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Clean Hands

Wherein we consider propinquity of liberty, literacy and soap.

Age (Melbourne), Monday, 17 August 1874, p. 2, col. 6
– read it on the newspaper page here

Joseph Juliff took a penknife to a copy of the Argus in the newspaper
reading room at the Melbourne Public Library – and was caught in the act.
He had thought to expunge the public record of his earlier crime; but it
survives on Trove –

Argus, 8 May 1860, supplement p. 1, col. 5

Not a hat in sight: Queen’s Reading Room, Melbourne Public Library, 1859.
Barnett Johnstone, photographer. State Library Victoria Picture Collection

(detail of the above)
‘[E]veryone had the right to go to the shelves and choose his books for himself’
– Sir Redmond Barry

Stolen from the library by ‘a lad’ named George Lindley in 1863,
Chambers’ The Scottish Ballads was ‘considerably disfigured… in his attempts
to destroy the inscriptions which proved it to belong to the library’.
It’s still on the shelf, with Lindley’s handiwork evident at the title page
and page 91. Find it in the SLV catalogue here

Above are pages from Coulter’s Adventures on the Western Coast of South America, stolen
in 1864 by Henry Williamson and returned to the library ‘mutilated’. Look closely and
you can see where the original library stamps were erased by Williamson, together with
some of the text. This was the book that caused the sardonic barrister Butler Aspinall to
pity the acting librarian for having read. Find it in the SLV catalogue here

Here’s Mrs King’s The Beneficial Effects of the Christian Temper on Domestic Happiness,
abstracted from the library by W.G. Mitchell, Esq, ‘author of The Mask, &c.’., in 1864
and handed in by his landlady. Page 91 and its stamps are intact, lending credence to
Mitchell’s claim that he had intended to return the book. Find it in the SLV catalogue here


© Robyn Annear | site by Greengraphics