Share with :

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Digg
  • Digg

FOR THE LOVE OF BOOKS! - Melbourne Rare Book Week, July 16 to 26, 2015

Once again, Melburnians, Victorians and interstate visitors will be drawn to Melbourne for a week full of interesting, amazing and outstanding events dedicated exclusively to the wonderful world of rare books and book collecting. Melbourne Rare Book Week commenced in 2012 as a partnership between the Australian and New Zealand Association of Antiquarian Booksellers (ANZAAB), the University of Melbourne and eight other literary institutions. In 2014, over 40 free events were held at libraries, literary and historical societies and bookshops throughout Melbourne, attracting local, national and international visitors. Now in its fourth year, Melbourne Rare Book Week is well established in the City of Melbourne's event calendar. It is a major attraction for book collectors, librarians and all who have a love of words, print on paper and literary heritage.

Highlights of Melbourne Rare Book Week include:


Roy Morgan Research Rare Book Week Lecture

Thursday, July 16, 6.30 – 8 pm

Beautiful and valuable books, arcane terms and conventions, eccentric personalities – these are the mainstays of the world of antiquarian books. Kay Craddock will talk about her life as a bookseller over five decades, drawing on the fascinating history of the rare book trade in the second half of the twentieth century, when antiquarian bookselling emerged as a recognised profession in Australia and New Zealand.


Georgian caricaturist and Victorian illustrator - A prelude to S.T. Gill who was known as the 'Colonial Cruikshank'

Friday July 17, 6.30 -7.30 pm

Free public lecture by Sheila O'Connell, Curator of British prints, British Museum. S.T. Gill was often referred to as the 'Colonial Cruikshank' and this lecture will examine the artistic lives of George Cruikshank, printmaker, satirist and illustrator/collaborator with Charles Dickens, outlining his artistic development in the context of changes in British society and in the art world. Presented as part of S.T. Gill and the colonial world conference.


The Johnson Society of Australia

Saturday July 18, 2.30 – 4 pm

Professor Kate Burridge, prominent Australian and international linguist, and John Byrne, a Governor of Doctor Johnson's House, London, and current President of the Johnson Society of Australia Inc., will engage in a fascinating discussion about Samuel Johnson, his dictionary and its place in society as one of the most influential dictionaries in the history of the English language. John will show books from his extensive Johnsonian collection.


Tips, tricks and traps. The Bibliographical Society of Australia and New Zealand

Sunday July 19, 2 -3 pm

John Arnold has been involved in the second-hand book trade as a dealer and collector for over forty years. In this talk he will use this vast experience to shed light on the world of book collecting, covering topics such as: what is a book collector, collecting terminology, the physical make-up of books, how and where to find and buy books, and understanding seller descriptions.


The 2015 Foxcroft Lecture. State Library Victoria

Monday July 20, 6 – 7 pm

In this lecture, Donald Kerr, author and Special Collections Librarian at University of Otago, New Zealand, looks at the role of collectors in shaping public institutions. Without collecting there would be no scholarship. The efforts of book collectors like Sir George Grey, Dr T.M. Hocken and Frank Reed, and their generosity in giving their collections to institutions in New Zealand, means that scholars, researchers and the general public can view and use the treasures amassed. Their public-spiritedness has created a legacy of cultural and intellectual richness. Without the efforts of these patriots, libraries and research institutions would be much poorer.


Monash University Library

Tuesday July 21, 2 – 3 pm

Illustrated books delight children and adults alike. Pictures can often affect how the reader reacts intellectually and emotionally with the text. Stephen Herrin’s talk will be a whirlwind tour through the history of illustrated books, showing highlights in various genres and some of the techniques involved.


The correspondence of Helene Hanff's 84 Charing Cross Road

Wednesday July 22, 6.15 – 8 pm

Reader’s Feast is proud to present Debra Lawrance and Mark Lee, two of Australia’s finest actors, reading selected letters from Helene Hanff’s 84 Charing Cross Road. The reading will be followed by an audience discussion of their most serendipitous book finds. Book early for this not-to-be-missed event.


A bookseller's contribution to its history. By John Percy Holroyd, edited by Jeff Prentice

Thursday July 23, 4 – 7 pm

John Holroyd’s reflections on his career in the book trade, spanning several decades in Melbourne and Sydney, are presented for the first time in ‘The Australian Book Trade: A Bookseller’s Contribution to its History’, edited by his friend and academic Jeff Prentice. Launch of the limited edition, certain to become a landmark contribution to the history of the book in Australia, at Douglas Stewart Fine Books in Armadale.


Baillieu Library, University of Melbourne

Friday July 24, 3 – 4 pm

The rivalry between touring Shakespearean actors Barry Sullivan and Charles and Ellen Kean, sometimes referred to as the “1863 Melbourne Shakespeare War”, has received increased critical interest lately. The University of Melbourne’s Baillieu Library holds a virtually unknown or commented upon volume pertaining to an earlier moment in Sullivan’s antipodean ventures: a promptbook marked up for a slated performance of Antony and Cleopatra at Melbourne’s Theatre Royal in 1855. This heavily interleaved copy of the play includes extensive directions for mis-en-scene, music, and general stage direction, as well as detailed glosses on obscure words and passages, and extensive cuts to the published text. In this talk, Dr David McInnis, the Gerry Higgins Lecturer in Shakespeare Studies at the University of Melbourne, provides an overview of this unique document of Shakespeare performance in Gold Rush era Melbourne.

Melbourne Rare Book Week culminates in the


Held in the University of Melbourne's historic Wilson Hall during the last weekend of July, the Fair coincides with the biennial University of Melbourne Cultural Treasures Festival and the annual Open House Melbourne.

“ANZAAB's Melbourne book fair continues to grow and flourish”, ANZAAB President Jörn Harbeck says. “Last year's fair was attended by over 4,000 visitors, and more than one million dollars worth of items were sold. As a visitor to the Book Fair you have the opportunity to see, discover and purchase rare and unusual books, maps and prints, as well as manuscripts, photographs and other historical paper-based items. Whether you are at the beginning of your collecting journey, have enjoyed being on the collecting path for a while, or are exploring new avenues of collecting, this fair is the place to be to acquire items to be treasured.”

And he continues:

“Melbourne Rare Book Fair is a proud partner of Melbourne Rare Book Week. The motto of Rare Book Week is For the love of books. Why do we love books? Because like nothing else they teach us, they entertain us, they delight or they challenge us, sometimes all at once. There are not many other things in the world that can do that.”


July 16 to 26, 2015

>>> Click here to view the full program.

>>> For more information visit the official website.


July 24 to 26, 2015, Wilson Hall, The University of Melbourne

Opening hours:

Friday July 24,  6 – 9  pm

Saturday July 25, 10 am – 5 pm

Sunday July 26, 10 am – 5 pm

Admission free

>>> Click here to view the Book Fair Guide

>>> See the 2014 Book Fair Video

>>> Visit the official website

(Pictures: Melbourne Rare Book Week, ANZAAB)