Do you have a favourite photo of your dog, cat, rabbit or hamster?

CMD185_Pet pix social media

Bring the photo (not the pet) into the State Library of Western Australian on Sunday December 13 between 11am and 1pm and one of three local illustrators will produce a wonderful likeness for you to take home.

Author, artist and illustrator, Wendy Binks; caricaturist, cartoonist and illustrator Joe Filocamo; and caricatures artist and cartoonist Henry Lam will be on site to create a delightful image that you can keep or give away as a present.

While you’re in the Library, say hello to Hairy Maclary, Slinky Malinki, Schnitzel von Krumm, and Scarface Claw, who all feature in the Lynley Dodd Story exhibition.

Dame Lynley Dodd is an internationally renowned author and illustrator from New Zealand.

Her work is synonymous with early literacy development, with the Hairy Maclary and Friends™ series being a highly acclaimed and valued resource, not to mention much-loved by children the world over.

As well as having their own pet illustration to take home, visitors will be able to see these superb original works at close range — some of which have never been exhibited before — to get a real understanding of how an illustrator works and how the text and image are married together to create the charming stories.

Bring your pet picture into the State Library of Western Australia, in the Perth Cultural Centre, on Sunday 13 December between 11am and 1pm and meet the illustrators.

Visit our website for more information

Stimulate your little grey cells…

And now for something completely different…  The State Library is hosting a weekend of Disruption.

Disrupted Festival of Ideas

In association with writingWA, the State Library will host International, Australian and local creative thinkers as they explore democracy, game changers, languages and technology through discussion, debate, film and song.
And 90% of it is FREE
So if you are interested in stimulating your little grey cells have a look at the program.

Make a day of it. Spend Saturday and/or Sunday being entertained and inspired and follow up with a meal in the Northbridge restaurant precinct.

Special guests include:

Michael Mori

Michael Mori

Michael Mori (the military lawyer who represented David Hicks, the Australian Guantanamo Bay detainee).

Scott Ludlum

Scott Ludlam

Environmental and social justice campaigner (and former graphic designer) Greens Senator Scott Ludlam

Paul Barry

Paul Barry

Media Watch presenter, journalist and author Paul Barry

Paul Green-Armytage

Paul Green-Armytage

Author of Dimensions of colour and Colour, language and design (his thesis) Paul Green-Armytage

Neryl Joyce

Neryl Joyce

Neryl Joyce, former commissioned officer in the Australian army, manager of Christmas Island detention centre, and author of  Mercenary Mum; my journey from young mother to Baghdad bodyguard.

Free events you might like to attend:

Comedian Sami Shah presents I, Migrant – Watch Sami try to figure out what he is doing wrong – and how to keep doing it.

Dangerous Speech
This panel will reflect on the rise of dangerous speech in Australia and consider whether our politicians and media commentators are leading us towards an ugly nationalism.
Presented by Sophie Black, Maxine Beneba Clarke, Sen. Scott Ludlam, Michael Mori, and Sami Shah.

Journalism is not terrorism
In a post 9/11 world, is freedom of the press still a possibility?
Speakers: Sophie Black, Paul Barry and Professor Sarah Joseph.

The Ownership of Colour
“Cadbury Purple”? “Telstra Yellow”?  How is it even possible – technically
or legally – to claim ownership of colour.
Presented by Mark Braddock, Paul Green-Armytage, David Stewart

Gene Patenting – is it good for our health? 
Should pharmaceutical companies be allowed to patent our genetic material?
Presented by Lucy Dougan, Hon Melissa Parke MP (TBC), David Stewart, Prof Nik Zeps

Fireballs in the Sky
Meteorites are the oldest rocks in existence: the only surviving physical record of the formation and evolution of the solar system. The Desert Fireball Network (DFN) is a network of digital cameras in the outback desert of Australia which capture photographs of the night sky. The DFN is supported by a citizen science initiative that allows the public to provide its own data and share the discoveries as they are made. Prof. Phil Bland explains how this program could help us to address some of the biggest questions in planetary science.
The Fireballs in the Sky exhibition will be on display for the duration of Disrupted.

Regional Australia in Transition
What types of disruption arise from transient and significantly increased populations?  How are individuals affected? What are the challenges for planners and designers?
Speakers: Jenni Collard, Kate Fielding and William M. Taylor.

Detention Centres – the graphic reality
In 2013 the Australian Department of Customs and Border Protection produced an 18-page graphic novel to inform “people in Afghanistan about the truth of people smuggling”. It painted a bleak picture of life inside Australia’s offshore detention centres. A valuable perspective to the discussion of Australia’s asylum seeker policies and programs and insight into the impact these programs have on both detainees and staff.
Presented by Neryl Joyce and Graeme McGregor.

Treat yourself to some challenging and thought-provoking discussions.

Select and book at
Download the Program of Events

Disrupted Program

Rather Beastly

The Lark Chamber Opera performs their version of Little Red Riding Hood at the Place in the State Library of Western Australia, as part of the Rather Beastly . Unfortunately we only captured the first act, apparently Gretel, of Hansel and Gretel fame appropriated the camera and was only returned by a monster with purple horns and long claws after the third act. If the last statement made no sense you needed to be there, the audience really appreciated the performance.

Coolgardie as Matrimonial Field (1896!)

In 1896, this article taken from the local rag “Pioneer” encouraged “spinsters” to come to Coolgardie and seek husbands, whilst also warning that they may end up playing second fiddle to their husbands’ love of gold, gambling and drinking with their mates at the pub!

The West Australian, 19 February 1896.

You can view the article in it’s original form here on Trove.

