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29th May, 2017

VAS 125th Anniversary

Victorian Artists' Society

125th Anniversary of the Opening of the Vic. Arts Today  


Students and staff of Presbyterian Ladies College at the Victorian Artists' Society today


The historical links of Australian art spanned 125 years yesterday  when art students from the Presbyterian Ladies College took part in a special drawing class at the Victorian Artists' Society to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the Society's heritage building in Albert Street, East Melbourne.


The Presbyterian Ladies College students drawing in the gallery


Walter Withers, a member of the Heidelberg school of painters and one of the original members of the Victorian Artists' Society, was also the Director of Art at Presbyterian Ladies College for a number of years and exhibited in the first exhibition of the gallery where the students were drawing today. 


Walter Withers Impressionist painter Director of Art, P.L.C. Photograph of Walter Withers conducting a class in the Studio, with the Principal, the Rev. S. G. McLaren, in the background, far right at Presbyterian Ladies College in Melbourne


The students also got the opportunity to visit the original art studio which is still in operation in its original state.


The students visit the original art studio


The Victorian Artists' Society, on the eve of the 125th anniversary of the opening of its historic building on 27 May 1892 by the His Excellency Governor John Hope, is also celebrating the opening of its $850,000 stage one renovation of the historic heritage listed building.

A recently found photo of the first exhibition in 1892 features paintings of Arthur Streeton, Jane Sutherland, Walter Withers and along with other documents and historical pictures were on display. 


Eileen Mackley, President of the Victorian Artists' Society with the Presbyterian Ladies College students and the photograph of the first exhibition held in 1892 at the Society.


The building, opposite St Patrick's Cathedral in Albert Street East Melbourne, and just a few minutes' walk from Parliament House, is one of the most important heritage buildings in the City of Melbourne providing the spiritual home and foundation of Australia's art history.


Students and staff of the Presbyterian Ladies College on the balcony at the Victorian Artists' Society today.

Opening Hours:

10.00am - 4.00pm weekdays
1.00pm - 4.00pm weekends during Exhibitions

All Enquiries:

Victorian Artists' Society: 9662 1484 

Media Enquiries:

Ron Smith,  Victorian Artists' Society Councillor and Convenor of Communications -
Mobile: 0417 329 201