Updated: Jul 15, 2020
An acknowledgment of the images currently adorning our home page are of the National Library of Australia photographed by Max Dupain in 1968, The Ferguson Room, the Main Reading Room and the Card Catalogue Room. I can recall many a day spent in the catalogue and reading room of the library, the times when every item in a library collection took two physical forms, the item itself and a card in a draw to catalogue it. Once you found your item, next step would be completing a carbonised quadruplicate request form, which I recall were, white, green, pink and blue, the Dewey number was the first thing you’d write in a large square box top left of the request form, and complete the rest of the form with the name of the book, the author, the stack number and other details. You would to keep the white copy, I guess another would go to the stacks to retrieve the item, who knows what the other two copies were. The request forms were submitted at the long service desk and were literally sucked into the library stacks by a pneumatic tube system, once assigned a request number you waited…and waited and waited some more and while you waited availed yourself of the latest and the best range of newspapers and magazines from all over the world, this made up for all the waiting. Finally, your request number would illuminate on the board to let you know your request had arrived and a chime would sound, strange to have an audio alert in a library but it was gently sounded, based on a Japanese gong and much more pleasing to the ear than giant, clunking 1980s photocopiers. The Main Reading Room also housed a range of general reference books, Charles Manning Clarkes six volume A History of Australia was shelved on the Western wall.The edition was of the red dust jacket design and was a goto reference for a high school student of Australian history, at six volumes Manning Clarks opus was 2700 pages, amusingly he also published A Short History of Australia that comes in at 260 pages.
Kay Craddock's Antiquarian Bookseller holds a complete six volume set of Manning Clarks A History fo Australia with signature red dust jackets.