Australian Music Vault celebrates five momentous years

Kaylah Joelle Baker

The Australian Music Vault (AMV) has celebrated five wonderful years of being a renowned part of Melbourne’s music industry.

Developed by Arts Centre Melbourne as a free permanent exhibition space, AMV has been integral in connecting people of all ages to Australian contemporary music, with the stories being shared through interactive and digital experiences.

“For five years, the Australian Music Vault has been working hard to amplify the stories of Australian contemporary music through our constantly evolving exhibition space and digital experiences,” Arts Centre Melbourne CEO Karen Quinlan said.

It’s this drive to share music in fun and explorative ways that made the late Michael Gudinski’s initial vision for the space so appealing.

As a highly commended music legend, Mr Gudinski’s brainchild was developed by Arts Centre Melbourne in support and collaboration with the music industry. The space is also a key initiative of the Victorian Government’s Music Works program.

Other AMV founding patrons, also of high standing within the music industry, are Ian “Molly” Meldrum, Kylie Minogue, Tina Arena, and the late Archie Roach.

It is through this collaborative effort with the music industry and its various notable figures, that Ms Quinlan said AMV had been able to “continue to cement [its] place as a must-visit Melbourne location”.


Since the music vault opened in 2017, more than 250 artists have been represented and more than 650 iconic objects from the Australian Performing Arts Collection have been displayed.


The exhibition space has also been a continual entertainment hub with its jam-packed calendar of creative learning programs, public events, live performances, bus tours, associated programs, exhibition changeovers, and touring exhibitions.

During the pandemic, AMV was also able to navigate the unexpected new challenges the music industry was facing through leaning into sharing compelling narratives about how the music community was responding at that current time.

Involved in this concept were the digital concert series Vault Sessions, which allowed artists to have paid performances during lockdown, and the video series Banding Together, with leading figures sharing their stories about the impact of the pandemic on the music industry.

Upon walking into AMV, visitors will see that highlighted objects are linked by four themes rather than genre or chronological order.

The four themes of AMV:

  • The Real Thing – an exploration of the Australian voice and the notion of the Australian sound.
  • Two Way Traffic – spotlighting performers who helped put Australian music on the world stage.
  • Agents of Change – artists who have been at the forefront of public debate, addressing concerns and issues that impact society.
  • The Wild Ones – artists who have improvised, innovated and followed sparks of intuition to propel the home-grown industry in new and exciting directions.

This ability to always keep AMV fresh, relatable, and updated has allowed for ongoing foot traffic around the pandemic, with the past five years seeing a near two million people visiting the exhibition and just over 140 schools.

“Melbourne is Australia’s music capital and one of the great music cities of the world. From celebrating music pioneers to the performers who power our music industry today, the Australian Music Vault is the place to celebrate, discover and share our music history,” Minister for Creative Industries Steve Dimopoulos said.

“What started as an industry idea, evolved into a permanent exhibition of Australia’s musical and cultural heritage, with the Vault, an initiative we’ve been proud to back every step of the way, ensuring our rich musical heritage is conserved and celebrated for Victorians now and for generations to come.”


Photo credit: Aus Music Vault at Arts Centre Melbourne. Photo Mark Gambino.

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