About the Project and the ‘Living Library’

The Robert Menzies Collection comprises almost 4000 books from the library of Sir Robert Gordon Menzies, Prime Minister of Australia from 1939 to 1941 and 1949 to 1966. The collection is both a personal library and a working one: it includes gifts from family members and friends as well as material relating to Menzies’ career from barrister to Prime Minister. It spans his life from schooldays to retirement. In this sense, it is a ‘living library’; a reflection of a life. The collection also includes books belonging to his father James Menzies, his wife Dame Pattie Menzies and other family members.

Dates of Acquisition

We have tried to determine when each book was added to the collection. These dates have been recorded in the ‘Summary’ section of each book record. Sources for dates include:

  • Books signed and dated by Menzies himself.
  • Dated inscriptions in books given by others.
  • Presentation slips from organisations that Menzies was associated with.
  • ‘Prime Minister’s Office’ stamps. These record the date that books were received.
  • ‘Acknowledged’ dates. These are usually pencilled at the top of the front endpaper.


‘Menzies Locations’ are taken from a typed catalogue of the collection held in the records of the University of Melbourne. The list records whether a book was held in Menzies’ office, his study or his bedroom. The list does not include every book in the collection, so some ‘Book’ records do not include a ‘Menzies Location’.

‘Locations’ in the form 1.1, 1.2 etc. refer to the bay and shelf in the Leigh Scott Room, Baillieu Library.

Access to the Collection

The Robert Menzies Collection is managed by Special Collections, part of the University of Melbourne Library. It is not an open access collection. For more information see http://www.lib.unimelb.edu.au/sg/help/collection/baillspcmenz.html.

Further Reading

  • Attwell, Alan. ‘Menzies Between the Covers.’ The Age, 22 July 1982, 9.
  • Stone, Caitlin and Jim Berryman. ‘The Robert Menzies Collection.’ University of Melbourne Collections 12 (June 2013): 45-50.