On June 30, 1979 it became part of the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology.
During the 1920s, Melbourne businessman Sir William McPherson donated £25,000 (≈AU$1.5 million today) towards the establishment of a college of domestic science excusively for women; which was later named in honour of his wife Lady Emily McPherson.
The building opened in 1927, and was designed by then state architect Evan Smith, in simplified Neo-Grec architecture and Beaux-Arts style. The Ethel McPherson Wing opened in 1950, and was designed by then state architect Percy Everett.
The College, on the corner of Russell Street and Victoria Street adjacent to the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, was officially opened on April 27 in 1927 by Her Royal Highness Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, the Duchess of York, during a royal visit to Australia by her and her husband, His Royal Highness Prince Albert, the Duke of York, later King George VI.
The Age newspaper later estimated that a crowd of 5,000 people and dignitaries gathered outside the new College, with a guard of honour formed by students from schools as far afield as Ballarat and Bendigo, to witness the Duchess officially open the College with a gold key and unveil a commemorative plaque and bust of Lady McPherson:
Dr Ethel Osborne, whom had invited the Duchess to open the College, then presented her with the first diploma issued by the College stating that the Duchess "had set all Australians an example of home life". Upon accepting the diploma, the Duchess thanked Dr Osborne and said "it will always be a delightful memento but one of which I am afraid I am not worthy!".
On June 30 in 1979, the building was amalgamated with the nearby expanding Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT). Today, it remains a part of the RMIT City campus, and is currently being refurbished to house the RMIT Graduate School of Business, with an expected completion in 2009.