Welcome to the PMI Victorian History Library Inc.

The PMI Victorian History Library Inc. is a community owned and run library specialising in the history of Victoria, Australia.

The library collection is the only lending collection of its kind in Australia – with over 30,000 books for loan and over 40,000 items on site, including titles that are unavailable elsewhere. You can find information about all aspects of the history of Victoria including:

  • Company Histories
  • Design & Architecture
  • Family History/Genealogy
  • First Nations Australians
  • Theatre & Cinema
  • Town History
  • Transport
  • Visual & Performing Arts

We also provide a professional information service for our members, access to a number of indexes, directories and online resources, as well as organise and present educational activities and events.

The PMI is also the home of:

Latest News

John Chandler – Former Library President and Board Member has passed away

Passing of John Chandler OAM It is with sadness that we advise of the passing of former Library President and Board Member, Councillor and...

Celebrating 170 years, noting many a change

On the first of May in the year 1854, we proudly proclaimed our existence during a public gathering. Before the establishment of the town...

Interviewing Robyn Annear: CORNERS OF MELBOURNE

Robyn Annear is author of eight books of history, including Bearbrass, A City Lost & Found: Whelan the Wrecker’s Melbourne, Adrift in...

Wanting to renew or reserve library items?

Opening Hours

Tues to Fri: 10.00am–4.00pm
Sat to Mon: Closed

Contact Us

Join the Library

You will be supporting a not-for-profit, community organisation and one of the oldest libraries in Victoria.

PMI Newsletter

Our regular newsletter features information about what is happening at the library, upcoming events and articles about Victorian history.

Upcoming Events

May
2
Thu
Creative Writing Course
May 2 @ 11:00 am – Jun 27 @ 1:30 pm
Creative Writing Course

We have partnered with Prahran Place to bring you a Creative Writing Course. This course is a Learn Local course. Learn Local (ACFE) funded places are for those wishing to upskill, try for a new career, return to study or volunteer regardless of prior training or employment status. Contact us to find out if you are eligible.

The nine-week introductory program will cover:

  • Inspiration and ideas that compel us to write
  • Short stories and their structure, form and function
  • Character depth and arc; writing realistic dialogue
  • Poetry of place, inner worlds in relation to environment
  • Writing prompts for stimulating the imagination and silencing the inner critic.


Click here to register: https://socialplanet.com.au/activity/view?id=21078 

Jun
26
Wed
Family History Workshops
Jun 26 @ 10:30 am – 2:30 pm
Family History Workshops

👩🏽‍👩🏽‍👦🏽‍👦🏽 Family History Workshops hosted by Wendy Eldridge from our Friends of the Library.

Do you want some guided help with your family history journey? We can help. Join a friendly and supportive environment while making use of the many resources available at the PMI Victorian History Library.

Our workshops will cover:
28 Feb – What you need to know what you Get Started
24 Apr – What Beginners should do
26 Jun – Special Guest
28 Aug – Doing your family history using Ancestry
30 Oct – Understanding Military Records and Resources

Bookings are essential.

Click here to register: https://www.trybooking.com/CMVYL

Jul
2
Tue
PMI Bookclub
Jul 2 @ 11:15 am – 12:15 pm
PMI Bookclub

📖 PMI’s Monthly Book Club – Led by Friend of the Library, Raymond.

Join a friendly, considerate and open group for a chat about books. We meet on the first Tuesday of every month and choose our next book’s in advance. Keep an eye on your email and the PMI’s social media for details about what we are reading next.

In 2023 we read books like The Women In Black by Madeleine St John, Eucalyptus by Murray Bail and The Time We Have Taken by Steven Carroll. But we are always open to suggestions!

Click here to register: https://www.trybooking.com/CMWBA

Jul
23
Tue
Some Rambles with the Campbells
Jul 23 @ 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Some Rambles with the Campbells

🍃 Some rambles with the Campbells – The life and times of Western District pastoralist politician, and Anglican vicar, Colin Campbell (1817-1903) and his family.

