Unley Museum

Discover our city, past and present. In our collection, you can read stories of the people of Unley, view photographs, art and many fascinating objects. There’s always something new to discover.

We believe that history is created by the things people do. Our changing exhibitions of objects, film, interactive displays and photographs are packed with hands-on activities, games, puzzles and loads of fascinating information. Play video games, dress in fashions of the past and watch films. See contemporary art and cultural displays and have fun! 
 
Hear the story of Unley and its people, through our collection of more than 12,000 photographs and objects, including toys, tools and artworks.
 
Through our library and research services, we can help you learn about your family tree, your home and your city. 
 
Visit now and start your journey into the culture and character of Unley.

Location & Opening Hours

80 Edmund Ave, Unley
Ph 8372 5117
Free entry

Monday to Wednesday 10am - 4pm
Thursday 10am - 6pm

Sunday 2 - 5pm
Closed Public Holidays


Family History Service
Family History Service is now available at the Museum, Wednesdays 10am - 4pm and Thursdays 10am - 6pm.
 

Museum News

History Month

The month of May is History Month, a time when we gather to celebrate the history of our people and places. Each year The City of Unley and, in particular, the  Unley Museum hosts several special events for the month and this year is no different with a tour, some Aboriginal history and a mystery. Bookings are essential for all events, please see below.

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Unley Museum Wins MAGNA Award for Innovative Exhibition

Unley Museum has won the MAGNA Award for Best Permanent Exhibition recognising its new exhibition, Unley: 200 Years of Change.
 
The MAGNA Awards (Museums and Galleries National Awards) are Museum Australia’s annual awards to recognise achievements within the museum and arts sector nationally.

Exhibitions

Now Showing
Unley: 200 Years of Change

Permanent Exhibition
Winner of the 2016 MAGNA and IA Award of Excellence. Tracing two centuries of change from the original inhabitants, the Kaurna People to Unley today. The exhibition is packed with interactive displays, touchable and useable objects, videos, photographs and objects that uncover the stories that have shaped our city.

Terrible Tales of Unley
Ongoing Exhibition
Mystery, murder, fire and floods this exhibition explores Unley’s dark secrets and strange occurrences. Try your hand a lock picking, crack the safe code and try to solve an Unley mystery in this interactive display.

At Home, in War
Until 2018
World War I timeline of local and global events with objects from the collection. Try your hand at Morse Code, play our war strategy game and relax in a 1920s den.
 

Child X – SAYArts
Until 30 April
Through sound and photography Child X is an art exhibition that focuses on the challenges and delights of being a teenager and emerging adult in today’s society. Created by 12-16 years olds participating in On The Fringe at SAYarts in collaboration with professional artists this exhibition is a contemporary look at young people today through story-telling and art.
 

Coming Up

History Month – Iconic Houses of Unley
May – June
Plans, photographs and stories about iconic buildings in Unley.
 
Weaving Histories – Kaurna Artefact Display
May – July
A display of Kaurna artefacts to celebrate Reconciliation Week.

Terrible Tales of Unley: Body in the Freezer
Thursday 4 May
Author and Curator Talk – Tim Mann and Karen Paris
Book online
 
St Augustine’s Bell Tower and Morris Windows Tour
10.30am, Tuesday 9 May
Book online
 
Weaving Histories Workshop
2pm, 28 May
The Southern Elders Weaving Group teach the art of raffia weaving.
Book online
 
SALA Exhibition
July – September 2017

Activities & Resources

Find out more about Unley from our local history resources. Join us for an historic walk, or discover who lived in your home.
  • Education Programs
    Our exciting hands-on education programs are aligned to the national education curriculum. To make a school booking or discuss tailored programs contact the Museum Curator at museum@unley.sa.gov.au or 8372 5117.
  • Local History Resources
    Research 
    Are you researching your family history, curious about the name of your suburb, interested in who owned the local bakery, or doing a school project? The Unley Museum has resources such as photographs, books, oral history tapes and historical records that you can use for research and information purposes.

    Resources are available to view at the Museum. 

    The Museum can conduct some research on your behalf for a fee of $15-30 (depending upon complexity).
     
    Photograph Reproductions
    We can provide hard copy photographic reproductions for a minimum fee of $25 per photograph.
     
    Publications
    The Museum sells a range of local history publications, cards and mementoes. 

     
  • Discover Historic Unley
    If you are interested in the stories behind the old buildings around the Unley Civic Centre, download our newest self-guided walking tour Discover Historic Unley. A hard copy of the brochure is available at the Unley Libraries and Civic Centre and Museum. Just ask a staff member!
     
     
  • House Histories
    You can discover all about your house and its past owners through the Museum's House History research service. And it will only cost you $30.

    Who slept in your bedroom? Who cooked in your kitchen?

    To request a House History, fill in the form or contact the museum on 8372 5117.

    Please allow for approximately 2 months turn around.
  • Family History
    The City of Unley Family History collection provides access to a range of resources including birth, death and marriage certificates, South Australian and interstate indexes and access to the vast international online repository, Ancestry Library Edition (available at the Unley Libraries).

    The collection and service is housed in the Unley Museum, 80 Edmund Avenue, Unley, and is available Wednesdays, 10am - 4pm, and Thursdays, 10am - 6pm.

