State Library of Victoria > La Trobe Journal

No 61 Autumn 1998


From the Editorial Chair

It is now thirty years since the first issue of La Trobe Library Journal, edited by Geoffrey Serle, appeared. It was an initiative of the society then known as the Friends of the La Trobe Library, which later became the Friends of the State Library of Victoria. The society has now merged with the State Library of Victoria Foundation, but the journal continues as before, with a small change of title but unchanged in its essential character and purpose, and strengthened by having a larger organisation as its publisher.
Over the years, the journal has carried a range of articles relating to the State Library of Victoria, sometimes descriptive of the extensive holdings, and sometimes original research drawing upon those resources. Prominent among the contributors have been members of the Library staff, writing on their areas of expertise, and we look forward to their continuing support of the journal in this way. At the same time, we invite contributions from scholars who have used materials held in the State Library. Such contributions will be subject to a process of refereeing.
Some small changes have been made in the layout of the journal in this number. The immediate aim of the editorial committee is to maintain regularity of publication and consistency of quantity and quality. From time to time we hope to be able to produce special issues, larger and more lavish than usual, but such issues, requiring greater financial outlay than normal, are possible only when sponsorship, private or public, is available.
This number of the journal was not planned as a thematic issue, but the opportunity presented itself to focus on the relations between Aborigines and settlers in the early colonial period. A.G.L. Shaw's article is an edited version of the 1996 Redmond Barry Lecture, which many Friends will have listened to. Professor Shaw is a distinguished historian, whose publications include an edition of the Gipps–La Trobe Correspondence (1989). Rhonda Dredge, who is science writer in the Public Affairs Office of La Trobe University, writes of the diaries of her ancestor, James Dredge, one of the Assistant Protectors of Aborigines appointed in 1839. Peter Dowling writes on one of the topics dealt with in his thesis, ‘Chronicle of Progress: The Illustrated Newspapers of Colonial Australia’, for which he was recently awarded a PhD by Monash University. The list of illustrations of Aborigines in colonial illustrated newspapers, which accompanies his article, is a product of the research he has carried out in the State Library; he is now hoping for a research fellowship which would enable him to compile a more complete index of those newspapers.
Two features of this issue are new. We plan to have a regular Annotations section, in which an item — book, drawing, manuscript, map, or painting — is discussed. In this way we hope to draw attention to materials which might be of interest, but would not necessarily be the subject of an article. The second section is the Library Profile, in which short biographies of librarians and others associated with the State Library will appear. It is appropriate that the first in this series should be devoted to the distinguished Australian historian who was the first editor of this journal, and to whom this number is dedicated.