Dome Centenary – join the Conversation

19 March 2013

Tonight Ray Gill hosts The dome as artist’s muse, the first in a series of Dome Centenary Conversations. Artists Julia Ciccarone, Ross Coulter and Marco Luccio will reflect on the Library’s domed reading room as a source of creative inspiration.

This year, the State Library is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the domed reading room. The Dome Centenary Conversations series of debates and talks are designed to reflect on the Dome and what it has meant to artists, photographers, writers, musicians, architects and historians.

Ray Gill, former Chief Arts Writer at The Age, will talk and share stories with Archibald Prize shortlisted painter Julia Ciccarone, leading printmaker Marco Luccio and installation artist Ross Coulter whose 10,000 paper planes project created in the Dome has received international attention.

The dome as artist’s muse will include a brief introduction by Ann Carew, curator of the Library’s current exhibition Enchanted dome: the Library and imagination which features representations of the dome in art and literature from the 1950s to today.

Enchanted dome: the Library and imagination, open until 14 July, includes prints by Marco Luccio, paintings by Louise Forthun, cartoons by Oslo Davis and Barry Dickins, and photographs by John Gollings and Mark Strizic. Writers represented include Ray Lawler, Shane Maloney and Arnold Zable.

The second Dome Centenary Conversations event, Capturing the dome will be held on Tuesday 16 April. Naomi Cass, Director, Centre for Contemporary Photography, will lead a panel including: architectural photographer John Gollings; Adrian Flint, the Library's Image Resources Team Leader and former in-house Library photographer; and artist Louise Forthun for a conversation about photographic representations of the Dome.

The dome as artist’s muse

Tuesday 19 March,6-7.30pm

Village Roadshow Theatrette, State Library ofVictoria

Free, bookings required


Capturing the dome

Tuesday 16 April,6-7.30pm

Village Roadshow Theatrette, State Library ofVictoria

Free, bookings required


For bookings and event information: 


Further information

Since its opening on14 November 1913, the magnificent domed reading room (now known as the La Trobe Reading Room) has been the heart of the Library. Designed by architects Bates, Peebles & Smart and built by JW and DA Swanson at a cost of £66,914, the dome was constructed from reinforced concrete, brick and glass, and measures 34.75 metres in both diameter and height.

Originally commissioned for the Library’s 50th anniversary, and envisaged as a crowning glory to the city’s intellectual and artistic centre, the dome symbolised the making of a new world – socially, politically and creatively. Over the past century, it has inspired generations of writers, artists, researchers, students and visitors. More than a remarkable architectural accomplishment, it represents all that the Library has to offer the world: a vast collection, expert staff, a place to connect with the community, and a source of ideas, learning and pleasure.

Two free exhibitions will underpin the Dome Centenary year. Enchanted dome: the Library and imagination (19 October 2012 – 14 July 2013) features representations of the dome in art and literature from the 1950s to today. Free, secular and democratic: building the Public Library 1853–1913 (31 May 2013 –2 February 2014) explores the ideals of liberalism and enlightenment that founded the creation of this extraordinary and enduring civic institution.

Learn more or read the many dome stories at

Media inquiries

Matthew van Hasselt or Georgina Smart
State Library of Victoria, 03 8664 7263,
328 Swanston Street
Melbourne Victoria 3000