The State Library in Swanston Street is always worth a visit, and particularly since the refurbishment of the dome in the main reading room has been completed.
Built in 1856, this is one of Melbourne's architectural treasures, surrounded by lawns, terraces & statuary. Free introductory tours (Mon-Fri & 1st & 3rd Sat of the month 2pm) & a free Arts Video Program, showing opera, classical concerts & art documentaries from the Library's extensive holdings (Tue & Wed 12pm).
Out the front stands Melbourne's famous judge, Sir Redmond Barry (of Ned Kelly fame) trying to preserve his dignity with a pigeon on his head and the remains of a museum sinking into the footpath ahead of him. He deserves his place as he was one of the original founders of this great public institution. Over the road at the Working Men's College (now RMIT), another great Victorian benefactor, Francis Ormond, must also feel a sense of pride and bewilderment at the passing parade in the city that he helped to shape.
Inside the library, you may be able to detect the small fossils in the marble stairway. This helps remind us that this building originally served as library, art gallery and museum.
The library buildings also contains the La Trobe Library - the important historical Australian collection of books and manuscripts (see our newsletter of 430 April 2004). It also contains two galleries - the Keith Murdoch Gallery and the Cowen Gallery.
Free one-hour tours are available: Mon-Fri 2pm, Sat 2pm (first and third Saturday of the month) - 9669 9067
Also a free Arts Video Program showing opera, classical concerts and arts documentaries from the Library's extensive holdings. (Tue & Wed 12pm) Mon-Thur 10am-9pm, Fri-Sun 10am-6pm