Library in a timeline

Year 
1958 The State Government of Victoria founded Monash University.
1959
The University purchased farmland in Clayton from W.P. and H.E. O’Shea. This and other early developments were described in a retrospective article which appeared in 1968.
1960
Monash University Library (MUL) was established.  Ernest Clark commenced as the foundation University Librarian and recruited the first Library staff.

Monash University Archives, IN0002
Monash University Archives, IN0002

The Library collection was established, first housed in a room at the Vice Chancellor’s residence, then in a cottage previously used by the farm overseer, then in the Volkswagen factory in Dandenong Road, all because of rapid expansion. At the factory, some staff parked their cars near their desks on wet days.

Monash University Archives, IN1890
Monash University Archives, IN1890

1961
The University opened to students.

The Library opened in temporary accommodation on the ground floor of the Science Faculty.

1962
The Hargrave Library, named after engineer and inventor Sir Lawrence Hargrave, officially opened. This was the first of four planned branch libraries.

Monash University Archives, IN3918, Photographer Wolfgang Sievers
Monash University Archives, IN3918, Photographer Wolfgang Sievers

Construction of the Main Library started.
1963
The Library’s collection and services were split between the Hargrave (Sciences) and Main (Humanities & Social Sciences) Libraries.

The Biomedical Library collection was established in the Anatomy Department.

The Alfred Hospital clinical library opened.

1964
The Main Library stage 1 officially opened. The ceremony included speeches by Ernest Clark and Sir John Eccles.

Monash University Archives, IN7238, Photographer Wolfgang Sievers
Monash University Archives, IN7238, Photographer Wolfgang Sievers

The Southeast Asian research collection was established.

The Library proposed use of computers for cataloguing and other library technical services.

1965 The Duchess of Gloucester toured the Main Library during a royal visit to the University.
1966
The single storey Biomedical Library stage 1 opened but its operations were almost immediately moved to temporary accommodation because the building was overcrowded. (No photo available).


The Library recruited a computer analyst who oversaw the introduction of computerised systems over many years. The first included computerised support for thesaurus production, file searching and management of reserve items and periodicals lists. Investigations into computerised catalogue card production and sharing of catalogue data began.

1967 The Rare Books Collection was established.
1968
The Law Library officially opened.

Monash University Archives, IN0064
Monash University Archives, IN0064

The Biomedical Library stage 2 opened. It was again severely overcrowded by the early 1970s.

Monash University Archives, IN4062
Monash University Archives, IN4062

The Friends of the Library group was established. The Friends were instrumental in the growth of the Rare Books Collection.

A computer-based circulation system was developed (introduced in 1969).

1969
The Main Library stage 2 officially opened.

Monash University Archives, IN4124
Monash University Archives, IN4124

1970 
1971
The Library established a graduate library in the Menzies Building for the Faculty of Economics and Politics, known as the Cochrane Library after Professor Don Cochrane, the foundation Dean of the faculty.

The Current Order File (COF) computerised resource acquisitions system was implemented.

1972

Brian Southwell commenced as University Librarian.

1972
Monash University Archives, IN0349

A group of Library staff proposed renaming the Main Library the “Clark Library,” after the founding University Librarian.

1973
A security system was installed to reduce theft of Library books.

The Library collection had grown in size and importance to the point that other libraries were borrowing materials at almost twice the rate of the Monash community.

1974 
1975
Stage 2 of the Main Library was extended upward to provide more space for stacks (stage 3).

Monash University Archives, IN7193, Photographer Herve Alleaume
Monash University Archives, IN7193, Photographer Herve Alleaume

Prof. Perry Morrison, Head of the School of Librarianship at the University of Oregon, spent 9 months working in the Library to further his studies of comparitive library practice. Prof. Morrison’s report on his experiences, which praised the “maturity and sophistication” of the Library, was received in June 1976.

1976
MUL was the first library in Melbourne to subscribe to the comprehensive ERIC (Educational Resources Information Center) index on microfiche.

The Library reported that since 1970, Equivalent Full-Time Students had increased by 25.5% but loans had increased by 108%.

1977 Resources were barcoded to allow tracking of items between branches. This service extended to Rusden and Burwood Colleges.
1978 The Plessey Automated Circulation System was implemented, providing fully automated loans.
1979 
1980
The Library reported its one millionth acquisition; it was noted that the other Australian universities with such large collections had all taken much longer than 20 years to achieve this milestone.

The card catalogue closed at the end of the year, with all future catalogue records to be on microfiche produced by computer-assisted cataloguing.

Abseiling from the Main Library roof was offered as an Open Day and O-Week activity during the 1980s and early 90s.

Monash University Archives, IN6255
Monash University Archives, IN6255

1981 The Sesame computer system was implemented to replace the Current Order File.
1982 
1983 Restrictive budgets in the early and mid-1980s led to a reduction in acquisitions and delays to other Library initiatives.
1984 The Monash Information Processing (MIPS) computer system, also known as Sesame2, was implemented to replace Sesame.
1985 
1986 
1987 The Library Automation Committee was established to assess the Library's requirements and make recommendations regarding a commercial computerised management system.
1988
Edward Lim commenced as University Librarian.

Monash University Archives, IN6227
Monash University Archives, IN6227

1989
An Online Public Access Catalogue (OPAC) was implemented in Sesame2 to replace the card cabinets.

Monash University Library collection
Monash University Library collection

1990
Caulfield and Frankston (Peninsula) Libraries joined MUL as a result of the merger of the University with Chisholm Institute of Technology. Caulfield Technical School, later Caulfield Technical College, was established in 1922 and Frankston Teachers’ College in 1959.

