Professor Marshall-Hall was appointed to the first Chair in Music in 1891, but it was not until 1908 that an Englishman, Mr. A.E.J. Lee presented 1,000 pounds to the Professor "to use as he saw fit for orchestral work". This money was used to form the nucleus of the Lady Northcote Permanent Orchestra Trust. Orchestral music was purchased and the library was formed.
Whilst music has moved forward in Victoria, and the Music Library here has played a very important part in its progress, it is interesting to note that in 1933 Sir James Barrett, then Deputy Chancellor, stated in an address that the music library "now contains 670 orchestral works, and 780 chamber works... and no less than 58 orchestral instruments". In 1940 Sir James again states when speaking of the library "all that is now wanted in that direction is a fireproof library as some of the contents are irreplaceable... the library is crowded out and difficult to handle because of the mass of musical works".
The library has changed its location many times. One of its more noteworthy homes in the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music was a small downstairs lending library, commonly called "the dungeon", for it was in there, during one of its periodical floodings that, after much searching for the cause, the official explanation was given "that flooding occurs when the Maribyrnong rises".
Formerly known as the Conservatorium Library and recently named the Louise Hanson-Dyer Music Library, we are a branch of the University of Melbourne Library. In addition to monographs, serials, periodicals and collected editions, this library also holds scores, recordings and a choral and orchestral collection which for many years has supplied the performance material for symphony concerts throughout Australia.