Isabella Fraser – A Brief History

Built in 1932 the building was first known as the McAllan Gallery, originally designed and constructed for use by the National Gallery for many years before relocating to St. Kilda Roac, proceeded by the Melbourne Museum up until it’s transition to Carlton in 2002.

The space over the years has undergone various transformations in that time, with the first design scheme in the space using tan architrave finishes in combination with dark grey brown wall surfaces. Undergoing a further three subsequent schemes in simple grey-green and cream finishes. During which it had been renamed the Bride Building, before falling out of public use for over a decade, kept hidden away within the various interconnected and previously inaccessible spaces the Library had hidden.

Original Plaque Dedicated to James McAllanReaching the halfway point of it’s most recent redevelopment, Vision 2020, the State Library Victoria is in the process of opening up 40% more public space when it’s restoration is completed in Spring 2019.

As a result the space has been given a new designation, the Isabella Fraser Room. Named after the first listed female staff member, Isabella Fraser, a celebrated assistant and forerunner of the industry at the time.

Isabella Fraser (1932) – State Library Victoria Records

The room is now adorned by a classic cream and white colour palette keeping in line, with the historical themes while bringing the space into a contemporary realm.

Watch the Library site development history video here.