Melbourne Rare Book Week 2018

State Library Victoria Books (detail)Now in its seventh year, Melbourne Rare Book Week has become a major attraction for book collectors, librarians and all who have a love of words, print on paper and literary heritage. Running from Friday 29 June to Sunday 8 July, highlights of the week include:

The remarkable library of Bishop Goold (Friday 29 June)
Behind this stern exterior is a man whose remarkable library included books from almost every field of knowledge: from educational to language studies, from mathematics to architecture, and from geography to history. Historian Shane Carmody is an entertaining speaker who will explore the cultural legacy of James Alipius Goold (1812-1884), first Catholic Bishop of Melbourne.

Fanfrolicano: collecting and collectors (Saturday 30 June)
Australian art lovers know of Norman Lindsay and his pen drawings, etchings, watercolours and oil paintings, some of which were highly controversial. Book collectors are familiar with his novels and book illustrations, including his much-loved children’s book, The Magic Pudding. In this talk, John Arnold will talk about the formation of the Fanfrolico Press by P. R. Stephenson, John Kirtley, and Norman’s son, Jack Lindsay. He will mention some of the books illustrated by Norman for the Press and highlight some of the major Australian collectors of Fanfrolicano.

Brief Encounters. Literary travellers in Australia (Saturday 30 June)
Many literary giants have visited Australia and recorded their observations. Was Darwin impressed with what he saw? Did Kipling prefer Melbourne or Sydney? Why did Trollope stay so long? Was Mark Twain’s humour appreciated? Why was Conan Doyle here? Author Susannah Fullerton and book collector Chris Browne have the answers.

Rare score an ode to music (Monday 2 July)
Euterpe – a cantata composed by Charles Horsley with libretto by Australian poet, Henry Kendall, was first performed at the opening of the new Melbourne Town Hall on 9 August 1870 and again in 1876 at the Crystal Palace, London. The conductor’s full score and the instrumental parts, most of which only ever existed in hand-written versions, ‘went missing’ in about 1890 and only turned up in a locked room at the Melba Conservatorium in about 2010. The conductor’s full score is nearly 180 pages of handwritten MS, with the dedication on the presentation to Amess in the flyleaf, and, as far as is known, only exists in a single copy. Rod Reynolds will talk about this rare piece of music, and he will overview the 61,000+ items in the Royal Melbourne Philharmonic Library.

The music of war (Monday 2 July)
Amidst the horrors and heartache of war, music has played an important role in raising and maintaining morale, as well as being used as a means of spreading propaganda. In this talk, Major General (Ret’d) Michael O’Brien CSC [who is also known as Mike O’Brien, of Bradstreet’s Books] will illustrated examples of popular sheet music from the first and second world wars. A musical component is promised.

Moveable and pop-up books (Tuesday 3 July)
Pop-up books invite readers to participate in story, combining imaginative inspiration in pictures and text with moveable parts. This presentation by Juliet O’Conor, Children’s Research Librarian at State Library Victoria explores developments in paper engineering from concertina books to complex pop-ups from the 19th century to today, showcasing early works published by Ernest Nister and Raphael Tuck, and contemporary creations by Robert Sabuda, David Carter, Sam Ita and David Pelham. Please note: this talk is for an adult audience.

Legal luminaries and their books (Friday 6 July)
The Law Library of Victoria brings together a discussion panel of eminent members of the legal community to share their passion for books. Held annually in the iconic Supreme Court Library, this session is intended to celebrate the richness of the written word and the beauty of the book. After the presentations, audience members will be invited to offer questions to the panel to stimulate further discussion.

Melbourne Rare Book Fair (Friday 6 – Sunday 8 July)
Thirty-two Australian and international antiquarian booksellers will offer a rich and diverse array of items catering for all who genuinely love print on paper and who share a passion for books. Held in the historic Wilson Hall at the University of Melbourne, millions of dollars worth of rare and collectible books, maps, photographs and manuscript material will be on offer at this major event in the Australian antiquarian book calendar, at prices to suit all levels of collecting.

The 2018 Melbourne Rare Book Week runs 29 June to 8 July. For more information and complete program, visit: for details.

Image: Rare Books at State Library Victoria (supplied)