Another Sunday morning of solo-exploring led me to the State Library of Victoria, one of the first three public libraries in the world. The State Library was established in 1854 and is comprised of several reading rooms and galleries housing books, magazines, historical archives and artifacts, and artwork.
The La Trobe Reading Room is situated under the largest dome of its kind. The room spans 35 m (115 ft) in height and diameter with enough space for over one million books and 600 readers.
Along the perimeter of the dome, on levels five and six, were exhibits. The first exhibit was a walk through Victoria’s history; it contained artifacts and historic information pertaining to the establishment of the English colony, the infamous Ned Kelly, ANZAC involvement in WWII, and the first Australian made car.
The newly formed Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) was sent to the Gallipoli peninsula in April 1915 to assist in the demise of Turkish troops. Although the campaign was a failure, ANZAC endured primitive conditions and plagues (lice and dysentery), earning their countries’ respects. Alongside propaganda, the courage, ingenuity, and self-sacrifice to withstand such terrible conditions aided in the recruitment of new soldiers who would step on the battlefield during WWII.
Holden was a saddlery manufacturer founded by James Alexander Holden in 1856, until Edward Holden converted the company into the automotive field in 1908. In 1919, they began specializing in completely Australian made car bodies before being subsidized in 1931 by U.S.-based General Motors.
The second exhibit displayed many works (writings, paintings, sketches) regarding natural history. Joannes Jonstonus was a Polish natural historian and physician whose goal was “to make young men delight in natural history” by illustrating real and imaginary sea creatures in his notes. Francois Le Vaillant was a French explorer and ornithologist. Unfortunately, he was not credited for many of his ornithological discoveries because he preferred to use his own descriptive names, rather than the standard Linnean nomenclature.
[ATTENTION: If you do not know what Linnean nomenclature is, do not ask me, as my biology-loving heart will shatter into a million pieces. I suggest you do a quick Google search and educate yourself. That is all.]
A stereograph is formed by posting two images, taken from slightly different perspectives, next to each other on a cardboard mount. When viewed through a stereoscope, they create a three-dimensional single image. There is a large collection of stereographs at the State Library, most of which depicting the interior architecture of the Library, as well as its galleries and exhibits.
After wandering the Library for three hours (and I am still convinced I missed things), I met with a friend to attend the Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF). I am no film critic, but when in Melbs, right? We viewed a compilation of shorts directed by aspiring Australian and New Zealand filmmakers. Prior to the viewing, each director gave a short speech thanking their cast, crews, and family–a practice run for their potential Oscar-winning speeches. That’s right; some of the shorts are being considered for 2016 Oscar nominations. How cool! While there were a couple shorts that I did not quite understand, others were great and took a new or different approach than anything I had seen before (again, personal preference, not a film critic). Just another thing I can say I did while on my Australian adventure.