Special Collections

Special Collections are one part of the larger group of the University of Melbourne  Cultural Collections. They include the Rare Books collection, the Print collection and the Rare Music collection. Items in these collections are housed in special conditions by reason of their age, value or uniqueness in order to ensure their care and preservation for current and future generations of scholars and researchers and as a record of our cultural history.

Rare Music

Rare Music is one of the University’s Special Collections. The collection includes music manuscripts, printed scores and books, archival collections and other music-related materials that are rare and, in some cases, unique. The collection is stored in a secure, climate-controlled environment. While items cannot be borrowed by individuals or viewed in the Southbank Library, requests for access to material are warmly welcomed.

  • Most items can be found in the University Library catalogue. Select Baillieu Special Collections from drop down box.
  • View Rare Music items in the Reading Room, 3rd floor Baillieu Library, Parkville Campus
  • Use the request management system AEON to place your request
  • Allow several days for your request to be delivered
  • AEON also allows you to place a request for digital images of Rare Music items

Find out more about this exciting collection of more than 12,000 items, or contact the Curator for more information.

Southbank Library Special Collections

The Southbank Library has an extensive range of Special Collections to support your research. To access the collections: check the catalogue, note call number and request at the service desk at the Southbank Library in The Hub Building (Building 863) or request via email. Please note: these collections are for reading in the library only. Please check the Southbank library hours to avoid disappointment.

The collections include:

  • Victorian College of the Arts and Melbourne Conservatorium of Music Theses Collection: Special Studies, Graduate Diploma, Masters and PhD research theses. (Note recent theses are available online in the Institutional Repository. Some may also only be available to read in the Special Collections Reading Room, Baillieu Library. Please note catalogue location when searching.
  • Melba Conservatorium of Music research papers: These were transferred to this library in 2009 when the Melba Conservatorium was closed down.
  • General Special Collections: consists of books, artist books, exhibition catalogues relating to music, visual and performing arts.
  • Victorian College of the Arts Special Collection: consists of handbooks, prospectus, programs and ephemera relating to the Victorian College of the Arts.
  • National Gallery School Library Book Collection: consists of the surviving books from the NGS Library which were transferred to the Victorian College of the Arts Library when it was founded in 1975.
  • Margaret Lasica Collection:
    • Margaret Lasica Collection- Margaret Lasica was a pioneering contemporary dance choreographer and educator in Melbourne. Donated by the Lasica Family, the collection consists of approximately 1,200 books and journals relating mainly to dance, but including drama, costume, theatre production, psychology, art, literature and cultural studies, as supporting material.
    • Margaret Lasica Ephemera Collection- Includes materials relating to Margaret Lawrence's personal and professional life, including a handwritten notebook, handwritten notes on 16 cards, 3 photographs, 4 folders of clipping and dance articles, collected dance performance programmes (some with her annotations) and leaflets, birthday, Christmas and thank you cards, postcards, copies of dance study and teaching materials, clippings from newspapers and magazines, bookmarks, catalogues from dancewear retailers and book distributors, meal menus, and receipts.These collections provide a cohesive reflection of the influences behind the artistic creativity of Margaret Lasica’s career in dance.
    • Biographical information about Margaret Lasica is detailed in the Australian Women's Register.
    • The Margaret Lasica Manuscript Collection is held in the National Library of Australia Manuscript Collection. These papers document Lasica's involvement with a variety of Australian dance companies, her professional reading and the Modern Dance History Project and Archive.
    • In addition, biographical cuttings are held in the National Library of Australia Collection.
    • For further information about the Modern Dance Ensemble:
  • Barry Tuckwell Collection:
  • In 2008, the Ian Potter Foundation made a generous grant to the Louise Hanson-Dyer Music Collection for the acquisition, cataloguing and preservation of the Barry Tuckwell Collection. Barry Tuckwell is widely recognised as the foremost French horn player of his generation.

    Contained in the Collection are: printed (some pre-publication proofs) and manuscript scores, including works written for, dedicated to and edited or annotated by Tuckwell; sound recordings in various formats, commercial and non-commercial; correspondence with composers, conductors, other performers, instrument makers, administrators and others; diaries; documents related to the London Symphony Orchestra, in particular for the period when Tuckwell was its Chairman; concert programmes; posters (not in boxes, some framed); press clippings; photographs; inventories and trade catalogues.The concert programs in the collection span Tuckwell’s career from the mid 1940s until his retirement as a performer. A large proportion feature performing groups with which Tuckwell was associated, such as the London Symphony Orchestra, the Tuckwell Wind Quintet and the Jones, Tuckwell and Langbein Trio. Tuckwell’s international solo career is also fully documented. A program listing is currently underway.

    The Barry Tuckwell Collection is a significant and comprehensive resource for anyone researching any aspect of Tuckwell’s professional career and for those interested more generally in twentieth-century horn repertoire or performance practice. Please see the The Barry Tuckwell Collection subject research guide for further information on the scores, recordings, correspondence and other materials of the Barry Tuckwell Collection.

  • E. J. Moeran Collection:

    Ernest John Moeran was an English composer (1894-1950). His compositions reflect his English and Irish heritage and are based strongly on folk tunes from the counties in which he lived and dwelt.

    The collection of music by E J Moeran at the Southbank Library was bequeathed to the Victorian College of the Arts by Peers Coetmore (1905-1976), cellist and wife of E J Moeran. Peers Coetmore was a cello lecturer at the VCA in the 1970s.  The collection contains 107 items in all. Forty-one of these are original manuscripts and the other 65 are early-published editions.

    Access: The collection had been digitised and is freely available. To view the physical items, see the library catalogue listing. Each title is also catalogued individually. The collection is available for consultation in the Southbank Library on consultation with the Fine Arts and Music Librarian. It is not for loan.

  • Uncatalogued Organ Music Collection
  • G. W. L. Marshall-Hall - Catalogue of Works
  • Australian Composers Recordings Online
  • Sound Recordings Database