Monash University Archives, IN4530, Photographer David Foott
Monash University Archives, IN4530, Photographer David Foott

Gippsland Library joined MUL as a result of the merger of the University with Gippsland Institute. Yallourn Technical School, later Gippsland Institute, was established in 1928.

1991 PALS, the Library’s first commercial computerised management system, was implemented.
1992
The C.L. Butchers Pharmacy Library joined MUL as a result of the merger of the University with the Victorian College of Pharmacy, which was established in 1884. Charles Leslie Butchers, who started the library collection in 1873, was an early Registrar and later Secretary of the College

Monash University Archives, IN6023, Photographer Bayswater Photographers
Monash University Archives, IN6023, Photographer Bayswater Photographers


The Library and the Monash Computer Centre jointly undertook installation of CD-ROM networking across Monash campuses, together with a pilot project using imaging technology to store documents.

1993 
1994
The Humanities & Social Sciences Branch Library, formerly the Main Library, was formally renamed the Sir Louis Matheson Library. Sir Louis (seated, in a photograph taken at the renaming ceremony) was the foundation Vice-Chancellor of the University.

Monash University Archives, IN2111
Monash University Archives, IN2111

1995
The Information Services Building (Matheson stage 4) officially opened, allowing a merger of the Caulfield and Clayton Technical Services departments.

Monash University Archives, IN6093, Photographer Richard Crompton
Monash University Archives, IN6093, Photographer Richard Crompton

Berwick Campus opened: print library resources were provided by arrangement with the Berwick TAFE Library while space was allocated on campus for an “electronic library.”

The Library’s various Asian language materials were brought together to form the Asian Studies Research Library (later Collection).

The Library developed its first website home pages, introduced an email reference service, began acquisition of electronic journals and participated in electronic publishing.

1996 
1997 The Matheson Library new front entrance officially opened, providing extra study space and shelter for the external entry steps.

Monash University Archives, IN4526, Photographer David Foott

1998
Monash University Malaysia opened.

Monash University Archives, IN4526, Photographer David Foott
Monash University Archives, IN6787

1999
The new Peninsula Library officially opened.

Monash University Archives, IN6787
Monash University Library collection

The new Gippsland Library officially opened.

Monash University Library collection
Monash University Archives, IN7984, Photographer Michelle Downing

Voyager library system was implemented, replacing PALS.

2000
The Hargrave Library was extended to accommodate the Biomedical Library, which closed. The newly merged library was named the Hargrave-Andrew Library after Sir Lawrence Hargrave and Professor Rod Andrew, the foundation Dean of Medicine at Monash.

Monash University Archives, IN 7850, Photographer Julie Fraser
Monash University Archives, IN 7850, Photographer Julie Fraser

2001
Monash South Africa opened: MUL Australia led the project to plan and establish the South Africa library.

Monash University Archives, IN7020
Monash University Archives, IN7020

The Matheson Library annexe opened to provide access for extended opening hours.

The Caulfield Library was renovated.

2002
Cathrine Harboe-Ree commenced as University Librarian.

Monash University Library collection
Monash University Library collection

MUL and the University of Melbourne Library jointly appointed a Senior Asian Studies Librarian to manage the Asian special collections at both libraries.

2003 The Monash University ePrint Repository was established.

Led by the Library, Monash was appointed the lead agency for the Commonwealth-funded Australian Research Repositories Online to the World (ARROW) project.
2004 Monash ePress was established (later Monash University Publishing).

Matheson and Caulfield Libraries recorded annual door counts of more than one million for the first time.
2005 The Monash ARROW repository was established, incorporating the Monash University ePrint Repository.
2006

Monash University Library collection
Monash University Library collection

The Berwick Library refurbishment opened.

Monash University Library collection
Monash University Library collection

2007
A new library opened at the Malaysia Campus, with support from MUL Australia.

Monash University Library collection
Monash University Library collection

A new library opened at the South Africa Campus, with support from MUL Australia.

Monash University Library collection
Monash University Library collection

The Cochrane Library closed. Working papers from the collection were digitised and added to the Monash ARROW repository.

The Learning Skills Unit was established in the Library to manage the University’s language and learning services.

2008

Monash University Library collection
Monash University Library collection

Led by the Library, Monash was appointed the lead agency for the Commonwealth-funded Australian National Data Service (ANDS).

2009
Information Research and Learning Skills was operationalised within the Library.

The Service Points Review initiated a new model for physical and virtual library service provision.

2010 The Research Skill Development Framework was introduced by the Library.
2011
The commercial Primo library management system, including Search discovery layer, was implemented to improve access to Library resources. It replaced Voyager.

The Library led the development of a research data management plan for the University.

The Ada Booth Slavic Collection was established.

2012 
2013
Alma integrated library system was implemented.
2014
The Matheson Library celebrated its 50th anniversary with a birthday cake and historical website.

MUL
Monash University Library collection

Monash University Research Repository (formerly Monash ARROW repository) reached the milestone of 100,000 records.

Transition of the Gippsland Library from MUL to Federation University began.

2015 
2016
The Matheson Library 1997 entrance was demolished as part of refurbishment works.

The Library reported its one millionth eBook acquisition.

2017
The refurbished Matheson Library officially opened.


Monash University Library collection

The refurbished Caulfield Library officially opened.

Caulfield Library
Monash University Library collection

Transition of the Berwick Library from MUL to Federation University began.

Janette Burke was appointed Interim University Librarian following Cathrine Harboe-Ree's retirement.