The Melbourne Observatory Collection comprises over 400 objects and images relating to the operation of Melbourne Observatory from 1863 to 1944. It includes large telescopes, other astronomical instruments, clocks, and scientific instruments relating to the Observatory's work in meteorology, geomagnetism, seismology, geodetic surveying and weights and measures administration. There is also a selection of photos relating to the Observatory's work, including photos of buildings, instruments and observational photos.
The majority of the collection was transferred to the Industrial & Technological Museum (now part of Museum Victoria) following the Observatory's closure in 1944. The Museum oversaw the remaining astronomical instruments in the former Observatory site for many years during the 1950s and 1960s, which were retained for public viewing and use by the Astronomical Society of Victoria. Several smaller groups of material were transferred to the Museum during this period. The Weights & Measures Branch, which continued this function of the Observatory, progressively transferred items as they ceased to be of operational value.
Archival material relating to the Observatory is primarily held by the Public Record Office Victoria; some material that was sent to Mount Stromlo Observatory in 1944-45 is now held in the Australian Archives, Canberra. Several small groups of archives have been acquired by the Museum.
Astronomical Instruments, Astronomy, Barometers, Clock & Watchmaking, Comets, Eclipses, Expeditions, Galaxies, Geodetic Surveys, Geophysical Apparatus & Instruments, Great Melbourne Telescope, Measurement, Meteorological Instruments, Meteorology, Navigation, Navigation Apparatus & Instruments, Observations, Observatories, Optical Apparatus & Instruments, Quadrants, Regulator Clocks, Scientific Equipment, Scientific Instruments, Scientists, Solar Eclipses, Standard Weights & Measures, Stars, Surveying, Surveying Apparatus & Instruments, Telescope Accessories, Telescopes, The Moon, The Sun (Stars), Time Standards, Transits of Venus, Weather Charts