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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. To learn about books published by recipients of Library fellowships, visit our fellows gallery.

You can buy many of our titles via the Readings State Library online shop or from our on-site Readings State Library bookshop in the Russell Street Welcome Zone.

The La Trobe Journal

The La Trobe Journal is a scholarly publication featuring research drawing on the Library’s rich collections. Read more

Writers on writers

Shedding light on the craft of writing, the 'Writers on writers' series features insights from leading authors as they reflect on an Australian writer who has inspired and influenced them. Read more

Mirka Mora: A life making art

Revealing an unseen side of the artist through both her materials and practice, this intimate portrait of Mirka Mora gives a unique insight into one of Melbourne's most beloved personalities. Read more

Diary 2019: natural history up close

A beautiful and practical 2019 diary with an exquisite natural history–inspired design that includes more than 100 stunning artworks from the Library's collection. SOLD OUT! Read more

The artist as traveller: the sketchbooks of Eugene von Guérard

A new and intimate portrait of one of Australia's greatest and most adventurous landscape painters, viewed through the lens of the artist's sketchbooks. Read more

The world of the book

New – 2017 paperback edition available! A celebration of manuscripts and publications in all their varying forms. Read more

Diary 2018: leisure through an Art Deco lens

A beautiful and practical 2018 diary with an exquisite Art Deco-inspired design that includes more than 100 stunning artworks from the Library's collection. Read more

Made to order: George Thwaites and sons, colonial cabinet makers

From handsome cedar desks in Melbourne's banks to stately furniture for Government House, Made to order celebrates the furniture made by George Thwaites and his sons. Read more

La Trobe: Traveller, writer, governor

In the first fully researched biography of Charles Joseph La Trobe, John Barnes reveals the unexpectedly rich life of an important and contentious figure. Read more

The Vagabond Papers (expanded edition)

A vivid collection of writings by 19th-century journalist and scoundrel John Stanley James, aka 'The Vagabond', selected by historian Michael Cannon. Read more

Up came a squatter: Niel Black of Glenormiston, 1839–1880

Inspired by letters and journals in the Library's collection, this is the story of Niel Black, a Scot who arrived in Melbourne in 1839 and became one of the most successful squatters in the Western District. Read more

Modern love: The lives of John and Sunday Reed

A stunning double biography that lifts the veil on the unconventional marriage of modernist pioneers John and Sunday Reed, and their relationships with some of Australia's most celebrated artists and writers. Read more

ST Gill and his audiences

Written by the curator of the Library's winter 2015 exhibition, Australian sketchbook, this is the first major study of the work of colonial artist ST Gill. Read more

Much ado about Melbourne

From maps to movies – Much ado about Melbourne explores the creativity that made a city. Read more

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

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

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

Building a new world: a history of the State Library of Victoria 1853–1913

Read Harriet Edquist's colourful history of the Library's architectural development and cultural legacy. Read more