Sunday 14 November 2010
Friends of the Baillieu Library Sunday seminar

Ground Floor Committee Room, Baillieu Library, University of Melbourne, 2.00–4.30 pm

Glorious Gardens: Books and Beyond

With Spring here, Melbourne's gardens are blooming and the perfect excuse, if one is needed, to celebrate the splendid books on gardening and related areas held by the Baillieu Library. Many of these were acquired for the collection by the Friends. As Sunday 14 November 2010 is Cultural Treasures Day at the University of Melbourne, this seminar will highlight some of the treasures, old and new, in the Library's collection. Three areas will be brought into focus on the day:

The Highgrove Florilegium: This splendid work, in two large volumes, was purchased by the Library and the Friends in early 2010.  Over the last seven years leading botanical artists from around the world were invited to paint examples of the plants and trees growing in HRH The Prince of Wales' garden at Highgrove in Gloucestershire. A magnificent limited edition publication, The Highgrove Florilegium, has been made from these watercolours. The edition is limited to just 175 numbered sets and each numbered set is signed by His Royal Highness, who also wrote the Preface. All royalties from The Highgrove Florilegium are donated to The Prince's Charities Foundation. We are delighted that one of the artists who worked on the Florilegium, Melbourne-based Jenny Phillips, will speak to us about this work.  

Richard Aitken is well known for his work on gardening including Gardenesque, Botanical Riches and Seeds of Change.  His newly published book, The Garden of Ideas (Miegunyah Press, 2010), tells the story of Australian garden design, from the imaginings of emigrant garden-makers of the late-eighteenth century to the interests and concerns of twenty-first-century gardeners. Especially for our Glorious Gardens – Books and Beyondafternoon seminar Richard will speak about his latest research interest in a talk titled "Nature and the landscape garden", drawn from a little known but important collection held in the Baillieu Library, the Robert Cecil Bald Collection.  

Men of Flowers(Peter Lyssiotis and Humphrey McQueen). This splendid artists' book, beautifully bound by Imogen Wang (Wayne Stock's Bindery, NSW) was commissioned for the Baillieu Library's 50th Anniversary and will be presented at our afternoon seminar by the University Librarian, Mr Philip Kent. Peter Lyssiotis is a Cypriot born-Australian writer, photographer and photomonteur.  His photographs and limited edition artist's books have been acquired by private collectors, libraries and galleries throughout Australia, the US, Switzerland, France, The Netherlands and Cyprus. Humphrey McQueen is an Australian author, historian and cultural commentator. He has written many books on a wide range of subjects covering history, the media, politics and the visual arts. 

Wednesday 20 October 2010
Friends of the Baillieu Library author's night in association with Melbourne University Bookshop

Leigh Scott Room, Baillieu Library, University of Melbourne, 6.00pm

Professor Robin Gerster: Travels in Atomic Sunshine (Scribe Publications)

Our October author's night, in collaboration with the University Bookshop, features Professor Robin Gerster and his award-winning book Travels in Atomic Sunshine Australia and the Occupation of Japan (Scribe Publications).  This work won the Australian history prize, 2009 NSW Premier's History Awards and was shortlisted for the 2009 Queensland Premier's Literary Awards. 

In February 1946, the Australians of the British Commonwealth Occupation Force (BCOF) moved into western Japan to 'demilitarise and democratise' the atom-bombed backwater of Hiroshima Prefecture. For over six years, up to 20,000 Australian servicemen, including their wives and children, participated in an historic experiment in nation-rebuilding dominated by the United States. It was to be a watershed in Australian military history and international relations. The Chifley government wanted to make Australia's independent presence felt in post-war Asia-Pacific affairs, yet the venture heralded the nation's enmeshment in American geopolitics. This was the forerunner of the today's peacekeeping missions and engagements in contentious US-led military occupations.

Yet the occupation of Japan was also a compelling human experience. It was a cultural reconnaissance — the first time a large number of Australians were able to explore in depth an Asian society and country. It was an unprecedented domestic encounter between peoples with apparently incompatible traditions and temperaments. Many relished exercising power over a despised former enemy, and basked in the 'atomic sunshine' of American Japan. But numerous Australians developed an intimacy with the old enemy, which put them at odds with the 'Jap' haters back home, and became the trailblazers of a new era of bilateral friendship.

