Joy of Museums Virtual Tours

Virtual Tours of Museums, Art Galleries, and Historic 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

  • Cuneiform Tablet
  • The Batman Deed for Melbourne
  • “View taken from the spot – Bateman’s Hill” by George Alexander Gilbert
  • A Book of Drawings by Tommy McRae
  • “Melbourne from The Falls” by Robert Russell
  • Ned Kelly’s Armor
  • Ned Kelly’s Death Mask
  • “Melbourne from Emerald Hill,” 1870 by Robert Russell
  • “Melbourne,” 1905 by Laurence William Wilson
  • “Melbourne from the Botanical Gardens” by Henry C Gritten
  • 1956 Olympic Games Torch
  • Quotes about Libraries

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Cuneiform Tablet

Cuneiform Tablet

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 cuneiform script was written on dampened hand-shaped clay tablets, using a wedged stick, then the clay tablets were sun-dried or fired in ovens.

It is one of the earliest systems of writing, invented by the Sumerians, in the region of modern-day Iraq. Its wedge-shaped marks on clay tablets were made using a blunt reed for a stylus. The word cuneiform means merely “wedge-shaped.”

Over half a million cuneiform tablets are estimated to have been excavated in modern times. However, only about 30,000 have been read or published.

Cuneiform

Cuneiform is one of the earliest systems of writing and emerging in Sumer in the late fourth millennium BC.

Cuneiform writing began as a system of pictograms, stemming from a previous system used for accounting. In the third millennium, the pictorial representations became simplified and more abstract as the number of characters in use grew smaller.

The cuneiform script was used in many ways in ancient Mesopotamia. It was used to record laws, like the Code of Hammurabi.

It was also used for recording maps, compiling medical manuals, and documenting religious stories and beliefs, among other uses.

The Phoenician alphabet gradually replaced cuneiform writing during the Neo-Assyrian Empire (911–612 BC).

By the second century AD, the script had become extinct, and all knowledge of how to read it was lost until it began to be deciphered in the 19th century.

For centuries, travelers to Persepolis, in modern-day Iran, had noticed carved cuneiform inscriptions and were intrigued.

However, all early attempts at decipherment were largely unsuccessful until the mid-1800s. Today there are only a few hundred qualified cuneiformists in the world.

The Sumerians used a numerical system based on 1, 10, and 60. The way of writing a number like 70 would be the sign for 60 and the sign for ten right after.

This numerical system based on 60 is still used today for measuring time as 60 seconds per minute and 60 minutes per hour.

Cuneiform Tablet

  • Title:               Cuneiform Tablet
  • Year:               2050 BC
  • Find site:        Southern Mesopotamia
  • Medium:        Clay
  • Dimensions:   1 7/8″ x 1 1/2″ approx.
  • Museum:        State Library of Victoria

~~~

The Batman Deed for Melbourne

State Library of Victoria -The Batman Deed for Melbourne

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 Deed is the first and only time that Europeans claim to have negotiated their presence and occupation of Aboriginal lands directly with the traditional owners.

The deed describes a tract of country 40 miles in length or 500,000 acres covering land in the Melbourne area and along the western arm of Port Phillip Bay, including Geelong.

The deed represented Batman’s view that he negotiated to purchase the land from the Aboriginal people of the area for several blankets, tomahawks, knives, scissors, looking-glasses, handkerchiefs, flour, and shirts, with an additional yearly rent or tribute of similar goods.

John Batman, was an Australian grazier, businessman, and explorer, and he arrived in Port Phillip in 1835, he approached local Indigenous leaders with a contract, to ‘buy’ their land.

He regarded his negotiations as legitimate and created this deed. However, this transaction was one-sided. Batman’s claim to this land was based on European ideas of land ownership and legal contracts.

These concepts were utterly foreign to the Indigenous people of Australia. For Aborigines, the land was not about possession. They belonged to the land.

The land could not be bought or sold. Batman was negotiating with the tribal elders who weren’t in a position to sell their people’s land, even if they had wanted to.

The validity of the treaty has been widely disputed.

Some historians claim that the marks which Batman claimed were the signatures of the eight Wurundjeri elders were instead made by Aboriginal men he had brought with him from Parramatta since they resemble marks commonly used by Aboriginal people from Parramatta.

Map of part of New Holland showing the territory of Geelong and Dutigalla

Map showing the area of Port Phillip, stating that this is the land “Acquired by Treaty with the Native Chiefs, 6 June 1835.”

Batman’s treaty was almost immediately declared invalid by Governor Bourke of New South Wales. He declared the British Crown owned the entire land of Australia and that only it could sell or distribute land.

The Batman Deed for Melbourne

  • Title:               The Batman Deed for Melbourne
  • Year:               1835
  • Medium:        Paper
  • Dimensions:  35.4 x 67.7 cm, 4.5 cm.
  • Museum:        State Library of Victoria

