Historical information

This book has been in two Warrnambool lending libraries. It has been borrowed by subscription holders from 1938 to 1950. The book was first in Hudson’s Hygienic Library at 71 Liebig Street Warrnambool. A.R.Hudson had a bookshop and newsagency at the same address. Subscribers to the library paid two shillings and sixpence to join the library and then threepence a week for borrowing the book. The library was open to 9 p.m. and was advertised as ‘The most up-to-date library in the Western District.’ ‘Hygienic’ libraries were a feature of privately-operated libraries in Australia, mostly in the 1930s, 40s and 50s. The increased interest in germ prevention and health improvement led to the ‘hygienic’ practice of sterilising the books after each borrowing. It appears that the books were wiped with formaldehyde. Following Hudson’s ownership of this book, it was in Stronach’s Library at 105B Liebig Street. There have been examples of private subscription libraries in Warrnambool since the 1860s (plus the subscription library available at the Mechanics’ Institute). After 1950, with the increase in the funding and building of public libraries, subscription libraries for the general public largely disappeared.


This book is of interest as an example of the books that could be borrowed from a private subscription library in Warrnambool in the early to mid 20th centuries.

Physical description

This is a hard cover book of 247 pages. The cover is red and yellow with an illustration of a racing car on the front and black printing on the front and back. The spine has been reinforced with black tape which is now peeling off. The inside front cover and the back cover have stickers from lending libraries. Inside the back cover are a series of stamps. The book is scuffed and somewhat stained.

Inscriptions & markings

‘Hudson’s Hygienic Library’
‘Stronach’s Library’