About our collection
MGA’s mission is to promote excellence, access and education in the visual arts, notably through interactions with Australian photography.
To achieve this end, MGA develops and preserves a nationally significant collection of Australian photographs.
With such a focus, MGA is unique among Australian cultural organisations. Indeed, it is the only cultural institution in the country – regional, state or national – whose collection is focussed solely on Australian photographs. As such, MGA is a cultural institution of national importance.
These photographs form the basis of many of MGA’s exhibitions. They are also loaned to other museums and galleries for exhibitions, and are looked after by MGA staff as a highly significant cultural asset for the people of Monash and beyond.
Access to the MGA Collection for study purposes is made available on an individual request basis. Requests for access can be made by completing the following: Request for collection access form
The MGA collection has its genesis in the late 1970s with the Waverley Art Gallery, an initiative of the former City of Waverley Council. The Waverley Art Gallery was conceived as a place to display Australian and International art, and the municipal collection was very broad in its focus, encompassing paintings, photographs, prints and textiles. Initially, the collection was housed in a residential home in Mount Waverley, before relocating to the purpose-built, Harry Seidler-designed Exhibitions Gallery on Jells Rd, Wheelers Hill in 1990.
In 1980 an Acquisition Committee was formed to assess and develop the Waverley Art Collection, and in 1984 they resolved to establish a special collection of Australian photography within the broader collection. Today, the collection numbers more than 3 100 photographs, reflecting the history and development of Australian photographic practice from the 19th century to today. The collection is diverse and includes many iconic images and the work of photographers recognised as nationally significant. It has a number of areas of particular interest, including:
— photographs by and of Indigenous people
— documentary photography
— avant-garde photography in Australia, including abstraction,
— experimentation and performance photography
— portraits of significant Australians, especially artists