The Australian Colonial Silver Project began with the acquisition of the “University of Melbourne Wilson Hall Presentation Trowel Set” which had been specifically made for the purpose of laying the Foundation Stone at the University of Melbourne. The Vizard Foundation consulted with the University and agreed that it was critical that this important piece of colonial history should be retained in Australia. After acquisition the Foundation immediately placed it on permanent loan with the University of Melbourne art collection.
Subsequently, the Foundation acquired a number of other significant objects of colonial silver and in 2004 reached agreement with the Gold Treasury Museum Victoria (later the City Museum) to house the entire Collection on permanent display. In mid 2010 the City Museum closed down, and the Foundation decided that the collection was too small to justify a significant on-going exhibition at a major museum.
The bulk of the collection was sold in 2012, however 17 significant pieces remain. These now form the cornerstone of a permanent public display in the specially restored Silver Safe at Werribee Mansion under the custodianship of Parks Victoria. These items provide a fascinating insight into the craftsmanship and artistic perspectives of colonial Australia, and are an important element of our cultural heritage.