    Phone 8372 5117 or email familyhistory@unley.sa.gov.au


    The Collection includes:
     
    • Birth, death and marriage certificates for the historical District of Adelaide
    • Births July 1856–1922 (plus indexes to 1928)
    • Deaths July 1864–1967 (plus indexes to 1972)
    • Marriages March 1868–1937
    • Index of South Australian births, deaths and marriages
    • Biographical index of South Australians
    • South Australia 1841 census and biographies
    • Northern Territory Australia deaths 1824–2004 (part 1)
    • South Australian almanacs and directories
    • South Australian pre-civil births, deaths and marriages
    • Victorian birth, death and marriage indexes
    • Tasmanian Pioneer and Federation indexes (births, deaths, and marriages)
    • Access to Ancestry Library Edition (only available onsite at Unley Civic and Goodwood Libraries)
    • Many more publications of a more specific nature

    If you live overseas, interstate, country South Australia or you are unable to visit the collection during open hours, our volunteers may be able to provide assistance for birth, death and marriage certificate searches.

    To request this service please email familyhistory@unley.sa.gov.au . The estimated turnaround time for search requests is 28 days (dependent on available resources and the number of requests received). No more than three requests per person can be made at any one time.


    Other local resources

    South Australian Genealogy and Heraldry Society (SAGHS)

    A central library run by volunteers providing access to South Australian, Australian and international genealogical and heraldry information.

    Please note that SAGHS does charge for some services.

    Tuesdays, 10.30am-9pm,
    Wednesdays, Thursday and Saturdays, 10.30am- 4.30pm and Every 2nd and 4th
    Sunday, 1-4.30pm 201

    Unley Road, Unley SA 5061
    Phone 8272 4222 or email saghs.admin@saghs.org.au or visit saghs.org.au.


    State Library of South Australia (SLSA)

    Holds a large genealogical collection including South Australian, interstate and international resources.

    Monday–Wednesday, 10am-8pm,
    Thursdays and Fridays, 10am-6pm
    Saturdays and Sundays 10am-5pm

    Cnr North Terrace and Kintore Avenue, Adelaide SA 5000
    Phone 8207 7250 or email info@slsa.sa.gov.au or visit slsa.sa.gov.au

     

Collection

Our collection of more than 12,000 photographs and objects has grown from the generous donations of Unley people.  We love all kinds of photographs and objects.  If you have items related to Unley that you would like to donate for the preservation of our recent and past history please feel free to email images to us or make an appointment with the Museum Curator to bring them in to consider.  In particular we are looking for advertising, domestic objects and clothing from the 1950s-1980s.

  • Search the Collection
    You can search the Museum's collection through the Unley Libraries' online catalogue from the catalogue computers in the library or from your home computer.

    To search, simply select the Advanced Search option and type in your desired keywords then select Loc: Unley Museum from the Limits box and click on the red arrow to submit your search. If you want to view all of the Museum's holdings just put a * in the keywords Search By box and select Loc: Unley Museum from the Limits box then click on the red arrow to submit your search. Please note that as it will bring back every holding for the Museum the list will be very long!

    It is important that you note the shelf location for the item that you are interested in viewing. Photographs are available to view at the Museum during open hours. If you are interested in viewing other items in the collection, please make a time with the Curator, by ringing 8372 5117.
  • Would you like to donate to our collection?
    If you have an item you would like to donate to the Museum, contact the curator on 8372 5117.

    The museum accepts donations that are:
     
    • Associated with people, events, places and themes in Unley's history
    • Valued by sections of the Unley community for social, economic, cultural, religious or spiritual reasons
    • Demonstrate important social customs in Unley
    • Were once commonly available and represent changing trends in the daily lives of people in Unley
    • Designed, manufactured or used in Unley
    • Demonstrate important social or technological changes in Unley
    • Reflect personal histories of Unley residents

    The more of these categories that the item can fit into, the better it is for the museum and its collection. In deciding to accept an item the Unley Museum must ensure that:
     
    • The intending donor has legal title
    • It is free of encumbrances
    • It has clearly established provenance
    • It has potential for research, interpretation and exhibition
    • It has definitive documentation and/or relationships to other objects within the collection
    • The condition consists of minor wear or damage, minimal staining and no insects
    • It does not duplicate other material within the collection

    Since ALL of the above must be confirmed, items generally cannot be accepted when they are initially brought to our attention. Research and comparison to the collection can take time.

    If you are thinking of donating an item, contact the curator by phone on 8372 5117, to discuss your donation and make an appointment during open hours: Monday - Wednesday 10am-4pm and Sunday 1.30-4.30pm.

Friends of the Unley Museum

Interested in the history of Unley and the preservation of its local stories? Become a friend of the Unley Museum!

Members help promote the facilities and services of the Unley Museum to the wider community. They initiate and financially assist with Museum projects including research, promotion and conservation of its impressive collection of photographs, documents and historical objects.  Members receive up to date Museum news, are invited to special events, guided bus tours and meetings and support the growth and continuation of the Museum.
For just $10 per year for an individual, $15 per family or $30 for a business you can become a member and have an impact on the preservation of our local history.  

Contact friendsunleymuseum@gmail.com for further information.