of one of our great centres for culture, connection and learning – for generations to come.”

Find out more about the redevelopment project here.

This article has 3 comments

  1. I’m so pleased to see this project go ahead, but I guarantee the original queens hall chairs pictured will be more comfortable (and in keeping) than the plastic white furniture pictured. I really hope traditional wood shelving is put in, not ikea white stuff.

    I gave no problem with modernising, but the magic of this hall is its age, it’s aura, and I think furnishings are a big part of that.
    Bring on the wifi and hidden power points, just not the cheap office furniture.

    • Hi Lou, the pictures are artists’ impressions and not necessarily a representation of the final design. The refurbishment will be respectful of the original Victorian heritage features and we will be working with Heritage Victoria (not ikea!) on all aspects. It’s such an exciting project, we can’t wait to start and open this incredible space for the public again.

  2. I remember Queen’s Hall as it was – a truly beautiful space. What a wonderful act of philanthropy. Wish there was more of it.
    Lou could well have a point re the furniture – can you imagine the Reading Room modernised?

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