~~~

“View Taken from the Spot – Bateman’s Hill” by George Alexander Gilbert

State Library of Victoria - Joy of Museums - "View taken from the spot - Bateman's Hill" by George Alexander Gilbert

“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.

George Gilbert produced a series of crayon drawings and watercolors, mainly of scenes depicting Aboriginal people. Gilbert saw a commercial opportunity in the public fascination with images of Aboriginal life.

This painting depicts aboriginal life by an early settler and artist that has been described as a “cultural colonist.”

Gilbert was also involved in several ventures to make daguerreotype images to sell back to England. The daguerreotype was an early photographic process of photography.

“View taken from the spot – Bateman’s Hill” by George Alexander Gilbert

  • Title:               View taken from the spot – Bateman’s Hill
  • Year:               1847
  • Artist:             George Alexander Gilbert (1815-1877)
  • Medium:       Watercolors on paper
  • Dimensions: 14.4 x 22.6 cm.
  • Museum:        State Library of Victoria

~~~

A Book of Drawings by Tommy McRae

State Library of Victoria - A Book of Drawings by Tommy McRae

A Book of Drawings by Tommy McRae

Tommy McRae (1835–1901) was an Aboriginal artist who lived in the Upper Murray district of Australia. McRae’s earliest known drawings date from the early 1860s.

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.

He produced and sold books of drawings; his illustrations depicted traditional Aboriginal life, including ceremonies, hunting, and fishing, with people and animals predominantly silhouetted in landscapes of sparse trees and earth.

His subjects included squatters, Chinese, and William Buckley, who was an escaped convict who lived in an Aboriginal community for many years.

Tommy McRae’s drawings are held by the National Museum of Australia, the National Gallery of Australia, the National Library of Australia Canberra, the State Library Victoria, New South Wales Library, and Melbourne Museum.

Tommy McRae

Tommy McRae (1835–1901) was an Aboriginal artist who lived in the Upper Murray district of Australia. McRae was a Wahgunyah man of the Kwatkwat people.

McRae recorded the establishment of pastoral settler society in his country while he was a laborer on rural stations in northern Victoria. Producing and selling books of drawings, some of which were purchased by travelers.

In the 1860s, McRae settled on the shores of Lake Moodemere at Wahgunyah. By 1885 he had four children, and between 1890 and 1897, McRae’s children were taken from him sent to reserves under Victorian government regulations, despite efforts to prevent this.

This evil practice has become known today as the ‘Stolen Children’ or ‘Stolen Generations’ and refers to where the children of Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders were removed from their families by the Australian government agencies and church missions.

Aboriginal Peoples

Dispersing across the Australian continent, the ancient first people expanded and differentiated into distinct groups, each with its own language and culture.

More than 400 different Australian Aboriginal peoples have been identified, distinguished by names designating their ancestral languages, dialects, or distinctive speech patterns.

At the time of the first European settlement in 1788, it is generally estimated that about 750,000 aboriginal people were living in Australia, in diverse groups.

A cumulative population of 1.6 billion people has been estimated to have lived in Australia over 65,000 years before British colonization.

The regions of the most substantial Indigenous population were the same temperate coastal regions that are today the most densely populated.

In the early 1900s, it was commonly believed that the Aboriginal people of Australia were heading toward extinction.

The population shrank after colonization to about 50,000 in 1930; this was primarily due to an outbreak of smallpox and other diseases plus the unofficial colonial wars/conflicts against the aborigines.

Today Aboriginal Australians comprise 3.1% of Australia’s population.

