Inside the Reading Room

Christine Smith

Grovedale, Australia

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FEATURED in A World of EOS 06-11-2012
FEATURED in Heritage Listed and Other Trust Sites World Wide 17-11-2012
FEATURED in Tables and Chairs 25-11-2012
FEATURED in Light Up My Life 25-11-2012
FEATURED in Occupied Interiors 16-12-2012
FEATURED in Australian Capital Cities 26-07-2013
FEATURED in Melbourne & Victoria 03-09-2014

Camera: Canon EOS 400D, Lens: @ 17mm, ISO: 200, Aperture: f4, Shutter: 1/30

Taken inside the Reading Room at the State Li bray of Victoria in Melbourne, Australia. The library is listed on the Victorian Heritage Register (H0253) and with the National Trust (B427). It holds over 2 million books and 16,000 serials, including the diaries of the city’s founders, John Batman and John Pascoe Fawkner, and the folios of Captain James Cook. It also houses the original armour of Ned Kelly. In 1853, the decision to build a state library was made at the instigation of Lieutenant-Governor Charles La Trobe and Sir Redmond Barry. A competition was held to decide who would design the new building; local architect Joseph Reed, who later designed the Melbourne Town Hall and the Royal Exhibition Building, won the commission. On 3 July 1854, the recently inaugurated Governor Sir Charles Hotham laid the foundation stone of both the new library and the University of Melbourne. The library opened in 1856, with a collection of 3,800 books chosen by Sir Redmond, the President of Trustees. Augustus H. Tulk, the first librarian, was appointed three months after the opening. The first reading room was the Queen’s Reading Room (now Queen’s Hall), which opened in 1859. Temporary buildings built in 1866 for the Intercolonial Exhibition remained in use by the library until 1909, when work began on a new annexe building to mark the library’s Jubilee. This new building was the landmark Domed Reading Room, which opened in 1913 and was designed by Norman G. Peebles. Plans for the original annexe were scaled back due to the money running out and the annexe, to house a new museum were gradually built during the Interwar years in an austere stripped classical style. The reading dome’s original skylights were modified and covered in copper sheets in 1959 due to water leakage. The library complex also held the State’s Gallery and Museum until the National Gallery of Victoria moved to St Kilda Road in the late 1960s, and the current Melbourne Museum was built in the Carlton Gardens in the 1990s. The library underwent major refurbishments between 1990 and 2004, designed by architects Ancher Mortlock & Woolley. The project cost approximately A$200 million. The reading room closed in 1999 to allow for renovation, during which natural light was returned. The renamed La Trobe Reading Room reopened in 2003. The redevelopment included the construction of a number of exhibition spaces which are used to house the permanent exhibitions The Mirror of the World: Books and Ideas and The Changing Face of Victoria as well as a display from the Pictures Collection in the Cowen Gallery. As a result of the redevelopment the State Library of Victoria could now be considered one of the largest exhibiting libraries in the world.

Artwork Comments

  • Tom Gomez
  • Christine Smith
  • Chris Brunton
  • Christine Smith
  • kalaryder
  • Christine Smith
  • dgscotland
  • Christine Smith
  • Vince Russell
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  • Katey1
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  • dgscotland
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  • Arfan Habib
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  • ilpo laurila
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  • Maria  Moro
  • Christine Smith
desktop tablet-landscape content-width tablet-portrait workstream-4-across phone-landscape phone-portrait
desktop tablet-landscape content-width tablet-portrait workstream-4-across phone-landscape phone-portrait

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