Along with the Parliament House, the Old Treasury Building is the representation of what Melbourne first looked like in the 1850's.
The building was designed by a young 19 year old architect named John James Clark who immigrated to Australia from Liverpool.
The structure was initially built to store the gold flooding into Melbourne from the gold fields in vaults that occupy the basement of the building, while the rooms in the upper floors were offices for the Governor, Premier, Treasurer and other important government officials.
Eventually, around 1877 or so, the official treasury building was moved and so this building became known as the Old Treasury.
Today, the building is a history museum displaying both permanent and temporary exhibits.
In April of 1852, the Catholic Archbishop of Melbourne, James Goold, was given permission to export from Rome 135 Old Master paintings. A few are displayed in this museum.
In 1869 "Welcome Stranger" nugget was discovered. It was the largest nugget found laying 3 cm below the surface. The nugget was taken to the bank at Dunolly, but it was so large that it had to be broken down on an anvil at a local blacksmith's before it could fit on the bank's scale. After smelting it yielded 2,302 ounces (~71kg) of solid gold. The public was so interested in large gold nuggets that replicas were often made. This is the replica of the nugget made from painted plaster of Paris.
A sampling of the temporary exhibit called 'Wayward Women" related to women who did not fit the stereotype of demure Victorian womanhood.