Rare Book Collections

The Rare Book Collections (pre 1880) at the Academic Centre is spread throughout various Collections and locations, including the Irish Collection, the Australiana Collection, rooms at St Mary’s College and Newman College.

NEWMAN COLLEGE RARE BOOK COLLECTION

History of the Collection

Newman College opened in 1918 with a ready-made collection of books, most of which were donated by William Bowditch, a Church of England clergyman and distinguished scholar. On his death in 1917, Bowditch bequeathed 10,000 items on mathematics, natural sciences and sociology to Newman College from his personal library.

By 1919, the library’s holdings had grown to 20,000 items with donations from the personal collections of Reverend Patrick O’Reilly (parish priest) and Father D. Kelly (classical theologian and philosopher). The donations comprised a Dante collection, literature, biography, classical texts and commentaries on Greek classics.

Scope of the Collection

The Newman College Rare Book Collection comprises nearly 5,000 items, published pre 1880.

How to access the Collection

The Newman Rare Book Collection is housed at Newman College in the Oratory, Law Library and Rector’s Lounge. Access to the Collection is restricted due to the age, uniqueness and value of the material. Items may be used by scholars and researchers on-site by arrangement with the Centre Director.

ST MARY’S COLLEGE RARE BOOK COLLECTION

History of the Collection

Many of the books in the St Mary’s Rare Book Collection belonged to the original library created by former College Principal Mother Francis Frewin (1894-1982) at St Mary’s Hall. Other books come from the former Loreto Abbey, Mary’s Mount at Ballarat.

Scope

The St Mary’s Rare Book Collection comprises 860 items, which include works of theology, literature, poetry, art, travel and history.

Also part of the collection are 44 books from Sir Redmond Barry’s private library. Redmond Barry was a colonial judge in Victoria, and was also the inaugural Chancellor of the University of Melbourne, serving from 1853 until his death in 1880. He was instrumental in the planning of the Melbourne Public Library and its contents. He was a regular purchaser of books for both professional and general interest, and at his death his personal library contained over 3,000 items.

Access

The St Mary’s Rare Book Collection is housed in the Loreto Room at St Mary’s College. Access to the Collection is restricted due to the age, uniqueness and value of the material. Items may be used by scholars and researchers on-site by arrangement with the Centre Director.