The Ian Potter Queen’s Hall is State Library Victoria's original reading room.

Closed to the public since 2003, Vision 2020 will unlock this majestic hall and open it to the public once again.

Returning it to a reading room, Vision 2020 will refurbish The Ian Potter Queen’s Hall, revealing its heritage architecture and celebrating its 19th-century decorative scheme.

The original skylights, covered during renovation works in the 1970s, will be uncovered and flood the reading room with natural light.

The 1860 decorative paint scheme, currently hidden beneath layers of paint, will also be revealed. Devised by Edward La Trobe Bateman, in collaboration with architect Joseph Reed, the scheme was inspired by Owen Jones’ The grammar of ornament and was different to anything seen before in Melbourne at the time.

By day, The Ian Potter Queen’s Hall will function as a reading room and house the Australian literature, chess and bridge collections.

By night, it will transform into a special event space, taking full advantage of its historic setting.

Features of The Ian Potter Queen’s Hall include:

  • ceiling skylights, letting the natural light flood in
  • a new staircase between the reading room and mezzanine
  • revealing the original 1860s decorative paint scheme
  • installing a new lift from the foyer to the reading room and mezzanine level
  • audio-visual equipment, made available for day and evening use
  • toilets accessible from the reading room
  • timber floorboards and acoustic treatments
  • new glass added to Swanston Street and courtyard windows
  • improved lighting
  • new fittings and furniture

The Ian Potter Foundation is the lead philanthropic donor for the refurbishment of the Library’s historic Queen’s Hall through a $10 million donation from the Foundation, announced in September 2015.

The donation is the largest grant ever made by The Ian Potter Foundation’s education program and the largest donation ever received by the State Library.

Opening spring 2019. The Ian Potter Queen’s Hall room is available for bookings. Find out more information and get in touch with our Venues Team to discuss your next event.