10 Fast Facts

  1. Melbourne is the home for writers, independent publishers and bookstores in Australia and was the second City of Literature as well as the first Creative City in Australia.
  2. Melburnians consume more books, magazines and newspapers per capita than any other city in Australia and enjoy the highest concentration of community book clubs in the country.
  3. Melbourne is home to Australia’s oldest public library the State Library of Victoria. Founded in 1854, it was the first major cultural institution to be established in Melbourne and now attracts over 1.7m visitors annually.
  4. There are 289 local libraries in Victoria, with 2.5 million members who borrow around 50 million items each year and almost half of all Victorians are library members.
  5. Victorians of all ages are avid readers. More Victorians read for pleasure than in any other State. In 2014 over 230,000 children participated in the Premier’s Reading Challenge, reading more than 4 million books between them.
  6. The Story of the Kelly Gang, believed to be the world's first feature-length narrative movie, was filmed in Melbourne in 1906.
  7. The State Library of Victoria is home to a large rare books collection, including authors Shakespeare to Charles Darwin to Patrick White. These may be viewed upon appointment, or you can visit the permanent rare books exhibition, ‘Mirror of the world: books and ideas’.
  8. Cole’s Book Arcade, opened by E.W Cole, was reputed to be one of the world’s largest bookshop at the turn of the twentieth century. Boasting of its number of two million stocked books, it came to the attention of visiting international luminaries such as Mark Twain.
  9. Peter Dodds McCormick composed the lyrics to Advance Australia Fair on the bus home after an evening concert at the Exhibition Building.
  10. One of Australia’s earlier bestsellers, The Mystery of a Hansom Cab by Fergus Hume, was published in 1886. It is a murder mystery set in the city, and went on to sell over half a million copies worldwide and has been adapted for film several times.