COOLGARDIE AS A MATRIMONIAL FIELD – Coolgardie, according to the local Pioneer is as promising a matrimonial field as a goldfield. “Most of us” (writes the Pioneer) “are tired of single wretchedness, and we are feeling a distaste for dwellings where the feminine element is ever absent. In all trepidation we might point out to the girls in the East that Coolgardie is a fine field for matrimony. Here we have thousands of marriageable men, good-looking, high-spirited men, too – the making of honest husbands who could be lassoed into captivity with ease, and who, we are sure, would never regret the pleasant bondage.

We advise the fair spinsters of the East to come over, ensuring them of a hearty welcome in this land of gold and love. Husbands and gold rings are to be picked up here easily, when feminine grace and pretty fripperies stoop to conquer. They may have to put up with many little inconveniences, such as we have pointed out, but it would be their privilege to alter the prevailing state of affairs and win men from their attachment to the bar to that of a staunch allegiance to the cradle. And any woman worth her salt would find that not only an easy task but a congenial task.”

There is, however, another side to the picture for the same paper in the same article says: “Women who follow their husbands to the goldfields must be content to play second fiddle. The man looks upon speculation as his mistress, the bar, the open call, and the club as his companions. They become more essential, and, we regret to say, often more attractive to him than the canvas home and the wife’s conversation.

A goldfield ruins a man for domestic life, for what man can enjoy cold mutton, or even hot roast beef, with his wife, after boarding at a first-class hotel where he meets brainy men who give him an appetite? On a goldfield men of keen intelligence congregate, and they imbibe a love for gambling and speculation. Many of them will never settle down again, but wander from field to field making and losing fortunes. Travel they may enjoy, or life in the metropolis, but never again the domestic hearth and the constant ripple of a woman’s tongue”.

General view Londonderry Mine, Coolgardie, 1895?

General view Londonderry Mine, Coolgardie, 1895?

Over one hundred years later, Bernard Salt similarly suggested that single women make their way to a mining town in his 2008 book, “Man Drought”. According to Salt, the town with the best ratio of single men to single women on the Australian continent at the time of the 2006 census was the resources town of Glenden 165 km west of Mackay in Queensland.

Did you, or someone you know find love while working in a mining town? We would love to hear your story in the comments section below!

“…untidy, discursive and perpetually inviting…”

I’ve just started reading Alan Bennett’s The Uncommon Reader (or click here to find a talking book version), and am finding it an absolute delight  (Yes,  Business Librarians do have souls beyond money!)  The story begins when the Queen accidently discovers a mobile library parked in the kitchen courtyard at Windsor and, out of politeness, borrows a book – an action which seems to be leading to some unexpected consequences…

…briefing is not reading.  In fact it is the antithesis of reading.  Briefing is terse, factual and to the point.  Reading is untidy, discursive and perpetually inviting.  Briefing closes down a subject, reading opens it up”.

The Uncommon Reader, p. 22

 You can hear Alan Bennett being  interviewed by Phillip Adams on Late Night Live earlier this year, find more of his work in our library catalogue, or find out more about him on the British Council’s Contemporary Writers website.

Silly Season Library stuff on You Tube (and elsewhere)

Everyone is getting into YouTube – even The Queen has The Royal Channel!

But there is much more out there in Video Sharing land – here are some of my favourite library videos to help you while away the silly season:

 and finally – just to show that Library staff know how to have fun,Advertisement for Charrington’s West Subiaco Library

There are a scary number of Dancing Librarian clips there too!

I’m also a bit puzzled about this advertisement from 1925 – fish and chips and libraries seem an odd but interesting combination!

Happy Holidays!

WA Cartooning in the News

West Australian Jason Chatfield has taken over drawing the popular Ginger Meggs cartoon.

After the death of James Kemsley, the fourth cartoonist to draw Meggs, responsibility for the kid with a knack for being in the right place at the wrong time rests with Jason Chatfield, 23, a close friend of Kemsley.

Chatfield, who works from his home studio in Tuart Hill, has been  asked to take over the strip, which was first published in 1921

Information about the comic strip:

More information about Jason can be found on his website: .

Information about other West Australian cartoonists can be found on the Australian Cartoonists’ Association:

Some early West Australian cartoons:

Convicts at work, 1867Convicts at work, 1867 (003100d)

Political cartoon The ConferencePolitical cartoon The Conference 

   Political cartoon The Conference 

Political cartoon The Conference, ca 1925 (032720PD)



Paul Rigby 1974 (360888PD)

Also, some West Australian cartoonists are included in the ‘Behind the Lines 2007 : The Year’s Best Cartoons Exhibition’: 

See our catalogue for our holdings of West Australian cartoonists and information about them.

Anthony Burgess: ‘What’s wrong with libraries’

Anthony Burgess (1917-1993), that grumpy old author of A Clockwork Orange, wrote this about libraries:

Reference libraries won’t do. You can’t read a book seated at a table on a hard chair without a smoke and without a drink. A book can be properly read only when lying down or slouched gracelessly.

– Urgent Copy p.291

I certainly prefer to read in bed, and I have sympathy with what he is saying. Yet not all reading is for pleasure; some is for study or reference.

The trend toward comfortable chairs in libraries suggests libraries might be taking heed of him forty years after he wrote.

Put your old encyclopedias to good use… turn them into bookshelves!

Spending too long vaccuming dusty old encyclopedias?

Tripping over them whenever you walk into the spare room?

Once, so many parents who wanted their children to do well at school took out loans for encyclopedias which took up several cubic metres of space. These days, you’d be lucky to find an opshop which will take them. One ingenious solution is to make them into furniture.