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Stanley Athenaeum & Public Room Stanley, Victoria

Following the rush for gold at the Nine Mile a Public Room was built by public subscription in 1856 and opened in 1857 at the height of the gold rush at the Nine Mile (now known as Stanley). A meeting at the Public Room in 1863 elected a committee of ten men to establish a library and a librarian was appointed. This earlier wooden building was destroyed by fire in the late 1860's and the present brick building replaced it on the same site and was opened 1874. It is believed much of the book collection was salvaged from this fire. In 1891 an additional building was added to the rear of the Main Room, this is the building as it exists today.
From 1863 until the 1970’s the Stanley Athenaeum was a lending library and now houses a collection of historic books, the Geoff Craig Local History collection and community archives that are available for reading and research. The Friends of the Athenaeum hold regular temporary exhibitions informed by the collection the Athenaeum continues to have a vital role as the centre of many Stanley community events. It is a small venue and has been a regular meeting place for community groups over the years, including the the Country Women's Association, Stanley New Year's Day Committee, Red Cross and CFA. Currently it is used regularly by Stanley Recreation Reserve Committee, Stanley Cemetery Trust , Stanley LandCare, Stanley Artists and the Stanley Hall and Athenaeum Committee. It has always been a meeting place for small social functions, fundraising events, exhibitions and public meetings.

Contact Information

location
Main Street Stanley Victoria (map)
phone
+61 0458 606 922 or 0357 286 702
Contact

Opening Hours

Open most Friday's and 4th Saturday of the month 10am - 12pm (please contact to confirm) and other times by appointment P: 0458 606 922 or P: 0357286702

Entry Fee

A donation is appreciated

Location

Main Street Stanley Victoria

View on Google Maps

Book Collection
Over 3,000 volumes of fiction (adult and children's) and nonfiction published between 1820 and 1970, including reference, biography, government, history, philosophy, poetry, politics, science and natural history and travel.
The collection includes:
Nineteenth century books published in Australia by local authors such as William Guilfoyle, Medicus and the Shroff and Bishop James Moorhouse (1826-1915). Science books published in the 1800s including: Charles Darwin 'On the Origin of Species' (1861) and 'Expression of Emotions in Man' (1872), Huxley's essays (1863), Alexander von Humboldt 'Cosmos: A Sketch of a Physical Description of the Universe' I-VI (1849 -1871) and other works.
A representative collection of world and Australian fiction from the nineteenth and first half of the twentieth century’s, including runs of titles by Australian authors including: Ada Cambridge ((1844-1926), seven volumes from 1892 -1901, Ethel Turner (1872-1958), Alan Marshall (1902-1984). Hon Professor Wallace Kirsop says 'copies of three decker novels of the same decades are very likely unique now in this country and consequently of great interest to students of the Victorian Age and of its literature'.
Geoff Craig Local History Collection
Stanley history and other local histories of the area written and published by local historian Geoff Craig (about 25 volumes) most of these are now out of print and Stanley Athenaeum holds copyright for many of these books. Also a collection of local, institution and thematic histories, many of these are now out of print.
Stanley Athenaeum Collection
Minute books, Athenaeum book stamps, clock, backgammon set, euchre objects (tickets, ticket punches).
Furniture and Fittings
A geological collection from the local area and other places.
Illuminated addresses and honour boards - Independent Order of Rechabites, the Ancient Order of Foresters, and Hurdle Flat School
Pictures – John Monash, Queen Victoria, Lord's Prayer, Great War 1914-18 Genealogical Record, Stanley and District cups, shields and trophies - football, choral, table tennis, cricket
Photographs of town and district, people, buildings, school, sporting groups other local groups
Geoff Craig Local History Collection
Stanley history and other local histories of the area written and published by local historian Geoff Craig (about 25 volumes) most of these are now out of print and Stanley Athenaeum holds copyright for many of these books. Also a collection of local, institution and thematic histories, many of these are now out of print.
Community Archives
Records of Stanley Athenaeum and other local organisations including minute books, financial records and documents for the Athenaeum and Hall committees, Country Women's Association, Red Cross, Stanley New Years Day Sports, Recreation Reserve, Back to Stanley committee and Northeast Fruitgrowers

Significance

Stanley’s Athenaeum is highly significant for a number of reasons. As a result of the integrity and the intactness of the collection, the library provides an opportunity to see how an athenaeum looked and operated for nearly 150 years while also revealing the evolving community it continually served. The rareness of some of the books further highlights its significance and importance not only within Stanley and its surrounding towns, but also throughout Victoria. Due to the large subject matter the library covers, especially pertaining to local history, its interpretive potential is huge and will not only be stemmed by decisions made governing its use and function but also by the imagination and energy of the committee overseeing it.
Laura Donati, Significance Assessment Report 2010

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16 items

Photograph - All Saints Church Pioneer Road Stanley

Stanley Athenaeum & Public Room, Stanley

Black and white photograph

Rubber Stamp

Stanley Athenaeum & Public Room, Stanley

Wooden block with wooden handle and inscribed rubber stamp on front face

Historical information

Used by the librarian in the mid 20th Century to stamp each new book at the Stanley Athenaeum, the stamp identified the library's ownership of the books in the library. The stamp is still used today when new books are acquired by the Stanley Athenaeum.

