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Library early closure: The Library will close at 5pm on Thursday 23 October to prepare for the annual Keith Murdoch Oration. More information

Facade conservation & repair works: Over the next few weeks there will be intermittent noise in the La Trobe Reading Room while work is carried out on the external walls. More information

Library early closure & facade conservation works
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Treasures & curios

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Page from 'Hypnerotomachia poliphili' Photo of a group of gold rush-era diggers Double-spread from 'Fables choisies' Photo from Edna Walling's manuscript Double page spread of 'Diary of a Welsh swagman' The top section of the Bendigo goldfields petition Double-spread of 'De musica' by Boethius Detail from 'Cyclorama of Melbourne' Image of 'Black Thursday' Detail from 'Birds of America' Detail from 'Panorama of Melbourne', 1855 Cover of 'The hut that Jack built' 'Princes Bridge', by Clarice Beckett, c1923 Peter Lalor's pistol Title page of Darwin's 'Origin of species' Cover page of Newton's 'Principia' The full armour Ned Kelly wore Double-spread of 'Myrrour of the worlde' Front view of the press dress Page of handwritten text from Charles Evans' diary Cover of Lady Loch's photo album

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Edna Walling manuscript

Manuscripts, letters & diaries, Plants & gardens
Date: 1948–70
Author: Edna Walling

Edna Walling's personal account of her experiences building East Point on the Great Ocean Road near Lorne, Victoria, is fittingly called The happiest days of my life.

One of Australia's most influential garden designers, Edna Walling (1895–1973) designed and constructed many well-known private gardens in Australia from the 1920s to the 1950s.

In 1948, Walling purchased a property on steeply sloping land overlooking the sea near Lorne. As she couldn’t find a builder who was willing to take on the somewhat daunting task of building on the land, she decided to do it herself. When the house was subsequently destroyed by bushfire she donated the property to the Bird Observers' Club.

The happiest days of my life is a lively account of the creation of this house, together with her records and discussion of the native plants growing on the property. This manuscript provides a unique insight into Walling's forceful character and dry, self-deprecating humour. It takes the form of a conversation between Walling and Twid, her ‘youthful offsider’.

A prolific writer and talented photographer, she wrote several books, contributed hundreds of articles to The Australian Home Beautiful, and left several unpublished manuscripts. Walling approached a number of publishers with The happiest days of my life and its accompanying photographs without success. In 2001, the State Library of Victoria published the complete manuscript online.

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