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Australia’s Most Beautiful Libraries

Libraries began as a way to collect and maintain documents, and expanded into a building representative of expressing a nation’s cultural heritage. This led to a metamorphosis in the approach to architectural and aesthetic design in the building of libraries, and many have been built around the world as a monument of knowledge and culture whatever the nation. Australia is no stranger to this, and boasts some of the most beautiful libraries in the world. The following list is by no means exhaustive, but these are some of the most beautiful buildings in Australia that house literary and historical documents.


South Australian State Library

This library was built and opened in 1884, and its famed Murtlock Wing was once home to South Australia's museum, art and library collections. Beginning with 23,000 volumes and just three librarians to man the space, it wasn’t long before the library was expanded with a museum and gallery to house all of its volumes. The 130-year-old chairs, which have been preserved despite extensive use, are made much smaller than they would be if they were made today, as evidence to the fact that people today are much taller. Listed amongst some of the most beautiful libraries in the world, this library in Adelaide is one of Australia’s architectural masterpieces.


Victorian State Library

This gorgeous library is one of the most massive in the country, with over 2 million volumes within its collection. It’s also home to many historical documents, including the diaries of the city’s founders, journals of Captain James Cook, and the armor of infamous outlaw Ned Kelly. The library is also home to an extensive chess program with allows students to use its materials while they’re learning the skills of the game.

The State Library of New South Wales

 The State Library of New South Wales is the oldest library in all of Australia. Built in 1845, it was purchased by the government in 1869 and was renamed as the Sydney Free Public Library. The most famous, and visually impressive, part of the library is the Mitchell Wing, which was completed in 1910. The wing was named for one of the benefactors, David Scott Mitchell, who personally owned an expansive collection of rare first editions and documents, including original journals of James Cook.


Murray Bridge Library

While one of the youngest libraries on this list, this library is unique in that its redesign is focused on becoming a social amenity for the people in the local community. The city council hired architectural firm, HASSELL, to design the space as a place that connected locals, and expressed the diversity and dedication to learning of the community. Considered an elevated approach to a hybrid between a library and community center, the Murray Bridge Library hosts several workshops, classes, and events that the general public can enjoy collectively.

Visiting Australia? Try some of the accommodation options offered by Stayz and make sure to visit any of these beautiful buildings, explore and enjoy an afternoon reading a good book.

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