Our publications

The State Library has a long history of publishing high-quality books and journals.

Drawing on our extraordinary pictures, maps, manuscripts and rare books collections, we work with some of Australia's best publishing houses to produce books on topics ranging from architecture, design and photography to biography and social history.

Browse our book pages and discover our most popular publications. You can buy all these titles via the Readings State Library online shop or from our onsite Readings State Library bookshop in Palmer Hall.

Victoria at war 1914–1918

Bestselling historian Michael McKernan tells stories of sacrifice and devotion from Victoria during World War I. Read more

Victor Hugo: Les Misérables – from page to stage exhibition catalogue

This catalogue for the Library's 2014 exhibition celebrates the evolution of Hugo's masterpiece into one of the most successful stage musicals of all time. Read more

David Syme: man of 'The Age'

A biography of influential journalist David Syme, proprietor of the Melbourne Age from 1860 to 1908. Read more

Jean Galbraith: writer in a valley

The compelling story of Jean Galbraith (1906–99), one of Australia’s most influential botanists and writers on nature, plants and gardens. Read more

Cultured colonists

A glimpse into the cultural life of early Melbourne through the story and drawings of teacher and artist George Alexander Gilbert. Read more

Decadent: 1980–2000

A snapshot of the wild, opulent, sometimes tacky and always decadent 1980s in Australia, by photographer Rennie Ellis. Read more

A way with the fairies: the lost story of sculptor Ola Cohn

This enchanting memoir tells the story of pioneer modernist sculptor Ola Cohn, creator of Melbourne’s famed Fairies' Tree. Read more

Piranesi's grandest tour: from Europe to Australia

This magnificent book tells the story of printmaker Giovanni Battista Piranesi, his work and his continuing influence, centuries after his death. Read more

Circus and stage: the theatrical adventures of Rose Edouin and GBW Lewis

A lively account of two key players in Melbourne’s early theatrical history. Read more

The Aboriginal story of Burke and Wills: forgotten narratives

The first major study of Aboriginal associations with the Burke and Wills expedition of 1860–61. Read more

L Bernard Hall: the man the art world forgot

As Director of the National Gallery of Victoria from 1892 to 1935, L Bernard Hall was Australian art’s most influential administrator and teacher. Read more

Sunday's garden: growing Heide

Explore John and Sunday Reed's inspired conversion of Heide into a personal Eden for the artists they championed. Read more

Detective Piggott's casebook

Read the inside facts on nine of the most important Victoria Police investigations of the early 20th century. Read more

JJ Clark: architect of the Australian Renaissance

This fascinating biography reveals the drama and inspiration behind the career of noted colonial architect, John James Clark. Read more

Long views and short vistas

Explores the stories of botanic gardens established in Victoria in the second half of the 19th century. Read more

Melbourne by menu: the story of Melbourne's restaurant revolution

An intriguing memoir of the people, restaurants and menus of the 1980s that have defined the direction of eating out in Melbourne today. Read more

The true story of Ned Kelly's last stand

This book uses science, history and family lore to unearth a new understanding of the siege at Glenrowan. Read more

Burke and Wills: the scientific legacy of the Victorian exploring expedition

A revelatory exploration of the true extent of the scientific achievements of the Burke and Wills expedition. Read more

Characters: cultural stories through typography

A selection of stories about the signs we see around Melbourne that reveal the city's character and history. Read more

The matrix

Bruno Leti's matrices reveal themselves in the play of light and shadow, illuminating his practice as artist and printmaker. Read more

When we think about Melbourne: the imagination of a city

A whimsical survey of Melbourne’s collective imagination, through the city's music, art, literature, film, maps and transport. Read more

Imagination, books & community in medieval Europe

This lavish publication of papers by 17 scholars presents a rich range of studies on medieval books. Read more

Beyond reasonable drought: photographs of a changing land & its people

A memorable collection of images chronicling the worst drought in Australian history. Read more

Capital: Melbourne when it was the capital city of Australia, 1901–1927

In the extraordinary first quarter of the 20th century, Melbourne oversaw the birth of modern Australia. Read more

The world of the book

A celebration of manuscripts and publications in all their varying forms. Read more

Bottersnikes & other lost things

This wonderful collection will delight those who are passionate about children's books. Read more

Literary Melbourne: a celebration of writing & ideas

An anthology of extracts from books of all sorts – from crime to migrant stories – highlighting Melbourne's rich literary heritage. Read more

Running the show: BA Santamaria

A selection of documents written by BA Santamaria sheds new light on historical controversies. Read more

Botanical riches: stories of botanical exploration

With illustrations of extraordinary splendour and beauty, this book weaves enthralling tales of botanical exploration. Read more

Australia through women's eyes

A glimpse into colonial Australia, as observed by women writers of the day. Read more

The art of the collection

Illustrations from the Library’s Pictures Collection – the oldest visual documentary collection in Australia. Read more

Your most obedient servant: BA Santamaria letters

BA Santamaria's letters span six decades and reveal a subtle side to a controversial public figure. Read more

The Cowen Gallery catalogue

This beautifully illustrated catalogue provides a comprehensive guide to the Library's Cowen Gallery. Read more