~~~

“Melbourne from The Falls” by Robert Russell

State Library of Victoria - Joy of Museums - “Melbourne from The Falls” by Robert Russell

“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.

The Fall, on the Yarra River, was vital to the small settlement, they were a natural ledge of rocks that prevented the saltwater of the bay from mixing with the fresh waters of the river.

The Falls acted as the boundary of Melbourne’s first port, which was located on the Yarra between Elizabeth and Queen Streets.

Melbourne yarra twilight.jpg

Today’s Melbourne at the approximate site of “The Falls.”

Melbourne from The Falls

  • Title:               Melbourne from The Falls
  • Artist:             Robert Russell
  • Year:               1837
  • Medium:        Watercolor
  • Dimensions:  29.7 x 43 cm.
  • Museum:        State Library of Victoria

~~~

Ned Kelly’s Armor

Ned Kelly’s Armour - State Library of Victoria

Ned Kelly’s Armor

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 Armor 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.

Edward ‘Ned’ Kelly (1855–1880) was a bushranger of Irish descent and is an Australian folk hero. 

Kelly was born in the colony of Victoria as the third of eight children to an Irish convict and an Australian mother with Irish parentage.

His father died after serving a six-month prison sentence, leaving Kelly, aged twelve, as the eldest male of the household.

The Kelly’s were poor and saw themselves as oppressed and as victims of police persecution. Kelly was convicted of stealing horses and imprisoned for three years in 1870.

After his release, he was indicted for the attempted murder of a police officer at his family’s home. After fleeing into the bush, he and his gang killed three police officers, and they were all proclaimed outlaws.

Ned Kelly

Kelly the day before his execution in 1880, aged 25

Kelly and his gang gained publicity after committing armed bank robberies in Euroa and Jerilderie, and after murdering a friend turned police informer.

In a manifesto letter, Kelly denouncing the police, the government, and the British Empire and set down his account of the events leading up to him becoming an outlaw. Demanding justice for his family and the rural poor, he threatened those who defied him; he ended with the words:

“I am a widow’s son, outlawed, and my orders must be obeyed.”

Pursued by police, Kelly and his gang, dressed in three self-made suits of metal armor and their bushranger careers, ended in a final deadly confrontation with the police at Glenrowan, Victoria, in 1880.

All were killed except Kelly, who was wounded and captured.

Ned Kelly

The capture a critically wounded Ned Kelly wearing his armor

Despite thousands of supporters attending rallies and signing a petition for his reprieve, Kelly was convicted and sentenced to death by hanging. Kelly was hung at the Old Melbourne Gaol, and his last words are famously reported to have been:

“such is life.”

After Kelly’s execution, some officials wanted to destroy the armor so that it could not be a focal point of further confrontations. Also not to influence impressionable minds of future generations.

Others argued that Kelly’s armor should be exhibited as part of a police museum. In the end, none of the three self-made suits of metal armor made by the Kelly Gang were destroyed.

Unfortunately, the individual pieces of the three amour suits became confused and split across different collections and owners.

After research on the providence of the pieces and agreed exchanges between divided collections, this suit is now in the complete state of Kelly’s armor since the siege.

The other metal suits worn by Dan Kelly, his brother, and Steve Hart are on display at the Old Melbourne Gaol and the Victoria Police Museum.

Ned Kelly’s Armour - State Library of Victoria

Kelly’s armor – Kelly’s Snider Enfield 0,577 caliber Rifle and Kelly’s boot worn at the Siege.

The World’s First Feature Film

Ned Kelly remains a cultural icon, inspiring countless works in the arts, and is the subject of more biographies than any other Australian. 

A silent film about Ned Kelly was the world’s first feature film. The 1906 movie, “The Story of the Kelly Gang,” was the world’s first full-length feature film. 

The film ran for more than an hour with a reel length of about 1,200 meters (4,000 ft), making it the longest narrative film yet seen in the world.

A commercial and critical success, it is regarded as the origin point of the bushranger drama, a genre that dominated the early years of Australian film production. Since its release, many other films have been made about the Kelly legend.

Its first screening was in 1906 and is alleged to have prompted some children in Ballarat to hold up a group of other schoolchildren at gunpoint.

This influence resulted in the Victorian Chief Secretary banning the film in towns with strong Kelly connections. 

Australian bushranger Ned Kelly had been executed only twenty-six years before The Story of the Kelly Gang was made. Ned’s mother, Ellen, and younger brother Jim were still alive at the time of its release.

The film was considered lost until 1998 when five short segments totaling a few seconds of the running time were found. In 1978 another 64 meters of the film was discovered in a collection belonging to a former film exhibitor.

In 1980, further footage was found at a rubbish dump. The most extended surviving single sequence was found in the UK in 2006.

The National Film and Sound Archive released a new digital restoration that incorporated the new material and recreated some scenes based on existing still photographs.

The restoration is now 17 minutes long and includes the critical scene of Kelly’s last stand.

Ned Kelly’s Armor

  • Title:               Ned Kelly’s Armor
  • Year:               1880
  • Medium:        Steel
  • Weight:           44kg
  • Museum:        State Library of Victoria