Robin Gerster is the author of several books, including Big-noting: the heroic theme in Australian war writing (1987), Hotel Asia (1995), and Legless in Ginza: orientating Japan (1999). In the 1990s he taught at the University of Tokyo, holding the Chair in Australian Studies. He is currently Professor in the School of English, Communications and Performance Studies at Monash University. 

Tuesday 14 September 2010  
Friends of the Baillieu Library Annual Dinner and guest speaker

Upper East Dining Room, University House, University of Melbourne , 7.30pm

Judy Horacek, illustrator and cartoonists

The Friends of the Baillieu Library are delighted that Judy Horacek, one of Australia's best know illustrators and cartoonists, has agreed to be our speaker at the 2010 Annual Dinner.  Judy Horacek is a gifted and funny public speaker.  She believes that humour is a fantastic tool for raising issues, and the laughter at her talks belies her often very serious subject matter. Her talks are always imbued with her personal politics, a strong belief in the equality of women, a great sense of social justice and the belief that the world can be a better place.

Tuesday 17 August 2010
Friends of the Baillieu Library author's night

Leigh Scott Room, Baillieu Library, University of Melbourne, 6.00pm

Lucy Sussex: Saltwater in the Ink: Voices from the Australian Seas (Australian Scholarly Publishing)

Our second author's night for 2010 continues our close collaboration the Melbourne University Bookshop and highlights a recent work from Australian Scholarly Publishing.  
During the 1800s, thousands of people travelled from England and Europe to the new lands of the Antipodes. The voyage was a period of transition, a time of unaccustomed leisure and reflection. It produced a mass of sea-diaries and letters—we could call them Victorian blogs. Much of this writing is extraordinary: the authors, even those with little education, revealing a gift for narrative, observation and indeed entertainment. They write of birth, death, shipwreck, flirtation and secret adoration. Lucy Sussex has collected these voices, including: a bride of 16; one of the first men to play Australian Rules football; a woman running away from a brutal husband; another staving off a breakdown with drugs; a family fleeing imprisonment for debt; and her own great-grandmother, who was lucky to survive the first white settlement in the Kimberleys. These voices speak to us, a Who Do You Think You Are? in the ancestors' own words.  One of diaries used in this fascinating study is held in the University's own collection. 

Lucy Sussex was born in New Zealand and has degrees in English and Librarianship from Monash University and is a freelance researcher, editor and writer. She has published widely, writing anything from literary criticism to horror and detective stories. In addition she is a literary archaeologist, rediscovering and republishing the nineteenth-century Australian crime writers Mary Fortune and Ellen Davitt. Her short story, 'My Lady Tongue' won a Ditmar (Australian Science Fiction Achievement Award) in 1988. Her first adult novel, The Scarlet Rider, is about biography, Victorian detective fiction, voodoo and a ghost.  Lucy reviews regularly for The Age, including the Cover Notes reviews in its M magazine every Sunday.  

Wednesday 16 June 2010
Friends of the Baillieu Library lecture

Wunderlich Gallery, Ground Floor, Architecture Building, University of Melbourne, 6.00 pm

Professor Miles Lewis: Rare French Books on Architecture and Building from the collections of the Osbert Lancaster Memorial Bibliographic Institute

The Friends of the Baillieu Library are delighted to invite you to a special evening with Professor Miles Lewis AM who will talk about a fascinating exhibition of rare and interesting French books.  The collection on display ranges from historical works on architecture, like Henri Revoil's superbly engraved Architecture Romane du Midi de la France, to rare ephemera on pioneering systems of reinforced concrete published in the 1890s.  It touches upon a number of aspects upon which Professor Lewis will expand in his talk, including:

  • The traditional hollow pot construction of Roussillon and Languedoc as revived in the Comte d'Espie's Manierè [sic] de Rendre Toutes Sortes d'Édifices Incombustibles.
  • Viollet-le-Duc's Dictionnaire Raisonné de l'Architecture Française du XIe au XVIe Siècle, which was enormously influential in Australia, in buildings varying from the old E S &A ('Gothic') Bank in Collins Street to the homesteads of Davison & Henderson in the Western District.
  • Eighteenth century publications on pisé de terre, such as François Cointeraux's  École d'Architecture Rurale and texts derived from them which were used in nineteenth-century Australia.
  • Anatole de Baudot's L'Architecture et le Ciment Armé, which influenced W B Griffin in his dome for the dining hall at Newman College.
  • Early versions of the Marseilles pattern roof tile, which was to become the standard in Australia, though barely known in Britain or the USA.
  • Ephemera such as Desfeux, Carton-Cuir pour Toitures et au Carton Bitumés and  Pelouze, Art de Fabriquer en Pierre Factice Très-Dure.
  • Rare books on agricultural buildings as the Vicomte de Morel-Vindé's Essai sur les Constructions Rurales Economiques.

