One object, many stories: Lambswool book

  • Date recorded: 4 Aug 2016

  • Duration: 50:22

'The 12 deluxe editions were reserved for the real VIPs – one, for example, was given to the King of England'

– Tim Hogan

About this video

To mark the 60th anniversary of the 1956 Melbourne Olympics, this panel conversation unpicks the colourful history of a rare lambswool-covered book created to launch Melbourne’s bid for the 1956 Olympics. 

Five hundred small books were produced in 1949 to showcase Melbourne to the world and to promote the city's bid as host for the XVI Olympiad.

A mere 12 of these books were produced in a limited edition with lambswool covers, and presented to the International Olympic Committee and to King George VI.

The book represents the first steps Melbourne took in its bid for the Olympics, and offers insights into the way Melbourne presented itself – as a modern, clean, industrial city – to the world.

The speakers also discuss the tense international political climate in which the 1956 'Friendly Games' were held, which included the Soviet Union's recent invasion of Hungary, the Suez Crisis and the Cold War.

They discuss the myriad ways that the Olympics ushered in a more cosmopolitan mood in Melbourne, including the influx of European-trained chefs who were flown in to work at the Games but stayed on and introduced exotic cuisine to the city. 

Speakers

  • Kaz Cooke (chair) is an author, cartoonist, radio broadcaster and public speaker and was a 2013 Library Creative Fellow
  • Tim Hogan is Manager, Collection Development and Discovery at State Library Victoria and co-creator of this archived website about the 1956 Olympics
  • Leon Wiegard OAM competed in the 1964 and 1972 Olympic Games as part of the Water Polo team and is the current President of the Olympians Club of Victoria
  • Dr Matthew Klugman is senior lecturer in Sports Studies at the Institute of Sport, Exercise and Active Living at Victoria University