Special Collections, Baillieu Library, University of Melbourne

Special Collections in the Baillieu Library at the University of Melbourne holds some 200,000 volumes of books, journals and pamphlets, as well as archival material, that have been placed on 'closed access' by reason of their age, value or uniqueness in order to ensure their long-term care and preservation for future generations of scholars and researchers.


The Australiana Collections comprise books, and some serials, newspapers and pamphlets, published in Australia or on Australian subjects or by an Australian author. The cut-off date for inclusion in Special Collections is a publication date before 1900, however there is a considerable amount of material that was published after that date.

The Rare Books collections consists of non-Australian early printed books, periodicals and pamphlets which, because of their age, beauty, rarity or other factors, are not suitable for placing on the open shelves. The collections also include manuscripts, high quality facsimiles, modern limited editions, examples of fine binding and printing, and notable private press collections, including Doves and Kelmscott Press.

Although the cut-off date for inclusion is generally 1880, there are also many later books in the collections. The largest non-Australian collection, the BX collection, originated from books which were formerly on the Library's open shelves. Other collections are based on the private libraries of individuals, primarily Dr. Orde Poynton (much of the Rare Book Room collection and the English Room Collection) and Dr. Pierre Gorman (the Cambridge Collection).

Special Collections holds a small collection of archival material, including personal papers and other unpublished material such as artists' scrapbooks and records documenting the Victorian Peace Council.

The University of Melbourne Thesis Collection holds archival copies of all Masters by research and Ph.D. theses completed at the University.