This talk with Dr. Ian Clark will cover Colin Campbell and his wife Frances Campbell (née McWhirter) and their relationship with the Djabwurrung Aboriginal people of the Buangor district. Colin Campbell actively supported missionary efforts to improve the living conditions of Aboriginal people and when the Victorian government sought to introduce a system of local guardians to distribute rations and supplies to Aboriginal people in their districts and correspond with the government on their circumstances, he willingly became the local guardian in the Buangor district.

This will be an online event, so a stable internet connection is necessary. Bookings are essential.

Click here to register: https://www.trybooking.com/CRMDP

Jul
24
Wed
Rare Book and Materials Collecting in Libraries
Jul 24 @ 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm
Rare Book and Materials Collecting in Libraries

📜 Rare Book and Materials Collecting in Libraries: past, present and future.

Join Ellen Coates (PMI Victorian History Library – Collections Librarian and Volunteer Coordinator), Jillian Hiscock (Royal Historical Society of Victoria – Collections Manager and Volunteer Coordinator) and Anne Holloway (Monash University – Manager of Special Collections) in a panel discussion of how libraries collect rare books, what we do with them, how we make them accessible and collecting rare materials into the future.

The discussion will be facilitated by Judith Ellis PMI Library President and retired archivist. Come along to the fascinating opportunity to see behind the scenes of rare book collecting in libraries and uncover the stories and treasures that go into shaping our rare book collection today and into the future. There will be time to ask questions of the panel too.

Bookings are essential with a gold coin for entry.

Click here to register: https://www.trybooking.com/CQNOB

Aug
6
Tue
PMI Bookclub
Aug 6 @ 11:15 am – 12:15 pm
PMI Bookclub

📖 PMI’s Monthly Book Club – Led by Friend of the Library, Raymond.

Join a friendly, considerate and open group for a chat about books. We meet on the first Tuesday of every month and choose our next book’s in advance. Keep an eye on your email and the PMI’s social media for details about what we are reading next.

In 2023 we read books like The Women In Black by Madeleine St John, Eucalyptus by Murray Bail and The Time We Have Taken by Steven Carroll. But we are always open to suggestions!

Click here to register: https://www.trybooking.com/CMWBA

Aug
13
Tue
Melbourne’s Art Deco Cinemas of the late 1930s
Aug 13 @ 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm
Melbourne's Art Deco Cinemas of the late 1930s

🍿Melbourne’s Art Deco cinemas of the late 1930s

As Melbourne emerged from the Depression in 1935 its citizens could again afford a night out at the pictures. The suburbs saw many new cinemas built, until it was curtailed by wartime building restrictions in 1941. Join Royce Harris of the Cinema and Theatre Historical Society (CATHS) as we explore the cinema experience of the 30s as well as take a look at the buildings themselves, which were moderne variations of the Art Deco architecture of the time.

Several of these cinemas, including the Rivoli in Camberwell and the Yarraville Sun, are still screening but you will also discover many long forgotten gems.

This is our annual Bruce Turner Lecture as well.

Bookings are essential with a gold coin for entry.

Click here to register: https://www.trybooking.com/CQIBC

Aug
20
Tue
Exodus from Vienna
Aug 20 @ 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm
Exodus from Vienna

🛄 Exodus from Vienna

Following the 1938 annexation of Austria by Nazi Germany, many members of Vienna’s vibrant Jewish community sought safe havens overseas to escape growing persecution. Amongst them were Michael and Regine Weiss and their family. Their story, as told through records held by the National Archives of Australia and other information provided by their descendants, reveals much about Australia’s attitudes towards Jewish refugees during these dark days.

Presented by Patrick Ferry, Assistant State Manager of the Victoria office of the National Archives of Australia. Patrick is an archivist with over 20 years of experience in the field. He is also the author of various local history books and the winner of a Victorian Community History Award in 2020.

Bookings are essential with a gold coin for entry.

Click here to register: https://www.trybooking.com/CQIBK

Recent Additions

Catch up on the latest additions to our collections.

Research Guides

Our staff can help with catalogue search, reference lookups & referrals.

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PMI Blog

Instituting the Past, a blog from the staff and members of the PMI library.