There has been a library on the Footscray Park campus site since a Mechanics Institute was established there in 1916. Certain rare and valuable items have been acquired or donated to the library during this time. These items form the basis of this collection. Of particular significance in the development of the Special Collection was the purchase in 1988 of the personal collection of author and historian, Mr John White.

The Rave & Valuable Books Special Collection is located in the Special Collections Room, P402, at the Footscray Park Campus Library of Victoria University. The Library does not hold or collect historical material relating to Victoria University or its predecessor institutions. This material is held by VU Archives.

What's in the collection

The Special Collection contains rare and valuable books on a diverse range of subjects. The predominant categories are Australian literature, Australian history and Australian art, with smaller sections comprising music, anthropology, local history and town planning, along with a few rare collector's items on European history and literature. Historical material about Footscray Technical College, Footscray Technical School, Footscray Institute of Technology (FIT), Western Melbourne Institute of TAFE (WMIT) or the Western Institute is held by VU Archives and is not in the Special Collection.

The Book of Kells

VU Library is fortunate to have one of the 1480 complete facsimile copies of the Book of Kells produced in 1990 by the Swiss publisher, Faksimile Verlag Luzern.

The Book of Kells was jointly donated to the University by the Ausdoc Group and Trinity College Dublin in 2000.

Other rare or valuable items

A significant item from the collection is a piece of decorative ironwork from the now demolished Federal Coffee Palace (FCP) in the Melbourne CBD.

The Federal Coffee Palace was erected in 1888 on the south-west corner of King and Collins Streets in Melbourne. The building was renamed the Federal Hotel in 1897 and was demolished in 1972. The ironwork was donated to the library by Mr. John White.

This historic artefact is on display on level 2 of the Victoria University Library at Footscray Park.

Access to the collection

The Special Collection is a research collection. The items can't be borrowed, but may be viewed on appointment.

In the library catalogue, these items have the prefix FTS SPECIAL COLL. before the shelf number.

To access material in the collection, please email our Special Collections librarians. You will receive an emailed response within 24 hours (Mon-Fri) and a suitable time will be arranged.

You can view the items in the Special Collections reading room on level 4 of the Footscray Park campus library.

Email: [email protected].