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Joy of Museums

Museums, Art Galleries and Historical Sites

State Library of Victoria

State Library of Victoria

State Library of Victoria

The State Library of Victoria is the central library of the state of Victoria, Australia. The library holds over 2 million books and 16,000 serials, including the diaries and historical objects of prominent Australians, and the folios of Captain James Cook.

A Tour of the State Library of Victoria

Highlights of the State Library of Victoria

  • Cuneiform Tablet
    • This Cuneiform Tablet is over 4,000 years old and records the payment of taxes. This clay tablet records the delivery of taxes, paid in sheep and goats in the 10th month of the 46th year of Shulgi, the second king of the Third Dynasty of Ur, which is ca. 2050 BC. The day of receipt is written on the edge of the tablet. The earliest tablets record transactions of tax collectors and merchants. Later they began to record laws and texts on astronomy, literature, medicine, and mathematics.
  • The Batman Deed for Melbourne
    • The Batman Deed for Melbourne is often called Batman’s Melbourne deed or Melbourne Treaty. It was executed in triplicate. The first copy was drawn up by John Batman and William Todd in 1835. This is the first and only time that Europeans claim to have negotiated their presence and occupation of Aboriginal lands directly with the traditional owners.
  • “View taken from the spot – Bateman’s Hill” by George Alexander Gilbert
    • “View taken from the spot – Bateman’s Hill” by George Alexander Gilbert is a painting in watercolor depicting the view from called Bateman’s Hill, looking towards Mount Macedon in 1847. The spot refers to where the agreement was made with the native-peoples by John Batman. Bateman’s Hill was named after Batman, who, in 1835, explored the area and then claimed to have negotiated a purchase of 600,000 acres (2,400 km2) with eight Wurundjeri elders.
  • A Book of Drawings by Tommy McRae
    • Tommy McRae (1835–1901) was an Aboriginal artist who lived in the Upper Murray district of Australia. His Aboriginal names have been recorded as Yackaduna or Warra-euea, he was from the Kwatkwat people, whose country stretched south of the Murray River near the junction of the Goulburn River in Victoria.
  • “Melbourne from The Falls” by Robert Russell
    • “Melbourne from The Falls” by Robert Russell depicts the early settlement of Melbourne from the southern side of the Yarra River. The Watercolor painting includes the rocky bar that formed The Falls near Queen Street. Buildings are identified as annotated on the mount.
  • “View taken from the spot – Bateman’s Hill” by George Alexander Gilbert
    • “View taken from the spot – Bateman’s Hill” by George Alexander Gilbert is a painting in watercolor depicting the view from called Bateman’s Hill, looking towards Mount Macedon in 1847. The spot refers to where the agreement was made with the native-peoples by John Batman. Bateman’s Hill was named after Batman, who, in 1835, explored the area and then claimed to have negotiated a purchase of 600,000 acres (2,400 km2) with eight Wurundjeri elders.
  • Ned Kelly’s Armour
    • The Australian bushranger Ned Kelly wore this metal armor at the 1880’s siege in country Victoria, which was his last stand. Today Ned Kelly’s Armour is regarded as a significant Australian icon. That was not always the view. After Kelly’s execution, police officials feared another confrontation with Kelly’s many sympathizers, and many officials argued for this armor to be destroyed.
  • Ned Kelly’s Death Mask
    • This death mask of Edward ‘Ned’ Kelly (1855–1880) was taken of a bushranger of Irish descent who became an Australian folk hero. In the 1800’s it was common practice for authorities to allow the making of a plaster ‘death mask’ of an executed criminal, to conduct a phrenological analysis. The masks were placed on public display, and Ned Kelly’s death mask was an object of significant public interest in the late 1800s.
  • “Melbourne from Emerald Hill”, 1870 by Robert Russell
    • “Melbourne from Emerald Hill” by Robert Russell depicts the spires, towers, smokestacks, and buildings of Melbourne, as seen from near Emerald Hill. This 1870’s view is looking across paddocks with cows and horses towards City. The foreground shows two men on horseback.
  • “Melbourne”, 1905 by Laurence William Wilson
    • “Melbourne,” 1905 by Laurence William Wilson, depicts a panoramic view of the city of Melbourne from the Queen Victoria Gardens. Paintings of Melbourne from the southern bank of the Yarra have been popular since the city’s founding. This painting shows historic Melbourne at the turn of the last century. A detailed examination shows the city landscape of over 100 years ago and the evolution of the city.
  • “Melbourne from the Botanical Gardens” by Henry C Gritten
    • “Melbourne from the Botanical Gardens” by Henry C Gritten shows the city of Melbourne around the time of 1867. Melbourne was founded by free settlers from the colony of Van Diemen’s Land, current-day Tasmania, in 1835. It was named “Melbourne” by the Governor of New South Wales, in honor of the British Prime Minister of the day, William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne.
  • 1956 Olympic Games Torch
    • This 1956 Olympic Games Torch was used in the Olympic Flame Relay ceremony in Melbourne Australia. The design was, except the engraved city name and year, identical to the model used for the 1948 London Games. The touch was made of diecast aluminum and weighed about 3 pounds (1.8 kg).
  • Quotes about Libraries
    • “The only thing that you absolutely have to know, is the location of the library.” – Albert Einstein
    • “Your library is your paradise.” – Erasmus
    • “People can lose their lives in libraries. They ought to be warned.” – Saul Bellow
    • “When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.” – Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

The State Library of Victoria

Explore Melbourne Museums

A Tour of Museums  in Australia

Library Quotes

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“The only thing that you absolutely have to know, is the location of the library.”
– Albert Einstein

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“Your library is your paradise.”
– Erasmus

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“I’m really a library man or second-hand bookman.”
– John le Carre

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“An original idea. That can’t be too hard. The library must be full of them.”
– Stephen Fry

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“When a man wants to write a book full of unassailable facts, he always goes to the British Museum.”
– Anthony Trollope

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“I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.”
– Jorge Luis Borges

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“We may sit in our library and yet be in all quarters of the earth.”
– John Lubbock

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“I ransack public libraries and find them full of sunk treasure.”
– Virginia Woolf

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“Second-hand books are wild books, homeless books;
they have come together in vast flocks of variegated feather,
and have a charm which the domesticated volumes of the library lack.”
– Virginia Woolf

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“People can lose their lives in libraries. They ought to be warned.”
– Saul Bellow

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“A library is a place where you can lose your innocence without losing your virginity.”
– Germaine Greer

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“When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.”
– Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

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“When in doubt go to the library.”
– J.K. Rowling

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Explore Quotes

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“A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour.”
– Anon

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Photo Credit: GM

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