November 29th, 2012
Image: Giulio Bonasone, Juno Asks Aeolus to Raise a Tempest Against the Trojan Fleet, from The Loves, Rages and Jealousies of Juno (1531-76), engraving, image (sheet trimmed to image) 13.5 x 10.4 cm, gift of Dr J. Orde Poynton, 1959, Baillieu Library Print Collection, University of Melbourne.
This exhibition, on the ground floor of the Baillieu Library, University of Melbourne, displays prints about the Roman goddess Juno. Included are tales of her philandering husband, Jupiter; her forays into the Underworld; and her role in the Trojan War.
Floortalk by curator Meg Sheehan (Baillieu Library Print Collection intern)
Monday 10 December, 1.00-1.20pm.
The exhibition will be on display from 4 December 2012 to 31 January 2013.
November 16th, 2012
Image: Johannes de Frey, The anatomy lesson of Dr Nicolaes, after Rembrandt, (1798), reg. no. 1959.4361, etching, gift of Dr J. Orde Poynton, 1959, Baillieu Library Print Collection, University of Melbourne.
Johannes de Frey’s print is after Rembrandt’s painting The anatomy lesson of Dr Nicolaes Tulp which he created in 1632 for the Guild of Surgeons in Amsterdam. There is some thought that the book seen in the lower right of the image is Andreas Vesalius’ De Humani Corpois Fabrica (The fabric of the human body) of 1543. Vesalius (1514-1564) is regarded as the founder of anatomy. The surgeons in the image are fascinated by the book rather than the cadaver. In Vesalius and Rembrandt’s time both public and private dissections were performed. The cadavers were criminals or vulnerable members of society such as paupers. Public dissection was intended to be a dreadful punishment following the execution of criminals, and also a deterrent to any prospective felons. Dissection prevented a person from a consecrated burial and their body parts could not be reassembled in the afterlife. The cadaver in the image is Aris Kindt (Adriaen Adriaenszoon) who was executed for stealing a coat. So the lesson presented is both a scientific and a moral one.
October 26th, 2012
Image: Ray Jones, England, 1919, Ray Jones collection, 1981.0081, NN/2520, University of Melbourne Archives
The University of Melbourne Archive’s records relating to World War I are extensive. The official University records document the University’s involvement in the war, through research, mobilisations and public relations. Other collections of significance include that of Sir Percival Edgar Dean, (one of) Billy Hughes’ private secretary from November 1916, and the war diaries of John Neville Fraser, the father of Malcolm Fraser. The large collection of union papers document the campaign against conscription in Australia.
In relation to the experience of Australian soldiers in France, UMA holds an interesting range of documents. They include the diaries and correspondence of University students’ and staff, some of whom did not return. UMA also holds photographs, medals, publications and other memorabilia gathered by Australian soldiers during the war.
The UMA will shortly be launching an exciting new blog titled ‘Somewhere in France’. Using collections from the University of Melbourne Archives, French language students at the University will discuss the experiences of Australian soldiers in France during World War I – this blog is under construction and will be launched on 15 November 2012. See <http://umasomewhereinfrance.wordpress.com>
October 19th, 2012
Image: Stefano Della Bella, ‘Death on a Battlefield’, (c. 1646-48), etching, reg. no. 1959.4585, gift of Dr Orde Poynton, 1959, Baillieu Library Print Collection, University of Melbourne.
An exhibition currently on show at the National Gallery of Victoria includes 30 prints and rare books from the University of Melbourne’s Special Collections. The Four Horsemen presents images of death and disaster in prints, illuminated manuscripts, illustrated books and paintings from the 15th to the early 18th centuries:
The Four Horsemen: Apocalypse, Death and Disaster, 31 August 2012 – 28 January 2013, level 3, Robert Raynor Gallery Prints & Drawings, NGV International, 180 St Kilda Road
For more information see www.ngv.vic.gov.au/whats-on/exhibitions/exhibitions/the-four-horsemen
The publication accompanying the exhibition, co-authored and co-edited by the University’s Professor Charles Zika (Professorial Fellow in the ARC Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions, School of Historical and Philosophical Studies), also includes ten illustrations from the Special Collection’s Prints collection:
The Four Horsemen: Apocalypse, death and disaster, by Cathy Leahy, Jennifer Spinks, Charles Zika, eds. Melbourne: National Gallery of Victoria, 2012.
