Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Boroondara Libraries 150

In 1938 Hawthorn City Library moved from the Town Hall to this building adjacent to it. Many older residents have fond childhood memories of this building and the programmes developed by Mrs Carbines.

Mrs Carbines, librarian of Hawthorn City library from 1935 to 1960, established a flourishing children's service with many and varied activities as well as a bookmobile service which was much more significant in days when car ownership was limited. Her period of office saw the establishment of Hawthorn City Library as a professionally run, quality library service. When she died in August 1960, the Hawthorn Library was open 48 hours a week and over 140,000 loans were issued in 1959/60.

The following photographs show the interior of the library in Burwood Road.
Adult residents make use of their library on a wintry evening in 1938.

The children's library at the Burood Road Library was up steep stairs on the first floor but judging by the busyness the younger residents of Hawthorn were not put off.This photo from 1948 shows the new Junior Section.

Boroondara Libraries 150

On 27 July 1860, the Government Gazette proclaimed the municipality of Hawthorn. Hawthorn Library moved east to the first Hawthorn Town Hall in Burwood Road when an extension shown in the photograph was completed in 1862. The library opened on this site on 5 February 1862.

Apollos Slatterie, Town Clerk of the Municipality of Hawthorn from 1875-1882 and editor of the local newspaper, the Boroondara Standard, claimed responsibility for calling together the meeting of local residents which resulted in the establishment of Hawthorn Library.

He was also Honorary Librarian, a task he continued to discharge after his retirement as Town clerk and despite his blindness. He achieved his duties by having one of his many children on hand to fetch books for the library users! It is probable that standards were not too high, as in 1891 an irate resident wrote to the local paper complaining about the library not opening on time and spoke of "an air of decay pervading the library"!

Edward Morrison was Librarian for the Municipality of Hawthorn from 1900-1927 when Hawthorn Library was located in the 1888 Town Hall.
From 1902 to 1921 he was both "Dog Registrar and Librarian" but gave up his dog registration to concentrate on library membership from 1922! In 1927, Hawthorn Library was open 33 hours a week, there were 9000 books and loans per week were between 800-1000.

Children from Hawthorn Primary school celebrating Flower day in 1916 pose for the camera in Burwood Road in front of the Hawthorn Free library which was situated from 1888 in the Beswicke designed Town Hall.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Boroondara Libraries 150

From humble beginnings...

Boroondara District Roads Board,
the first home of the Hawthorn Free Public Library

This year Boroondara Libraries celebrates 150 years of continuous public library service. Hawthorn Library traces its origins back to the Hawthorn Free Public Library which received its first loan of 350 books from the then Melbourne Public Library (now the State Library of Victoria) on 26 July 1860. They were housed in the office of the Boroondara District Roads Board with Michael O'Grady and John Toon, members of the Board acting as guarantors. In November 1861, the Hawthorn Literary Association was founded and took charge of the library collection, still under the watchful eyes of John Toon, Secretary/Honorary Librarian, and Michael O'Grady, an active member of the Library Association.

John Toon
Michael O'Grady

Friday, September 24, 2010

History Week 2010

History Week 2010

Discover the wonders of Victoria's past.

24 - 31 October is History Week

To celebrate, why not spend the week travelling back in time, discovering Victoria's wide and wonderful past.

From fascinating walking tours and engaging discussions, to exhibitions and ‘history in the making' events -there is something in store for everyone to enjoy.

This History Week you can...

  • celebrate the 175th anniversary of Melbourne's foundation by discovering some of the key people and events that shaped our city;
  • indulge in Melbourne's passion for shopping, from the Paris end of Collins Street to the local corner store, at the 'til you drop Exhibition;
  • go trick or treating on a guided Halloween tour of the Melbourne General Cemetery;
  • reflect on Victoria's worst industrial accident - the collapse of the partially completed West Gate Bridge - through eyewitness testimony, photographs and moving footage taken at the time;
  • discover the oldest area of continuous Chinese settlement in the western world, meeting Dai Loong (the Big Dragon) and sipping on Chinese tea;
  • enjoy a Sunday afternoon in the countryside taking part in a festival of celebration for the 150th Anniversary of the Malmsbury Viaduct, and then popping into Kilmore on the way home for a tour of the Kilmore General Cemetery;
  • take a free guided walk within Victoria's first public hospital, hearing the stories about the dedicated people who have contributed to 162 years of caring for the community;
  • get a glimpse into working-class life in late 19th century Melbourne as you delve through an archaeological time capsule at the Melbourne Museum;
  • explore Victoria's largest and most visited war memorial and learn the fascinating story of the mystery of the missing Diggers of Fromelles;
  • take a cemetery tour with a difference, recalling some of Melbourne's macabre crimes on the "Mostly Murders" tour;
  • meet Wendy Lee, St Kilda's Neon Ice Skating Girl (Little Audrey's lesser-known cousin!);
  • visit historic Walhalla, taking part in guided town walks, ghost tours, a market and an 'open house' inspection of heritage buildings at the Walhalla Heritage Day;
  • ride on a model steam train at Scienceworks and check out historical vehicles in action;
  • spend a spine tingling night at one of Melbourne's oldest cultural institutions - the State Library - discussing the things that scare us;
  • hear how things have changed over 50 years of medical practice in Victoria;
  • research your family history with the experts at the Immigration Museum;
  • learn all about the Velvet Rebel, Jessie Webb, who was one of the founders of the Royal Historical Society of Victoria;
  • find out all about farming in the Plenty Valley and why it became known as Melbourne's Food Bowl;
  • and much, much more!

Monday, March 1, 2010

John F Kelly - the Mons of Deepdene

I recently read Robert Pascoe's The Feasts and seasons of John F. Kelly (Allen & Unwin, 2006) as part of my effort to read more books in 2010. John F. (or the Mons as he was later known) was born in Mansfield in 1910 and thus lived through an amazing period of the Catholic Church in Australia. He was an intellectual and book-lover who often at Lent tried to give up going to bookshops (he seems mostly to have failed in this ambition); his name was also synonymous for many years with the Catechism, the Catholic Education Office, with Pre-Cana conferences and with Y.C.W. (Young Christian Workers). His lifetime covered the Second Vatican Council, the Movement, the Labour Party split, and archbishoprics of Mannix, Simmonds, Knox and Little.

Whilst ordained in 1928 and having worked as a curate in parishes, his main work was outside parishes until 1968 when he "retired" to become parish priest of Deepdene in the City of Boroondara, where ironically he had as his parishioner, B.A. Santamaria. The Mons was at Deepdene until he really retired to a house he purchased in Inglesby Road, Camberwell in 1986. I had heard of John F Kelly all my life as my introduction to history was through the textbooks he wrote for Victorian Catholic primary schools and a large proportion of his library now adorns the Armadale presbytery where my friend Brendan Hayes presides.

I enjoyed reading this book, though at times I was a bit irritated by inaccuracies such as where Pascoe goes on about the Palace Hotel in Camberwell and the affects of Camberwell declaring itself a dry zone. No, Mr Pascoe, the Palace Hotel was only affected by the dry zone by getting an increase in business as the Palace in on the Hawthorn side of Bourke Road!
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