~~~

Ned Kelly’s Death Mask

State Library of Victoria - Joy of Museums - Ned Kelly’s Death Mask

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.

Kelly was born in the colony of Victoria as the third of eight children to an Irish convict and an Australian mother with Irish parentage.

His father died after serving a six-month prison sentence, leaving Kelly, aged 12, as the eldest male of the household.

The Kelly’s were poor and saw themselves as oppressed and as victims of police persecution. Kelly was convicted of stealing horses and imprisoned for three years in 1870.

After his release, he was indicted for the attempted murder of a police officer at his family’s home. After fleeing into the bush, he and his gang killed three police officers, and they were all proclaimed outlaws.

Ned Kelly in court

“Kelly in the dock” – A sketch from life, printed in The Illustrated Australian News.

Kelly and his gang gained publicity after committing armed bank robberies in Euroa and Jerilderie, and after murdering a friend turned police informer.

In a manifesto letter, Kelly denouncing the police, the government, and the British Empire and set down his account of the events leading up to him becoming an outlaw.

Demanding justice for his family and the rural poor, he threatened those who defied him, and he ended with the words:

“I am a widow’s son, outlawed, and my orders must be obeyed.”

Pursued by police, Kelly and his gang, dressed in self-made suits of metal armor and their bushranger careers, ended in a final deadly confrontation with the police at Glenrowan, Victoria, in 1880.

All were killed except Kelly, who was wounded and captured. Despite thousands of supporters attending rallies and signing a petition for his reprieve, Kelly was convicted and sentenced to death by hanging.

Kelly was executed by hanging at the Old Melbourne Gaol, and his last words are famously reported to have been:

“such is life.”

Ned Kelly remains a cultural icon, inspiring countless works in the arts, and is the subject of more biographies than any other Australian.

Nedkellysarmour1882

 Ned Kelly’s armor, from an illustration dated 1880

Maximilian Kreitmayer (1830–1906), who made the death mask, was a medical model maker and waxworks proprietor, who arrived in Victoria in 1856 and opened an anatomical museum.

Kreitmayer is believed to have shaved Kelly’s hair and beard and taken the mold of his face in the deadhouse of the Melbourne Gaol.

