Museum Victoria

Museum Victoria has been creating knowledge, educating visitors and building the State Collection for more than 150 years. The collection is an invaluable record of Victoria’s environmental and cultural history, and with nearly 17 million objects, documents, photographs and specimens, and along with the museum’s visitors and staff, demands the best in fire protection.

Walker Fire Protection is delivering the Inspection and Testing of the fire services systems which incorporate the alarm, EWIS, sprinklers, suppression, portables and passive installations across the Museum Victoria portfolio of facilities which includes the three major State-owned museums in Melbourne – the Melbourne Museum, the Immigration Museum, Scienceworks, and associated storage sites. Each location is unique, bringing its own challenges, complexities and criticalities.

This is being managed and delivered through the creation of site-specific, task-based maintenance plans, overarching asset management plans and a lifecycle register. The careful management of risk is also critical and, for Museum Victoria, this risk differs from site to site.

The Melbourne Museum is the largest museum in the Southern Hemisphere. It incorporates seven galleries, as well as the Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre and the world’s second largest IMAX Theatre screen which features a twin 4K digital laser projection system that utilises a Laser light engine (rather than Xenon lamps) to light the large IMAX screen sheet.

The large scale of a facility significantly influences the way fire safety maintenance plans are structured and implemented. The museum is, in effect, both a single building and a network of individual building spaces. Fire protection services must be managed in accordance with each area’s purpose. Having previously undertaken Integrated Fire Mode Testing at this site, in conjunction with A.G. Coombs Advisory, the Walker Fire Protection team is already knowledgeable of how the fire protection services can be effectively managed with minimal risk.

Carefully working around the displays and artefacts is also critical, especially at Museum Victoria’s main storage facility where a significant part of the State Collection is stored, including priceless artefacts and objects that can be thousands of years old! And where, interestingly, Melbourne’s very first tram is stored. Extra care must be taken and procedures precisely followed when inspecting and, in particular, testing the fire systems, to prevent damage from occurring.

Challenges also revolve around the nature of displays and the buildings themselves, such as at Scienceworks, where the Lightning Room offers 30-minute live shows featuring a Tesla Coil, capable of generating more than two million volts of electricity to produce three metre lightning bolts! It is important not to set off fire alarms. And there is extra difficulty in maintaining systems in heritage buildings such as the Immigration Museum, which is located in the beautifully restored Old Customs House; one of Melbourne’s most important nineteenth century public buildings, and the World Heritage listed Royal Exhibition Building; one of the world’s oldest remaining exhibition pavilions with its meticulously-restored opulent interior, expansive galleries and soaring dome.

Through its unique whole-of-life approach, the A.G. Coombs Group has previously confirmed their commitment to our objectives, demonstrated via A.G. Coombs Service, A.G. Coombs Advisory and Walker Fire Protection who have all been involved with our buildings, and we trust that the Walker Fire Protection team will deliver a comprehensive fire services outcome that is beneficial to all.

Chris Axton, Senior Facility Manager, Carlton Gardens

Contract Overview

Contract Name: Museum Victoria

Location: Carlton, VIC

Client: Museum Victoria

Contract Type

Service & Maintenance


Inspection and testing of Fire Protection service systems

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