Significance

This item is historically significant as part of the Stanley Athenaeum collection and can be used to identify the age of books and when they were acquired by the Stanley Athenaeum

Inscriptions & Markings

Inscribed relief in elliptical shape with words and stars in reverse. "Stanley Athenaeum"

Photograph - Picnic Group at Stanley

Stanley Athenaeum & Public Room, Stanley

Black and white photograph

Historical information

Taken at Stanley about 1900 in a local bush setting. There are 3 sets of couples, 2 men and 4 women. Picnics were a popular pastime, the group are drinking tea, there is the basket, the billy to boil the water, kettle and cups and saucers for a cup of tea

Significance

This is representative of the leisure activities enjoyed by of people in Stanley around 1900

Inscriptions & Markings

AW in lower right corner

Photograph - Temperance Hall (lodge) Wallace Street Stanley

Stanley Athenaeum & Public Room, Stanley

Black and white photograph

Historical information

Used for lodge meetings and for community events and celebrations

Significance

This building was removed from the site in 1979

Inscriptions & Markings

G Craig photographer Stanley

Photograph - Presbyterian Church Main Street Stanley

Stanley Athenaeum & Public Room, Stanley

Black and white photograph

Athenaeum safe & contents - Booklet Savings Bank passbook - The Savings Bank Beechworth Branch No 151

Stanley Athenaeum & Public Room, Stanley

Booklet, blue grey title in bold black print, 16cm X 11cm, 7 pages of text then 6 double pages of handwritten banking transactions, then one double page re Offices The Savings Bank. External covers have 'Cancelled' stamp.

Historical information

This bank passbook. Tells the story of the finances of the Trustees of the early 1900s 'Stanley Foresters', It also is a reflection of the social history of the groups that existed in Stanley at the turn of the 20th century, and the groups who met at the Stanley Athenaeum. The Athenaeum also holds the ornate wooden Stanley Foresters memorial board.

Inscriptions & Markings

External covers have been stamped 'Cancelled' . 6 double pages of handwrtten banking transactions in ink from Sept 16th 1900 - Oct 31, 1917 Account name 'Trustees A. O. Foresters Stanley'

Athenaeum safe & contents - Metal cash box #2

Stanley Athenaeum & Public Room, Stanley

This solid box has a dark purple gold & red design. There is an ornate latch & handle on the lid, and a pair of handles each end. Internal cash box has a black metal removable insert box of 3 compartments. When sitting inside cash box there is space underneath for notes/papers. There is a small lay lock on the front panel. No key was found for the box.

Inscriptions & Markings

"PATENT 4489" on the internal box

Athenaeum safe & contents - Cash box #1

Stanley Athenaeum & Public Room, Stanley

Rectangular metal box with removable cash drawer. Black interior gold & copper coloured detail on exterior. Brass handle on lid.

Historical information

Found in safe which has been in the building for over 100 years. Documents found in the safe indicate that it was used by the trustees of the Foresters, Stanley

Significance

That the object was used by Stanley groups/ residents

Photograph - Snow Scene Wallace Street Stanley

Stanley Athenaeum & Public Room, Stanley

Street scene, view down Wallace Street towards the Star Hotel, shops and a man with a horse and cart with apron and a small boy

Inscriptions & Markings

Stanley in Winter

Photograph - Miss Wilcox's Dancing Class Early 1900s

Stanley Athenaeum & Public Room, Stanley

Black and white photograph A group of 12 girls in white frocks with fans

Significance

Part of the social history of the Stanley community and the life of children in rural Australia

Photograph - Weslyan (Methodist) Church Main Street Stanley

Stanley Athenaeum & Public Room, Stanley

Photograph - Percy Hill's Stanley-Beechworth Bus

Stanley Athenaeum & Public Room, Stanley

Honour Board - Ancient Order of Foresters Dispensation

Stanley Athenaeum & Public Room, Stanley

Made of hardwood. It is constructed to be opened by a pair of hinged doors. It has a carved additional piece affixed to the top of the honour board. On each of the doors are inscribed members of the organisation. The main panel has a decorative mission statement of the order and is behind glass

Inscriptions & Markings

"AOF" in gold lettering on the carved wooden piece on top of the board

Photograph - Stanley Agricultural Show Day 1931

Stanley Athenaeum & Public Room, Stanley

Photograph - Star Hotel, Wallace St Stanley

Stanley Athenaeum & Public Room, Stanley

Black and white photograph

Inscriptions & Markings

Original Star Hotel Stanley Owner Charlie Rudolf

Photograph - Weslyan Church Main Street Stanley

Stanley Athenaeum & Public Room, Stanley

Black and white photograph

Inscriptions & Markings

Thorley Family Collection Stanley