Key Events in MCC Library history
1838: Foundation of the Melbourne Cricket Club (MCC).
1863: The first proposal for a library was recorded in Bell’s Life in Victoria on October 3. “The room ‘Rowley’ [Rowland Newberry, the groundsman] now occupied, it is proposed to fit up as a library for the members.” Unfortunately we have no record of this actually occurring.
1873: The proprietor of The Australasian newspaper donated 13 bound volumes (covering 1866 to 1873) which led to the foundation of the library collection. Donation recorded in the minutes of the MCC Annual Meeting of September 6, 1873, regarded as foundation date for the library.
1881: A “reading room” was established at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) in the Second Members Pavilion.
1902: In December consideration is given to improving the library and reading room.
1928: Following the demolition of the Second Members Pavilion the reading room was replaced by a library in the new Members Pavilion in 1928 (at the northern end of what would become known as Bourke Street).
1941: The Frank Laver collection is donated by the Laver family. A majority of the collection was displayed in the MCC Library until the 1950s.
1957: Under new secretary and former Australian cricket captain, Ian Johnson, the library was reorganised and a more formal approach taken to looking after the collection. An honorary librarian was appointed to supervise the library.
1982: The library was relocated north of the Long Room and dressed with tasteful cedar panels and red and blue MCC carpet. The new library was seen as a focal point for many of those who clamoured to enjoy its riches on match days.
1982: The MCC Library volunteers were formally established. Initially meeting every Monday, they were a voluntary group of varying size, each with a specialist sporting interest.
1985: Expansion of the library space further into the Olympic Stand.
1988: Acquisition of the Patrick J. Mullins cricket collection, which almost doubled the library’s cricket holdings.
1989: Restructure of museum and library functions within the Club from November 1989. Professionally trained library staff employed to concentrate on conservation, security, computer cataloguing and information management.
1990: The MCC Library given overflow storage rooms, the OTC Room and 4’n’20 Room in the Olympic Stand.
1997: Museums Department business plan saw the MCC Library officially delegated resource centre for the MCC Museum and Australian Gallery of Sport and Olympic Museum.
2003: The library’s collection is placed in storage at 26 Jolimont Terrace (former administration offices of the MCC and later the MFC) for Northern Stand redevelopment
2006: Relocation of the Library collection in May and storage collection in July. Official reopening on September 28. The main collection is housed in a purpose-built library on the third level of the Fourth Members Pavilion.
Major collections subsumed into the Library
Over the years a number of prominent collections have been acquired by the MCC for its library. This has been through either donation or purchase.
Since 1982 it has been standard practice to integrate items. The major collections have been given their own bookplates to identify and retain a sense of their provenance within the “MCC Library Collection”. As more collections have been added, this practice has continued.
Some examples of the major collections that form the library holdings include the:
Baillie Collection acquired in the 1950s (over 200 cricket works from the former sporting journalist).
Anthony Baer Collection acquired in the 1960s (250 of cricket’s rarest items).
Sir Robert Menzies Collection was acquired in the mid-1970s when Sir Robert offered to help fill gaps in our collection from his own library. Over 50 items were accepted, including 42 presented by their authors to Sir Robert.
Collection of the Rev. Frank Chamberlin, the former Dean of St. Patrick’s Cathedral. In the late 1970s Dean Chamberlin donated his renowned sporting book collection to the Australian Cricket Society and the Melbourne Cricket Club. Most of the cricket books duplicated the holdings of the MCC so the majority were used to form the basis of the ACS Library. The books for the other sports were accepted by the MCC and today we hold over 350 items from his collection.
Carringbush Regional Library in 1985 donated the Sporting Books held under the public library subject specialisation Minterlib Scheme to the MCC. These books were collected by the Minterlib Scheme from the 1930s to the late-1970s and provide a valuable historic record of sporting publications from this period. These now consists of over 1500 records on the library catalogue from a diverse range of sports.
Pat Mullins Collection of more than 7,500 items were purchased in 1988. The Library currently holds 4,572 Mullins items. Many more, which were triplicates of items already held, were traded to purchase new acquisitions and fill gaps in the collection.
Donnelly Collection was purchased in 1996 from the family of the late Jack Donnelly who was sports editor of the “Launceston Examiner”. This eclectic collection of 525 catalogue records contains items on sports such as yachting, cycling, boxing, wrestling, the Olympic Games, Australian National Football Carnivals and International Cricket.
Sowdon, Turnbull and Everett Collection of Australian Rules Football items was purchased in 1996. This was a unique personal collection put together by one of our former library volunteers. It now consists of 2,289 catalogued items, ranging from early football records, annual reports, newsletters, books, photographs and manuscripts on Australia’s national football code.
Jessup Collection donated in 2000 by Mrs Helen Jessup, daughter of the former Hon. Librarian, Mr Jack McEwan, and wife of prominent cricket collector, the late Mr Anthony Jessup. The donation was undertaken through the Cultural Gifts Program and consists of over 60 cricketing prints for the MCC Museum and 573 books for the MCC Library.
Harcourt Collection, donated in 2006 by Rex Harcourt, the former MCC Hon. Research Consultant 1979-1990. This consists of over 550 books on Australian history and biography, as well as the research files and manuscript material from Rex’s publications.
Victorian Olympic Council library donated 2007. A comprehensive collection of over 2500 items on the development and history of the modern Olympic movement and games.
Australian Women’s Cricket Council/Victorian Women’s Cricket Association archive donated by the Cricket Australia, Cricket Victoria and the University of Melbourne Archives. Historical archive and records of the AWCC & VWCA comprising over 9000 items from the 1890s-1980s.