Ned Kelly’s Death Mask

  • Title:                Ned Kelly – Death Mask
  • Artist:              Attributed to Maximilian Kreitmayer
  • Year:                1880
  • Medium:         Caster Plaster
  • Dimensions:   28.0 x 21.5 x 18.5 cm
  • Museum:        State Library of Victoria

~~~

“Melbourne from Emerald Hill” by Robert Russell

State Library of Victoria - "Melbourne from Emerald Hill" by Robert Russell

“Melbourne from Emerald Hill” 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.

The city detail shows in this painting Melbourne Town Hall, church spires, the tower of Fire Brigade, St Patrick’s Cathedral and Parliament House, together with the stone bridge over the Yarra.

With the gold rush largely over by 1860, Melbourne continued to grow on the back of continued gold mining and as the major port for exporting increasing agricultural output.

Significant public buildings were begun in the 1860s and 1870s, such as the Supreme Court, Government House, and Queen Victoria Market. The central city filled up with shops, offices, workshops, warehouses, large banks, and hotels.

Robert Russell was born near London, and he became a surveyor, architect, and artist. In 1836, Russell was appointed as a surveyor to the infant settlement at Port Phillip, where he settled.

The range of Russell’s interests was considerable. His letters provide valuable descriptions of the early Victorian settlement.

This prolific artistic output is represented in many collections, including in the National Library of Australia, the Dixson and Mitchell Libraries, Sydney, the National Gallery of Victoria and the State Library of Victoria.

“Melbourne from Emerald Hill” by Robert Russell

  • Title:               Melbourne from Emerald Hill
  • Year:               1870
  • Artist:             Robert Russell (1808-1900)
  • Medium:        Painting, watercolor
  • Dimensions:  18.7 x 30.7 cm., 28.7 x 45.2 cm.
  • Museum:        State Library of Victoria

~~~

“Melbourne,” 1905 by Laurence William Wilson

State Library of Victoria - Joy of Museums - Melbourne 1905 by Laurence William Wilson

“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. Landmarks to explore include:

  • Princes Bridge
  • St Kilda Road (running over the bridge)
  • Batman Avenue (on the far right)
  • Flinders Street Trains
  • Victorian Confectionery works on the south-west bank
  • Boatsheds along the southeast bank
  • Trams and wagons on the bridge and St Kilda Road
  • Horse-drawn vehicles
  • People strolling on pathways
  • Accurate building architecture of the time

State Library of Victoria - Joy of Museums - Melbourne 1905 by Laurence William Wilson - closeup

Closeup of the painting showing Trams and horse-drawn vehicles crossing the Yarra River

In 1904 Wilson visited Melbourne to paint this work,  his patron commented on the detailed work Wilson undertook:

“Wilson expected to do the work in about three weeks … It took Wilson about five weeks alone to make his sketches. Everything was completed in detail down to the windows of every building, and everything was absolutely accurate… Wilson took five months to complete the picture.”

Laurence Wilson studied art in England before emigrating to Auckland in the late 1870s. He lived in Dunedin from 1884 as a commercial artist and painter of New Zealand scenery.

He traveled to Melbourne in 1904 to complete this painting and then returned to England.

“Melbourne,” 1905 by Laurence William Wilson

  • Title:              “Melbourne”, 1905
  • Year:               1905
  • Artist:             Wilson, Laurence William, (1815-1912)
  • Medium:        Painting, oil on canvas
  • Dimensions: 80.0 x 267.0 cm
  • Museum:        State Library of Victoria

~~~

“Melbourne from the Botanical Gardens” by Henry C Gritten

State Library of Victoria - Joy of Museums -

“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.

Melbourne was officially declared a city by Queen Victoria in 1847, after which it became the capital of the newly founded colony of Victoria in 1851.

During the Victorian gold rush of the 1850s, it was transformed into one of the world’s largest and wealthiest cities.

With the gold rush largely over by 1860, Melbourne continued to grow on the back of continuing gold mining and as the major port for exporting a rapidly growing agricultural industry.

The construction of shops, offices, workshops, warehouses, large banks, hotels, and elegant townhouses was at its peak around the time of this painting and can be seen in the background.

State Library of Victoria - Joy of Museums - "Melbourne from the Botanical Gardens" 2

A close-up view of the city 

The artist, Henry C. Gritten (1818 – 1873) was born and educated in England. He was a frequent exhibitor in Britain, and in 1848 he traveled to the United States living in Brooklyn and exhibited in America. 

In 1853. Gritten arrived in Australia, to prospect at the Bendigo goldfields, but soon resumed painting in Victoria and Tasmania.

He was represented at the first exhibition of the Victorian Academy of Art, held at Melbourne in 1870.

His artwork can be found in the National Gallery of Victoria and Connell collections in Melbourne, the Mitchell Library in Sydney, and the Commonwealth National Library in Canberra.

“Melbourne from the Botanical Gardens” by Henry C Gritten

  • Title:               Melbourne from the Botanical Gardens
  • Artist:             Henry C Gritten
  • Year:               1867
  • Medium:        Oil on cardboard
  • Dimensions:  35.6 x 25.7 cm
  • Museum:        State Library of Victoria