The book can be accessed in the University of Melbourne Library: http://cat.lib.unimelb.edu.au/search/X?SEARCH=the+four+horsemen&SORT=D&searchscope=30
October 12th, 2012
Image: A group of men in front of a locomotive at the Mount Lyell Mine in Tasmania, University of Melbourne Archives (UMA), Mount Lyell Mining and Railway Co, Ltd. Collection, 1975.0083, PA/241.1.
The 12 October 2012 marks the centenary of the North Mount Lyell disaster. The fire is believed to have started in an underground pump house at the Mount Lyell Mining & Railway Company mining site.
The disaster is the focus of a seminar co-ordinated by UMA which will be held in the Baillieu Library on 29 November 2012. Guest speakers are:
- Geoffrey Blainey, Internationally acclaimed historian and author of The Peaks of Lyell
- Andrew Reeve, Professorial Fellow at Monash University and author of Up from the Underworld: Coalminers and Community in Wonthaggi 1909-1968
- Richard Knight, Mining Engineer and Company Director, researching the question: Did the North Mount Lyell fire lead to disaster?
Each speaker will share their insights into the events surrounding the disaster.
The University of Melbourne Archives (UMA) has recently digitised the Royal Commission into the disaster where 42 men lost their lives. Their names listed on page 830 under the heading ‘List of bodies recovered from North Mt Lyell Mine’ serves as a chilling reminder of the impact of this event on the small community. http://repository.unimelb.edu.au/10187/15818
Mount Lyell Mining & Railway Company commenced operation near Queenstown in 1893. Photographs taken in 1899 by government photographer John Watt Beattie show Tasmania’s wild forested landscape; and the early beginning of the company and its railway. http://repository.unimelb.edu.au/10187/16047
Schultz, P. 2009 History of Queenstown West Coast Tasmania, accessed on 5 October 2012, www.users.on.net/~bilmac/disaster.html
University of Melbourne Archives, Mount Lyell Mining and Railway Company Ltd, 1974.0067 & 1975.0083
Wikipedia. 2012, Mount Lyell Mining and Railway Company accessed on 5 October 2012, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Lyell_Mining_and_Railway_Company
October 5th, 2012
September 14th, 2012
Above: Maker unknown, Model of the brain (dissected on wooden base), c.1900, gypsum, paint, wood. Harry Brookes Allen Museum of Anatomy and Pathology, University of Melbourne
As part of the Melbourne Medical School 150th Anniversary, the University of Melbourne is hosting three exhibitions under the theme, ‘A Body of Knowledge’. These exhibitions explore the differing perceptions of the human body through art in ‘The Anatomy Lesson’, and through the various approaches to teaching students in ‘The Art of Teaching: Models and Methods and The Art of Teaching: Clinical Schools’.
‘Models and Methods’: at the Leigh Scott Gallery, Baillieu Library, and Medical History Museum, level 2, Brownless Biomedical Library, The University of Melbourne, 13 September 2012 – 30 January 2013
‘The Anatomy Lesson’: at the Ian Potter Museum of Art, The University of Melbourne, 13 September 2012 – 30 January 2013
Information on floor talks: http://medicine150.mdhs.unimelb.edu.au/event/floortalks
September 7th, 2012
Thomas Bibby Guest arrived in Sydney in 1852. By May 1856 he had established a steam biscuit factory in Melbourne in partnership with John Barnes, trading as Barnes, Guest & Co. The firm began the manufacture of ship and fancy biscuits in a building in William Street and by 1858 the firm reorganised as TB Guest & Co. With continuing expansion of the business, a store was built at the William Street site in 1869. Following a fire, the factory was rebuilt and served as Guest’s factory until 1932 when the business moved to West Melbourne. In 1963 Arnott Guest Pty Ltd was created following a merger with another biscuit company.
Samuel Thomas Gill was commissioned by the architect to paint a representation of the second William Street building. Gill is best known for his lithographs of Victorian gold-diggings, but he was often commissioned by architects as he was capable of embellishing a perspective view of a building. This painting exemplifies his style with its solid architectural depiction and the spirited but somewhat naïve figures, animals and carriages.
While Gill’s artistry depicts the prosperity of the company, the stories found within the company records allow a vastly different insight into the working conditions of female industrial workers and working class conditions in general during the late 19th century.
August 14th, 2012
From the Duke’s and Orr’s Amalgamated Dry Docks Ltd collection, no date, item 1972.0042.0110, unit 59, University of Melbourne Archives
Living in modern times where advanced aviation technology has made travelling overseas and the transport of goods an efficient and relatively effortless process, it is easy to forget that less than a century ago these services were essentially performed by water transport. This mode of transport took a great toll on ships often travelling for months at a time in harsh weather conditions. The University of Melbourne Archives holds the Duke’s and Orr’s Amalgamated Dry Docks Ltd collection, a fascinating record of the engineering, maintenance and repair business of the maritime industry in Melbourne.
