A Travellerspoint blog

What a state this library is in!

Failed attempts, history of the written word and lots of books


On a quick side note we were just looking over our blog views because, to be honest, we're a bit vain. But anyway we noticed that the blog Penguin porn has become a true rising star shooting to number three on our most viewed blogs. What have you dirty buggers been googling?!

Well today started off as a bit of an epic fail. After having made our way into Melbourne city centre we ambled along to Melbourne museum, hoping to spend the day there, only to swivel on our heels on sighting the huge queue winding its way out of the front doors. Turned out we’d picked a school holiday to go on. Strike one. Neither of us fancied the prospect of being surrounded by screaming kids for an entire day so we set off for another on our to-do list the Victoria Police Museum. It took us a while to find it and the bumbling about; not knowing where we were going, was just the prelude, setting us up for failure number two. This was because it turns out that the Victoria Police Museum, in its infinite wisdom, is only open during working hours during the week. Strike two.

Luckily our to-do list still remains quite lengthy and so we were able to pick a third and hopefully final selection, if not we’d agreed to head home. On arriving at the entrance to the State Library of Victoria the adage, third time lucky, proved to be the one to follow as it was open. More than this there were several exhibitions going on and so we delved straight in. It was eerily quiet for the number of people there but then it was a library so only to be expected. We checked out some of the permanent art exhibitions that they have on display on the first floor that we weren’t too impressed with and after quickly breezing through this part we then moved on to the more impressive main reading room. It is a massive octagon that stretches up five stories surrounded on all sides by book-shelved balconies. The floor plan was nice too with long rows of old fashioned desks stretching out from the central hub toward each of the eight corners of the room. And to top it all off was the magnificent dome crowning the entire room letting the light stream in. Hopefully the picture below gives some idea of what it was like.


We then made our way up to some of the temporary exhibitions on the second floor where we quickly perused a section called “The Changing Face of Victoria”. Quick mainly because it was a rehash of what we had already seen in the old gaol (A day in the cells) and other historical places that we’d visited in Melbourne. After this brief glance we then made our way into an exhibition titled “The Journey of the Book”. It was a brilliant exhibition detailing the use of books throughout the history of the written word and their evolution alongside the needs of men both in intellectual environments and for entertainment. We had a great time strolling along the balconies, with the views of the main reading room to one side and the exhibition the other.

There was so much information to take in that by the end of the exhibition both of us had sadly stopped our usual museum technique of reading everything in sight and were instead only speed reading and stopping only on those bits that we found interesting. It still went on and by the end none of it was interesting as our brains were crammed and eventually we had to call it a day and make our way home, our craniums fit to burst. It was still a really good place to go and best of all free. The exhibition would have been good to spread across two days and now we’re sat at home, slightly recovered, we regret not having called it quits earlier and gone back another day.

Rex’s Rules of the Road

  • There is so much to do in Melbourne, so never fear if your original plans go awry, you can ad lib your way through the day if necessary.
  • State Library of Victoria is a great place to spend an afternoon, or if you check out the exhibitions before hand, maybe even an entire day.
  • Watch out for school holidays to ensure you don’t get mobbed by an amorphous, screaming mass of kids.
  • Check out Rach's Tripadvisor review here.

Posted by rexontheroad 22:02 Archived in Australia

Email this entryFacebookStumbleUpon

Table of contents

Be the first to comment on this entry.

This blog requires you to be a logged in member of Travellerspoint to place comments.