What's On

Current Exhibitions

Emporium: Inside Albury's Most Famous Department Store

Emporium recreates Albury's first and most famous department store Abikhair's Emporium. A family business run by Syrian immigrant Saad Milham Abikhair and his wife Shefia, the store quickly became known for its personal service, quality and vast array of goods. For almost 70 years Abikhair's was the region's mixed-class department store and a must-visit destination for men and women who could find something to their liking, regardless of their economic background.

Through the lens of this one department store, the exhibition explores the role of women in the 1950s, and the evolution of fashion from the early 20th century.

During the emporium's glory days, women were a household's primary shoppers who were expected to buy for themselves, children, husbands and their homes. The ability to make autonomous decisions about their purchases provided a huge amount of satisfaction for women of the day, and gave them an identity not usually afforded through domestic life.

Similarly, post-war Australia saw traditional skills such as sewing, knitting and baking become less important as a means of defining a woman's value. Increasingly a woman's skill lay in making the right decisions when purchasing goods to maximise her family's wellbeing on a given budget. Abikhair's reputation for good quality at reasonable prices was an important factor at a time when a woman's choice of department store reflected her personal worth.



 6 April - 23 June 2017

Thursday and Friday 10:00 am to 4:00 pm

Saturday 8 April 11:00 am to 4:00 pm

Saturday 13 May 11:00 am to 4:00 pm

Free admission to the Female Orphan School and Margaret Whitlam Galleries.


Emporium Exhibition Opening

Join us for the official opening of Emporium in the Margaret Whitlam Galleries, a touring exhibition from AlburyCity Museum. The glamour and optimism of the 1950s will be on show, with original beauty products, clothing and of course the advertising that supported them. 

To celebrate the opening of the exhibition, we have a special night planned of live jazz and refreshments in the breathtaking Female Orphan School on Thursday 6 April.

The exhibition will be officially launched by Whitlam Institute board member Patricia Amphlett OAM and AlburyCity Museum Curator Emma Williams.

Thursday 6 April 2017 6:00pm-8:00pm
Refreshments from 6pm, official opening at 6.30pm.
FREE - Registrations Essential

Gloves of Distinction

Admiration Aprons

Hi-Line Bra

Californian Poppy Hair Cream

Emporium: Inside Albury's Most Famous Department Store is an AlburyCity touring exhibition.

Emporium exhibition logos 

This exhibition is presented in the Margaret Whitlam Galleries, in the historic Female Orphan School. Please click here for details on how to get to the Female Orphan School.


A Changing Australia: The time of Gough Whitlam

A Changing Australia exhibition images 

The Whitlam Institute's exhibition, A Changing Australia: The time of Gough Whitlam  explores the remarkable life and enduring legacy of one of Australia's most significant Prime Ministers – Gough Whitlam. Step back in time to explore the dynamic, influential and tumultuous years of the Whitlam Government through some of the key objects from the Whitlam Prime Ministerial collection.

  • Free admission
  • Our regular opening hours are Thursday and Friday, 10.00am - 4.00pm, and the second Saturday of each month, 11:00am – 4:00pm (Excluding long weekends and public holidays).
  • East wing, Female Orphan School

Image: National Archives of Australia

A Changing Australia exhibition room 1

A Changing Australia exhibition room 2


Upcoming Exhibitions

To be announced soon


Previous Events

National Trust Heritage Festival 2015

Talk: Compassionate interventions: entering and leaving the Female Orphan School

As part of the National Trust Heritage Festival, historian Associate Professor Carol Liston from the University of Western Sydney explored some of the stories of those who ended up either in or out of the orphanage because of compassionate intervention.

The talk Compassionate Interventions: entering and leaving the Female Orphan School will be available for viewing shortly.

Lecture: Happy Birthday Triple J! 40 years of big sound and big impact

The Centre for Media History at Macquarie University and the Whitlam Institute within the University of Western Sydney, with the support of Triple J co-presented  a public forum on Monday 19 January 2015, with media and popular music historian Dr Liz Giuffre from the Centre for Media History at Macquarie University, to mark the 40th birthday of 2JJ. The talk is now available to watch below:


National Trust Heritage Festival 2014

The Whitlam Institute within the University of Western Sydney presented several events as part of the 2014 National Trust Heritage Festival. We filmed our two talks, which are now available to watch below:

Arrivals and Departures: The Journeys of the Female Orphan School Children

Historian Associate Professor Carol Liston from the University of Western Sydney tells the stories of how some children came to be at the Female Orphan School, and what became of them after they left.

The Journey to Restoration and Adaptive Reuse: The historic Female Orphan School

Heritage architect Megan Jones, Practice Director of Tanner Kibble Denton Architects discusses her experiences from stage one to completion of the Female Orphan School's progressive restoration.