Carnival shows Melbourne’s a curious place

11 July 2013

The State Library was alive with excitement and activity last Sunday as more than 5,500 Victorians attended the first Carnival of Curiosity.

The Carnival of Curiosity transformed the Library into a place of creativity, storytelling, performances and talks to help celebrate the 100th birthday of the iconic domed reading room.

The free event was full of surprises as children flocked to make Ned Kelly helmets, books, finger puppets and miniature versions of The Press Dress – a stunning 1860s silk dress printed with Victorian newspaper front pages, which was on display for the first time in Victoria at the Carnival.

Other curious items on display for the afternoon were Captain Cook’s waistcoat, Ned Kelly’s boot, the Library’s most valuable book The Birds of America by John James Audubon and the Library’s smallest book, a bible just half a centimeter tall.

There was standing room only as Punch and Judy and magic shows alternated with circus performances. Children marveled at a steampunk lounge filled with crazy contraptions and unusual timepieces, and tried their hand at writing copperplate script in the 19th-century classroom.

Budding artists created pencil sketches the dome under the tutelage of Melbourne’s celebrated artists Marco Luccio and Oslo Davis.  The highlight of the afternoon came as 18 musicians gathered on balconies around the dome and George Dreyfus conducted his Fanfare for a new dome.

Sue Roberts, CEO and State Librarian said the Carnival was a great success and the perfect way to help celebrate 100 years since the opening of the magnificent domed reading room.

‘Libraries are magnets for curious minds and on Sunday a lot people showed they were very curious about what the State Library has to offer. As we celebrate the centenary of our domed reading room events like this provide a great way to reflect on what libraries are to the community today – vibrant and varied places where anyone can find something to intrigue them.’

The Carnival of Curiosity is one of the many Dome Centenary events taking place in 2013 to celebrate the iconic dome and all that it inspires.

Media inquiries

Matthew van Hasselt or Georgina Smart
State Library of Victoria, 03 8664 7263,
328 Swanston Street
Melbourne Victoria 3000