~~~

1956 Olympic Games Torch

1956 Olympic Games Torch

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).

The Australian city of Melbourne was the host city for the 1956 Summer Olympic Games, the first Olympic Games held in the southern hemisphere.

Officially known as the Games of the XVI Olympiad, Equestrian events could not be held in Australia due to quarantine regulations. Stockholm was selected as the site for the equestrian competition.

Unfortunately, there were several boycotts of this first-ever Olympics outside of Europe and North America. Egypt, Iraq, and Lebanon did not take part in response to the Suez Crisis.

Also close to this time, the Soviet Union crushed the Hungarian Revolution, and the Soviet presence at the Games led to the withdrawal of the Netherlands, Cambodia, Spain, and Switzerland.

Finally, the People’s Republic of China chose to boycott the event because the Republic of China had been allowed to compete.

1956 Summer Olympics (Melbourne) boycotting countries (blue)

1956 Melbourne Olympics boycotting countries in blue

The Olympic Flame was relayed to Melbourne after being lit at Olympia, Greece as follows:

  • Greek runners took the flame from Olympia to Athens’ airport.
  • The flame was transferred to a miner’s lamp, to be flown by Qantas plane to Darwin, Australia.
  • A Royal Australian Air Force jet bomber flew it to Cairns, Queensland.
  • Runners relaid the flame down the east coast of Australia to Melbourne.

When the Olympic Flame was being carried to Sydney, Australian students from the University of Sydney, organized to carry a fake Olympic Flame which fooled the mayor of Sydney.

 This incident became known as the “1956 Olympic Flame Hoax” and was planned to protest against the Olympic Flame. One reason for this protest was that the Nazis invented the torch relay for the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin, Germany.

The fake torch was made of a wooden chair leg painted silver, on top of which was a plum pudding can. A pair of underpants was put inside the can, soaked in kerosene and set on fire.

When the fake torch-bearer returned to university for an exam, he was given a standing ovation by fellow students.

Despite and probably because of, the international tensions, boycotts, and controversies, the Melbourne Games introduced a tradition for the closing ceremony.

Instead of marching as teams, behind their national flags, the athletes were allowed to mingle with one another as they paraded into the arena for the last ceremony. A new Olympic tradition that has been followed ever since.

Top 3 Countries in the 1956 Summer Olympics

  • Ranked 1:  Soviet Union  – 37 Gold
  • Ranked 2:  United States – 32 Gold
  • Ranked 3:  Australia – 13 Gold

1956 Olympic Games Torch

  • Title:               1956 Olympic Games Torch
  • Year:               1956
  • Medium:        Diecast aluminum
  • Weight:          3 pounds (1.8 kg).
  • Museum:        State Library of Victoria

The State Library of Victoria

Explore Melbourne Museums

Library Quotes

~~~

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

~~~

“Your library is your paradise.”
– Erasmus

~~~

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

~~~

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

~~~

“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

~~~

“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

~~~

“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

~~~

“Your library is your paradise.”
– Erasmus

~~~


Photo Credit: GM

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