• arts & culture

10 September 2015

A $10 million donation from the Ian Potter Foundation will contribute to the restoration and reopening of the historic Queen's Hall at the State Library of Victoria.

In honour of the donation - the largest ever received by the State Library - the 156-year old hall will be renamed the Ian Potter Queen's Hall.

The Melbourne-based Ian Potter Foundation was established by Australian financier, businessman and philanthropist Sir Ian Potter (1902-1994). It is now one of Australia's major philanthropic foundations and has a 50 year history of support for State Library Victoria.

The Queen's Hall restoration is a key feature in the Library's $83.1 million redevelopment. In the 2015-16 State Budget, the Victorian Government contributed $55.4m to the project, with the remaining funds to be raised by the State Library.  

Queen's Hall opened on Queen Victoria's birthday in 1859. The hall and the foyer below it were part of the original Melbourne Public Library building. As the Library expanded, the hall was used by Museum Victoria and as an Arts, Music and Performing Arts Library. Since 2003 it has been closed to the public except for special events.

The restoration project will restore the heritage features of the hall, including revealing spectacular skylights, and return it to use as a public reading room and a reception space.

The full redevelopment project, which is due to commence construction in 2017 and be completed in 2020, will include the restoration and reopening of the  Russell Street entrance to the Library. The project will also establish new spaces for early learning, digital media, entrepreneurship and exhibitions and an e-Town Hall which will connect regional public libraries with the State Library.

Read more about the State Library Redevelopment