[Title slide reads Explore the State Library of Victoria with the Royal Society for Questions & Curiosity in black serif font on a cream-coloured background.]
[A man in safari helmet and goggles stands with arms loaded with books, binoculars tucked under his arm, and rope coiled around his shoulder. He is talking to woman dressed in white long-sleeved blouse under a mauve dress with tight black bodice, long black boots and necktie pinned to her shirt with a flower.]
Reginald Jacoby: So, actual life sized tiger?
Dimity Briggstoke: I know, and all I had to fight him off was a pair of tweezers. [Suddenly realises she is being filmed] Oh, hello! Dimity Briggstoke here, from the Royal Society of Questions and Curiosity. I am a keen collector of curious questions and an explorer extraordinaire.
Reginald: And me: Reginald Jacoby, trusty sidekick.
Dimity: Yes, him as well. We’re here to explore this curious place.
Reginald: And to catch some absolutely super…
Dimity: …and absolutely stupendous questions.
[Camera pans to show the facade of the State Library of Victoria, its portico hung with banners promoting the Dome Centenary. The plinth of the statue of Redmond Barry is visible in the foreground as people walk past.]
Reginald: What is it?
Dimity: How old is it?
Reginald: Can we go in?
Dimity: Who lives here?
Reginald: Can I touch it?
Dimity: Is it haunted?
Reginald: Who’s he? [Points to statue. Short burst of music.]
Dimity: Who’s he? [Points to man sitting on seat reading newspaper, who quickly pulls newspaper up in front of his face so as not to be seen.]
Reginald: What’s it called?
[Scene shows steps leading to the front entrance of Library.]
Dimity: Ah ha!
Reginald: Right then, let’s go in and find some books.
Dimity: Methinks we’re going to find much more than books.
[Camera focuses on words ‘State Library’ carved into the stone portico of the Library’s façade.]
[Old-time jazz music plays as Reginald tried to enter the Library with his armful of books. A security guard holds his hand up and points Reginald in direction of the lockers, where Reginald struggles to fit his books into a rental locker. Dimity breezes into the Library holding a butterfly net.]
[Fast-frame footage of Reginald walking through the Information Centre.]
[Long shot of Reginald and Dimity standing on the external balcony around the roof of the domed reading room.]
Dimity: Oh, this isn’t the basement.
Reginald: No, shall we go to the information desk?
[They walk down a wrought iron spiral staircase.]
Reginald: But how do we find what we’re looking for?
Dimity: Ah, my dear Reginald, what we have to do first is select the correct question. Watch this.
[They approach a man at the information desk.]
Dimity: Ah, madam, I mean, sir.
Dimity: A question or two if I might.
[Reginald points to a large sign reading Genealogy.]
Reginald: What does this mean?
[Dimity is standing at a metal filing cabinet.]
Dimity: Oh, what’s in these drawers? [She pulls one out. Inside are small white boxes.] Oh, what’s in these boxes?
[She turns to Reginald.]
Dimity: What are you doing?
[Reginald is unspooling a reel of photographic film. Some of it is wound around his shoulders and waist, and another reel is tucked into his goggle strap. He continues to unwind the film and examine its pictures, unaware of the mess he’s made.]
[Shot of an illuminated medieval manuscript.]
Reginald: How old is this?
[Shot of Ned Kelly’s armour, with a photo of Ned in the background.]
Dimity: Who wore that?
[They are outside now and Reginald, loaded up with books again, is pointing to a statue of St George and the dragon.]
Reginald: Why isn’t he wearing any pants?
[Inside again, showing a painting on the wall of Melbourne in 1836.]
Reginald: Is this a place I know?
[Shot of a display cabinet with camel hair on display.]
Dimity: Who’s hair is this?
[Shot of an elaborate gold brooch with fibres woven through it in fancy coils.]
Reginald: And who’s hair is that?
[Reginald is trying to get a fire hose reel off the wall.]
Reginald: What happens here in an emergency?
[Dimity, yellow butterfly net in one hand, runs her free hand across bookshelves in the domed reading room.]
Dimity: Oh, what are these books about?
[Dimity and Reginald stand in front of the Midget Library in its glass display case. Reginald is peering at it through his binoculars.]
Dimity: How do you read that?
[They look at a glass cabinet containing a very large book of bird illustrations.]
Dimity: How big is that?
[Reginald throws his tape measure across the display case.]
Dimity: And who thought that was a good idea?
[Close up of a page stamped with the Melbourne Public Library imprimatur.]
[Scene abruptly changes to a shot of a man wearing a black curly wig sitting at desk with a ridiculously large rubber stamp, stamping pages in a book. Funky music accompanies this scene.]
[Now the pair are shown sitting in the central dais in the domed reading room.]
Reginald: But if we were –?
Reginald: How can you –?
Reginald: Where would you –?
Reginald: But if I was –?
[The man we saw reading a newspaper in an earlier scene walks through the dome, his newspaper still in front of his face.]
Reginald: How about –?
[They follow the man with their eyes, pointing at him.]
Reginald: But say I wanted to –?
[Reginald and Dimity are in the vaulted19th-century interior of Queen’s Hall.]
Dimity: Is it true that it’s haunted in here?
[Reginald wanders off behind an ornate pillar.]
Dimity [looking around]: Reginald! Reginald!
[Comedic scene of the couple criss-crossing the room and peering behind pillars, trying to find each other. The man with the newspaper walks in and out of the scene. Old-time jazz music plays.]
[After a while, Dimity and Reginald back up and bump into each other, giving each other a fright.]
Dimity [to camera]:Expect the unexpected.
[Old-time jazz music plays as Dimity and Reginald exit the Library through the Information Centre and foyer, and collapse on the front steps, exhausted.]
Reginald: I need a nap.
Dimity: Oh rest up, dear boy, we’ve only just begun. There’s still so much more to see.
[Man sitting on seat, reading newspaper, pulls it up in front of his face again.]
Dimity [looking directly at the camera]: And you, why don’t you come in yourself and see what secrets you can unlock. [Holds up large key] You never know what you’ll find!
[Reginald closes his eyes looking exhausted.]
[Music credits: ‘Melbourne Wobble’ and ‘Yellow Fever’ (excerpt) written and produced by Pete Herbert.]
[White logos of the State Library of Victoria and State Government of Victoria appear on a black background.]
'Come in and see what secrets you can uncover at the Library.'
About this video
Learn more about the Library's history, collections, rooms and services with this light-hearted tour with the Royal Society for Questions & Curiosity.
Join Reginald and Dimity as they gasp at the ornate brooch made from real human hair and step inside the majestic, rarely visited interior of Queen's Hall.