The Victoria Police Museum is one of the more interesting museums in Melbourne.
In the Victoria Police Museum you can learn about significant events in Victoria's and Melbourne's history.
There is the Hoddle Street massacre and Russell Street car bomb of more recent times, but also the catch of the infamous Kelly gang in the late 1800's.
Victoria Police Museum also holds two pieces of the Kelly armour.
Where to find the Victoria Police Museum
The Victoria Police museum is located in the world Trade Center on 637 Flinders Street, just off spencer Street. When catching the trains you'd best get off at Southern Cross station, it is a bit closer than getting off at Flinders Street station.
The city circle tram stops right in front of the World Trade Centre as well.
You can visit the museum every day from Monday to Friday from 10am to 4pm but not on public holidays.
The Kelly Gang
In the Victoria Police Museum you can find some interesting pieces from the Kelly era. Two of the most significant objects in the collection are two Kelly armours. Ned Kelly and his gang were bush rangers who got up to many crimes before eventually they were caught by the police and killed or brought to justice.
In the fight that was the end of the Kelly gang, the Kellys used heavy 45kg armours to protect their bodies and faces from bullets. Although the armours offered protection, the extra weight probably hampered them and their horses more than anything. Dan Kelly, Joe Byrne and Steve Hart died in the fight. Ring leader Ned Kelly survived multiple shots in his legs and arms (which the armour did not protect), but was sentenced to a hanging.
The two pieces of the Kelly armour are now proudly displayed at the right hand when you enter the Victoria Police Museum, along with a "Wanted"-poster which is the only one of its kind today.
More Recent Times
The Victoria Police gets involved in all the major events that happen in the state. Examples are the Russell Street car bomb and the Hoddle Street massacre. But even a very recent events like the horrific bushfires of Black Saturday (February 2009) is given attention in the museum. The museum puts a lot of attention to detail to make sure that events like these are presented respectfully, without sensationalising it and without making heroes out of the criminals.
Crime Scene Photos And Much More
An interesting part of the Victoria Police Museum is at the left hand back of the museum were a series of black-and-white crime scene photos is displayed. Despite of the sometimes horrific nature of what is displayed, the black and white photos come across as artistic and they definitely contain interesting detail and stories. Very fascinating.
The police force also had its share of memorable characters such as John Christie. Christie was a detective who was known as Victorias version of Sherlock Holmes.
All visitors to the museum will have the opportunity to view items such as outdated communications equipment, breathalyser, and fingerprint exhibition. Of special interest to many is the collection of old police uniforms and badges.
It is also interesting to find out that the first woman to be accepted into the force was in 1917. Another interesting fact is that eighty percent of the Victorian officers in the eighteen seventies were Irish. Who was Ned Kelly fighting when he claimed to be fighting for an Irish revolution?
It is on record that the police force was made up of 875 members in 1853. The present day force is made up of fourteen thousand members.
The Victoria Police Museum is well worth a visit when you are in the center of Melbourne.
It is not a huge museum so you will not find yourself spending hours there.
The World Trade Centre has a food court and coffee shops which you can use afterwards to discuss what you saw at the museum.
Entrance is free, although I encourage you to leave a small donation so that the museum can continue to do its work to show the events that have built up Victoria's and Melbourne's history.