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History – Menzies Virtual
February 12, 2020

he Menzies Virtual Museum was launched on 13 September 2002 by the Hon. John Howard, MP, Prime Minister of Australia, at “Clarendon Terrace”, the East Melbourne headquarters of the Sir Robert Menzies Memorial Foundation.  The following text written in 2002 is provided as background for this project.

When the Sir Robert Menzies Memorial Foundation restored “Clarendon Terrace” for the National Trust in 1981, a museum of Menzies memorabilia was high amongst future aims. In the event, insufficient material was available to achieve this aim on site and other options were explored. The first was the creation of the splendid “Menzies in his time” video in 1994, the centenary of Sir Robert Menzies’ birth.

Discussions were held in 1995 with Steve Bowman Studios and Mr Itiel Bereson as a consultant regarding the creation of a multi-site, interactive educational facility including a physical timeline to be accessed at “Clarendon Terrace”. The Board considered the proposal from Steve Bowman Studios and, although the value was freely acknowledged, early estimates of the cost and a later feasiblity study put such a project beyond the reach of the Foundation.

In December 1997, the Menzies Foundation’s Board of Directors agreed to a proposal from the Executive Director, Dr Eric Wigglesworth, that an educational facility to honour Sir Robert Menzies should be developed on the Foundation’s web site. That proposal has been progressed as an independent web site by the current Secretariat, Professor John Coghlan (Executive Director) and Ms Sandra Mackenzie (General Manager).

The Menzies Virtual Museum is an educational resource which documents the life and achievements of Sir Robert Menzies. The site is a time line spanning Sir Robert’s life from 1894 to 1978. It contains more than 750 images, several sound and film clips and more than 80,000 words of supporting text including “The Forgotten People” essays.

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