Thursday 10 June 2010
Friends of the Baillieu Library visit

Royal Botanic Gardens Library, Royal Botanic Gardens, 11.30am

Visit to the Library, Royal Botanic Gardens (located in the National Herbarium)

The Library of the Royal Botanic Gardens (RBG) Melbourne is Australia's most comprehensive botanical library. It is the information centre that supports the work of the Gardens. The Library collections include printed material, original artwork, letters and manuscripts, photographs, maps and museum items, as well as extensive archives.
The Library specialises in the fields of plant taxonomy and systematics; horticulture, gardening and landscape design; the exploration of Australia; botanical illustration; the history of botany and horticulture in Australia; and the history of RBG Melbourne and the National Herbarium of Victoria.

The Library was founded by Ferdinand von Mueller, Victoria's first Government Botanist. In his efforts to assemble a library of essential texts, Mueller spent much of his own money. His efforts resulted in the Gardens having an extensive collection of works published in the nineteenth century and earlier. The Library also holds the personal papers of a number of people who played a key role in research on the Australian flora. In some cases they also lodged significant collections of specimens in the National Herbarium of Victoria which Mueller founded and built into one of the world's great herbarium collections. The Library's collection of botanical art includes the work of some of Australia's best-known botanical artists, including Margaret Stones and Betty Conabere. The Library also holds over 30,000 photographs, including historic images of the Gardens and slides of Australia's native and cultivated flora.

The tour will be led by Vice President Professor Rod Home.

Tuesday 25 May 2010
Friends of the Baillieu Library author's night in association with Melbourne University Bookshop

Leigh Scott Room, Baillieu Library, University of Melbourne, 6.00pm

Vivienne Ulman: Alzheimer's: A Love Story

Our first evening author's night for 2010 marks the beginning of a closer collaboration with our good friends from the Melbourne University Bookshop. When the last of Vivienne Ulman's four children left home she and her husband were poised to enjoy their freedom, then her mother's Alzheimer's intervened. In Alzheimer's: A Love Story, Ulman records with tender lyricism and searing honesty the progress of her mother's Alzheimer's, her own grief over the gradual loss of her beloved mother and the way in which her parents' enduring love for each other sustained them.

Into this she weaves an account of her family's history, in particular her father's rise from farm boy to confidant of prime ministers — achievements made possible by the loving strength of the woman by his side. In a reversal of roles, he amply returned this support.  This inspiring Australian story is a tale for the sandwich generation, squeezed on one side by concerns for their children and on the other by anxiety about their parents. It is about illness, grief and hardship, but it is also about love, determination and joy.

Vivienne Ulman is a prize-winning short-story writer, a freelance journalist and book reviewer. She divides her time between rural Tasmania and urban Melbourne.

Thursday 13 May 2010
Friends of the Baillieu Library author's lunch

Leigh Scott Room, Baillieu Library, University of Melbourne, 11.30am

Dr David Young: The Discovery of Evolution

The Friends of the Baillieu Library are delighted to launch their 2010 programme with an author's lunch with Dr. David Young, author of The Discovery of Evolution (Natural History Museum & Cambridge University Press, 2007). Dr Young will talk on the key role played by books in the nineteenth century debate over evolution. These fascinating books will also be on display, courtesy of Special Collections at the Baillieu Library. 

Last year, 2009, was a big year for Charles Darwin, who was born 200 years ago in 1809 and published his book On the Origin of Species 150 years ago. This book set out his theory of evolution through natural selection, which brought about a permanent advance in our understanding of the living world. Amidst all the celebrations of Darwin's achievements, this talk will take a somewhat different approach by focusing on the historical context in which Darwin worked. This will enable us to dispel some popular myths and to truly appreciate Darwin as a key thinker in biology.

David Young is a Principal Fellow in the Department of Zoology and Director of the Tiegs Museum at the University of Melbourne.

Tuesday 23 March
Friends of the Baillieu Library Annual General Meeting and guest speaker

Leigh Scott Room, Baillieu Library, University of Melbourne, 6.00pm

Professor John Dewar, Provost of the University of Melbourne