Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Mr Mitchell's monument

Main: Mitchell Reading Room; Left: Exhibition in the walkway between the two buildings; Right: Exhibition in the grand foyer

If you are in Sydney, GO SEE THIS EXHIBITION!!

In 1907 David Mitchell died and bequeathed his book collection to the state if they would house it well. Joseph Banks' journal was part of his collection. Took 'em three years, but they built a grand book house. And now there is the adjoining State Reference Library which is 13 floors below ground as well as the delightfully bright bit above ground.

Main: Marble version of Tasman's map in main foyer; Left: Joseph Banks' journal, 1770; Right: Letter from Mary Reiby, 1792

Paul Brunton, the Curator must have gone bonkers trying to choose just 100 items from their vaults for this exhibition. And great stuff it is too, ranging from the 1600s to last year. And they have some excellent audio/visual offerings. There is one screen that displays the Mary Reiby letter a word at a time, as though she is penning it in front of you. She had just arrived in Sydney, convicted of stealing a horse. She was 15 and wrote this letter back to her aunt. By the time she was 32 she was a widow with 7 children. She died in 1855, a VERY prosperous businesswoman.

Main: Vietnam Moritorium poster, 1970; Left: upstairs corridor with panoramic 1907 photographs of Sydney by Melvin Vaniman; Right: Henry Lawson's journal

This exhibition was a bit confoosing for moi, 'cause a curator showed me where to go to get good photographs, yet a security guy rapped me over the knuckles and told me to put it away. It's not as though I was using flash or anything, just that my camera is a bit on the obvious side.

So much to read and think about. I shall have to go back lots of times. I can only do about a dozen at a time. Great fun for this little history-holic. Thank you, Mr Mitchell.

Gallery space upstairs for "One Hundred" which is 100 items from their vaults in an exhibition that is open for 100 days

17 comments:

altadenahiker said...

I'm so glad you were able to sneak these wonderful photos in or out. There must be biography about the female horsethief. I'm off to see.

Oh, to be a curator.

ximo said...

interesante historia, y bonitas imagenes, cuando puedas fotografia la vidriera que hay en el techo de la primera foto, que debe de ser impresionante.
un saludo

brattcat said...

Pages from Joseph Banks' journal...be still my heart! Oh, Julie! Thank you!

Lois said...

What a wonderful place to spend the day!

In Real Life said...

Oh, it looks so wonderful. I sure wish that I could go!

PurestGreen said...

What a gorgeous space. The jealousy! Swoon!

Julie said...

Ximo, great to have you visit and comment. Yes, I agree, the ceiling of the main reading room is a pleasure and very welcoming.

BC, thought you might like that. He had a glorious hand!

AH, here are a couple of starting points on top of anything you can google

Irvine, N, Mary Reiby: Molly Incognito, Library of Australian History, 1982.

Dear cousin: the Reibey letters: 22 letters of Mary Reibey, her children and their descendants 1792-1901. Hale & Irenmonger, 1995. The Genealogical Society of Victoria Inc. Melbourne Victoria, 3000 Australia

You may have already noted that Reiby is on the reverse of the Australian $20 note.

uncertainhorizon said...

It looks like a lot of fun, I love things like that. I wish I could pop down and go to the exibit.

J Bar said...

Thanks for showing us around the library and all the historical facts. You've got some great photos of the place. I'll have to go over and have a look at those centenary exhibits.
Sydney - City and Suburbs

Bruce Caspersonn said...

Julie, this is great work on your part.
Bruce.

Joan Elizabeth said...

Thanks for the heads up ... we will go visit. I love the Mitchell Library Reading Room ... it feels so old world ... the newer library is one of my favourite spots to go when I chugg down to Sydney for the day but still have to work.

Peter said...

Beaut shots, an undiscovered (now discovered) gem.

Marka said...

That looks like a great exhibit! Enjoy it for those of us who won't be able to see it ourselves.

Tulsa Gentleman said...

Too bad the guard prevented you from taking pictures. (wink, wink, nudge, nudge)

Ann said...

I definitely have to remember to see this. Trouble is I forget about these things until its too late. NO excuse with this one, I can see different bits each lunchtime.

Nishant said...

, it looks so wonderful. I sure wish that I could go!
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Marla said...

Nothing better than a museum. Love them!