University of Melbourne Library Louise Hanson-Dyer Music Library




About the Louise Hanson-Dyer Music Library

Opening Hours | Location | Staff | History

One of the leading music libraries in Australia, the Louise Hanson-Dyer Music Library is one of a number of University of Melbourne libraries and is open to students and staff of all faculties. The collections are diverse and comprehensive and include books, musical scores, journals, sound and video recordings, and a library of solo, chamber, orchestral and choral performing materials. There is a comprehensive holding of Collected Editions, monumenta and facsimiles of the works of composers from the 12th to the 20th centuries, as well as an extensive range of microfilms of unique manuscripts and other material held in major music collections in the United Kingdom and elsewhere.

The library also provides access to an extensive array of electronic resources which include databases, indexes, catalogues, audio streaming databases, journals and other electronic resources. These online materials can be accessed from within the library or from anywhere off-campus via the web. Please contact us for more information or if you need assistance.


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The Louise Hanson-Dyer Music Library staff include specialist music librarians who are available to advise on music research and bibliographic matters.

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History of the Music Library

Professor Marshall-Hall was appointed to the first Chair in Music in 1891, but it was not until 1908 that an Englishman, Mr. A.E.J. Lee presented 1,000 pounds to the Professor "to use as he saw fit for orchestral work". This money was used to form the nucleus of the Lady Northcote Permanent Orchestra Trust. Orchestral music was purchased and the library was formed.

Whilst music has moved forward in Victoria, and the Music Library here has played a very important part in its progress, it is interesting to note that in 1933 Sir James Barrett, then Deputy Chancellor, stated in an address that the music library "now contains 670 orchestral works, and 780 chamber works... and no less than 58 orchestral instruments". In 1940 Sir James again states when speaking of the library "all that is now wanted in that direction is a fireproof library as some of the contents are irreplaceable... the library is crowded out and difficult to handle because of the mass of musical works".

The library has changed its location many times. One of its more noteworthy homes in the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music was a small downstairs lending library, commonly called "the dungeon", for it was in there, during one of its periodical floodings that, after much searching for the cause, the official explanation was given "that flooding occurs when the Maribyrnong rises".

Formerly known as the Conservatorium Library and recently named the Louise Hanson-Dyer Music Library, we are a branch of the University of Melbourne Library. In addition to monographs, serials, periodicals and collected editions, this library also holds scores, recordings and a choral and orchestral collection which for many years has supplied the performance material for symphony concerts throughout Australia.

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