Jun 29, 2017

A year since the courthouse fire

A year has passed since a fire caused by a faulty light transformer caused significant damage to the Courthouse Museum in Moonee Ponds.

27 June 2016. Photo by Suzanne Balding, Moonee Valley Libraries.
A year after the fire, 26th June 2017. Photo by Julia Marshall, MVL.
The great news for local heritage enthusiasts is that $1.5 million dollars has been secured to restore the 1890s building. 
27 June 2016. Photo by Suzanne Balding, MVL.

The Society has shown great resilience, continuing to operate out of the basement of our Niddrie Library branch. It will be wonderful to see the Courthouse renovated, operational and open to the community as Essendon History Society HQ once again. 
The courthouse in the 1970s or 80s.
Tax deductible donations to the Historical Society are welcomed, as are new memberships.

All the photos in this post are in our collection and can be found online via the library catalogue.

Jun 9, 2017

An underutilised resource for military history: RUSI Library

Yesterday I was lucky enough to be part of a tour of the Royal United Services Institute Library at Victoria Barracks, right here in Melbourne. The RUSI Library is a wonderful place that I must admit I knew nothing about, but I will be recommending it in future as a great resource for those researching topics relating to Victorian military history.

The collection at the RUSI Library is extensive, deep and includes many rare, even unique, items of relevance to Victoria's military history. Of course there are numerous published books such as military histories, unit histories and the like, but also maps (including some amazing silk maps from World War II), manuscripts, pamphlets, posters, sheet music and diaries. They also make a particular point of sourcing hard-to-find rare publications put out by individuals or organisations that haven't made them widely available whenever they can, making sure these rare documents will be available for use and research by others.

Unfortunately their catalogue of holdings is not yet online (they are working on it), but you can arrange to visit to check their computerised database which is accessible onsite. As the RUSI Library is at Victoria Barracks which is a Defense Establishment, they cannot accommodate casual visits to their library, but they are happy to welcome visitors with appointments (with at least 24 hours notice). And if you are looking for a particular title, and especially if you have an ISBN, get in contact with RUSI Library for them to check for you.

May 26, 2017

A few local documentaries...

You may or may not realise that we have a whole lot of online content that is freely available for our library members. The newest addition to this range lets you watch streaming videos, it's a product called Kanopy.

There's all kinds of films and documentaries on Kanopy, from around the World.

There is even local content. Check out Community Cop a doco from 2009 which follows a policeman at the Flemington High Rise Estate. Or if high fashion is more your thing, try Harry Halim & Betty Jackson & J'Aton to find out about the J'Aton label which started with a shop in Ascot Vale and now sell their gowns to celebrity clients worldwide. Our very own Avondale Heights Library even features, in an episode of the Sacred Spaces architecture series from 2013. Just look for the doco called Avondale Heights Library.

May 22, 2017


In 1881, right here in Victoria, the men and women of the Coranderrk Aboriginal Reserve took on the Aboriginal Protection Board, fighting to be able to continue to control their own lives and land on their Reserve.

The play Coranderrk recreates this Parliamentary Inquiry on stage. So if you're interested in Koori history, or great Australian theatre productions, or even better you love both, get yourself to the Clocktower Theatre on Wednesday evening.

Find out more, and book tickets here.

May 11, 2017

A beautiful book for building buffs

Came across this gorgeous new book this morning...

Called All the buildings in Melbourne... that I've drawn so far, by artist James Gulliver Hancock, it is brimming with lovely artworks of iconic and interesting buildings from all over town.

It is brand new and lovely, and so unsurprisingly we have a queue of folks waiting to borrow our copies. You can add yourself to our request list via our catalogue.