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Features > Only A Footstep Away: The Melbourne Museum by Steve

Welcome to our new series, looking at ways in which you can get closer to the Neighbours.

Apart from being home to Ramsay Street itself, Melbourne also has some rather lovely museums. But we’re only interested in one of them. When the Scully kitchen was destroyed by fire in the 1999 Season Finale of the show, the old set was moved to the newly opened Melbourne Museum. It formed the centrepiece of a display about the show, which itself was part of a larger display looking at different forms of popular Australiana.

Of course, the first thing you will notice upon arriving in the general vicinity, is the blue and yellow kitchen set which played home to both the Martin and Scully families, until it was only recently redecorated. It’s pretty hard to miss, though it seems surprisingly small after seeing it on screen for so many years. A plaque on the kitchen bench explains the story behind moving the set to the museum:

You are standing in the kitchen from no.26 Ramsay Street, the home to the Robinsons, the Martins and most recently the Scullys.
This set has changed little from the time the show began in 1985. It was repainted in 1997 because Philip’s new wife Ruth did not like the colour scheme.
Prior to its transfer to the museum, the set was written out of the script by a fire in ‘cliff-hanger’ final episode of 1999. A replacement set was built at the Neighbours studio.

Also on the bench, protected by a sheet of perspex, are two Neighbours scripts featuring characters from the families living in the house, one from the Robinsons, the original inhabitants, and another from the more recent residents of Phil and Ruth. Another wall in the kitchen features a chart showing who has lived where on the street since the show began. Although a little out-of-date (it has not been updated since the museum opened 4 years ago), it still makes for an interesting read. Meanwhile, the fridge contains an item of memorabilia relating to the height of the show’s popularity – Scott and Charlene’s wedding cake.

Venturing through the laundry door, the display continues with displays of Neighbours memorabilia including magazine and newspaper clippings, and fancards. Of particular interest to fans would probably be the scribblings all over the backs of the sets, obviously left by cast and crew. These include “Beth Buchanan’s last day 7-6-91” and “Big Jim’s last day 19 March 1993 Well done mate 8 yrs”.

There is also a studio door – “Neighbours – Closed Set – Permission to enter must be obtained from Grundy’s Production Office” as well as a small mock-up of the cul-de-sac and a video, which constantly plays on a loop. The video contains the thoughts of many people associated with the show, including current producer Peter Dodds, as they discuss the incredible popularity of the show.

In my opinion, the display certainly has a lot of charm, but could do with a little updating. The set, which is obviously the biggest draw of the whole thing, is really beginning to look very battered, whilst some of the information in the displays is around five years old. Overall though, it is a deserving, if slightly small, tribute to Australia's longest-running soap.

The museum is located at 11 Nicholson Street in the Carlton area of Melbourne, opposite the Royal Exhibition Building. By public transport, trams 86 and 96 stop right outside the museum, while the free City Circle tram stops on the edge of the CBD, only a short walk through Carlton Gardens. Similarly, Parliament train station is only a short walk away.