Home > Articles > The Colonial Library

The Colonial Library

by Shane Carmody

Img.-55-15ty6tk-300x125.jpgGoold’s library contained extensive texts in Theology, Philosophy, Liturgy, Scripture, and the Papacy. The more unexpected include works on art and architecture, medicine, poetry but not fiction, a wide range in history, law and reference texts including dictionaries, atlases and encyclopedias. An inventory made in 1866, 18 years after his arrival in Melbourne, reveals a library of over 800 titles and given the many multi-volume publications, well over 1,000 books. Goold continued to build his Library for the next two decades, and would have been one of the most extensive private  collections in the Colony. Reflecting Goold’s interest in art and architecture are the first Paris printing of the plates of Giovanni Battista Piranesi (27 elephant folio volumes), published by his son Francesco in 1800, as well as books that influenced his architectural patronage. They include Augustus Welby Pugin: Contrasts: or A Parallel between the Noble Edifices of the Middle Ages and Corresponding Buildings of the Present Day (1841 edition) and Glossary of Ecclesiastical Ornament and Costume (1846 edition). Goold also had a copy of William and James Pain’s, Pain’s British Palladio or the Builder’s General Assistant, demonstrating in the most easy and practical method, all the principal rules of architecture, illustrated with several new and useful designs of houses, London 1790.

Reflecting his interest in Rome Goold’s had Filippo Maria Mignanti’s Istoria della Sacrosanto Patriacale Basilica Vaticana, 1867; Giacomo Fontana’s Raccolta delle Migliori Chiese di Roma e Suburbane, 1855; and Filipo Gerardi’s La Patriacale Basilica Laterenese, 1832-1834. He also had a copy of John Burley Waring’s Arts connected with Architecture illustrated by Examples in Central Italy, 1858. The library of James Goold was largely forgotten after his death and dispersed in the early 1970s. A large fragment survives in the archives of the Melbourne Diocesan Historical Centre alongside a partial inventory and brief description. These remnants are sufficient to show that this library ranked amongst the most important private collections in the Colony, and that it can be compared to other major collections such as that assembled by Sir Charles Nicholson in Sydney, Sir George Grey in Auckland, and John MacGregor in Melbourne.