Today the old Duke’s and Orr’s graving dock at Clarendon Street, South Wharf houses the famous Melbourne icon, the sailing ship Polly Woodside. The dock shares a rich history in Melbourne’s maritime activity, having docked, cleaned, painted and repaired thousands of ships including those affected by the battles of wartime. It is also of historic significance in the field of engineering due to the fact that its wooden walls remained during reconstruction at the turn of the century, making it the last timber walled dry dock in Australia, and of its size, possibly one of the last in the world. This is said to be in part due to the choice of Australian Eucalypt whose timber is outstanding for strength and durability.
The collection encompasses records dating between the years 1878–1975 consisting of a variety of documents including minutes, accounts, time books, correspondence, share registers and other company related documents. Time books recording employee wages reflect the era’s economy and industry wage standards while correspondence with employees, insurance companies and medical practitioners regarding injury and accident reports provide an interesting historical understanding of work safety practices (or lack of) and protection in the event of workplace injury. Needless to say, there were a lot of slips and spills! In addition correspondence with Melbourne Harbor Trust, Lands Department, Customs Collector, Federal Income and the Tax Department provides details of Melbourne’s port operations. Docking registers, time books and cleaning books all list names of ships docked at Duke’s and Orr’s Graving Yard, linking employees to these jobs at certain dates. Along with the National Trust Library in Victoria, the Duke’s and Orr’s Amalgamated Dry Dock’s Ltd collection also includes a number of copies of published Registers of Australia and New Zealand Shipping.
An assortment of photographs provides a visual record of Duke’s and Orr’s and Melbourne’s maritime activities, depicting staff at work and posing for group shots, the immense size of the ships, impressive engineering machinery and the mammoth task at hand to repair the damaged ships. Visual records of the Yarra Bank serve as a rich insight into the history of Melbourne’s once close proximity between the CBD and its bustling port facilities, some featuring horse and carts along the surrounding roads.
The Duke’s and Orr’s Amalgamated Dry Docks Ltd collection is listed online and searchable via the University of Melbourne Archives catalogue, http://gallery.its.unimelb.edu.au/imu/imu.php?request=load&irn=110337&ecatalogue=on&view=details. Digitising some of the more fragile and significant records is proposed for the future. Duke’s and Orr’s Amalgamated Dry Dock’s Ltd did business with many prominent firms in Melbourne for which the University of Melbourne Archives also holds records, including Huddart Parker, J.B. Were and Son, Stock Exchange, Inglis Smith and Co. and McPhersons Ltd.
August 10th, 2012
Above: Joseph Lycett, Views in Australia, or, New South Wales & Van Diemen’s Land delineated: in fifty views with descriptive letter press, London: J. Souter, 1824-25.
This year the Cultural Collections of the University of Melbourne, including the Baillieu Library Print Collection and the Special Collections, are collaborating with the DAAO (Design & Art Australia Online) with the support of the University’s Australian Institute of Art History (AIAH). The DAAO is an open-source, freely accessible scholarly eResearch tool leading discovery of biographical data about Australian artists, designers, craftspeople and curators. www.daao.org.au
This University-supported academic database builds upon the comprehensive research directed by Professor Joan Kerr for the Dictionary of Australian Artists, first published in 1984 and followed by an enlarged edition in 1992.
A specific project of collaboration between the Baillieu Library Special Collections and the DAAO has focussed on the Library’s outstanding works of the 18th and 19th centuries that depict the natural history and topography of Australia. Indeed, the Collections’ early Australian plate books provide a significant visual record of Australian colonial history. Recently, a prominent gathering of these works has been listed on the DAAO in the biographical entries of their artistic creators, with links back to the Specials Collections and the Library catalogue. Notable examples include Joseph Lycett’s Views in Australia (1824-25), Conrad Martens’ Sketches in the environs of Sydney (1850), S.T. Gill’s Sketches in Victoria (c.1855) and a collection of works by Louisa Anne Meredith, drawing upon the University’s comprehensive holdings of her work. In effect, this year’s inaugural collaboration between the DAAO and the University of Melbourne is making significant strides in further highlighting the historic treasures to be found in the Baillieu Library collections.
Also of note is another project with the DAAO that draws upon the Special Collections’ large set of artists’ books, in the process expanding recognition for this specialised art form.