||When the Public Library, now known as the State Library of Victoria, opened in Melbourne in 1859, the Government granted it £2000 for the purchase of art work. Consequently the Museum of Art was established in 1861 and the Picture Gallery opened in 1864 on a site beside the Public Library on the block bordered by Swanston, LaTrobe, Russell and Little Lonsdale Streets. The art collection held by the Museum of Art and displayed in the Picture Gallery was named the National Gallery of Victoria at the end of 1869.
The National Gallery Art School, School of Design took its first students in June 1867. In 1870 it was divided into two schools and Eugene von Guerard was appointed Instructor of Painting and Master of the School of Art. Thomas Clark was appointed Instructor and Master of the School of Design. The two schools were run as separate institutions – the School of Design prepared students for the School of Painting. In 1887 the School of Design became the Drawing School.
After World War II, a third department was established at the School to accommodate ex-servicemen and women who were training under the Commonwealth Reconstruction Training Scheme (CRTS). In 1953 the School reverted back to the previous system with a Drawing School and a Painting School. The National Gallery Art School ceased existence as an independent entity in 1973 when it became the foundation school of the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA). The VCA became an affiliated college of the University of Melbourne in July 1991.
Although the National Gallery of Victoria was so-named in 1870, the National Gallery School is most commonly referred to as the National Gallery Art School in archived administrative records held by the Public Record Office Victoria, and scholarly texts. Lucy Kerley refers to the School as the National Gallery School. Official correspondence in the Collection dating from the 1950s is headed ‘National Gallery of Victoria Art School’ and this title is used in McCulloch’s Encyclopedia of Australian Art, abbreviated to NGC School. Student magazines from 1948 – 1961 use the following titles ‘National Gallery Art School’, ‘Victorian National Gallery School of Art’, and ‘National Gallery School of Art’.
The New McCulloch’s Encyclopedia of Australian Art, 4th ed., 2006, Aus Art editions, Fitzroy and the Miegunyah Press, Carlton, pp. 1109-1112; p. 1193
Fennessy, Kathleen M., 2007, A People Learning: Colonial Victorians and their Public Museums 1860-1880, Australian Scholarly, Melbourne
Galbally, Anne, ‘National Gallery of Victoria’ entry in eMelbourne: the city past and present, http://www.emelbourne.net.au/biogs/EM01045b.htm