Dr Dianne Reilly Drury AM
Dianne Reilly Drury is a historian who was La Trobe librarian at the State Library Victoria for 26 years. In this position, she managed the Australian collections, and was responsible for the heritage collections of pictures, manuscripts, rare books and maps.
She qualified as a librarian in 1967, and had the privilege of working in every department of the State Library over her career of 49 years, recently in the philanthropy field as the Redmond Barry Society Fellow, liaising with bequestors. In 2018, she was appointed a member of the State Library Victoria Foundation Council.
Dianne is a graduate of Monash with a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in French and English in 1974, and in 1984, a Master of Arts. Her thesis was based on the life of French journalist Antoine Fauchery, pioneering photographer and gold-seeker in Victoria in 1852. The book based on her research, and co-authored with Jennifer Carew, was published in 1983 as Sun Pictures of Victoria, the first to document the life of this artist and writer.
As part of a French government professional exchange program with Australia, she worked at both the Bibliothèque Nationale de France and the library in the Centre Pompidou in Paris in 1977 and 1978.
Her doctoral studies at the University of Melbourne resulted in a PhD in 2003 about Lieutenant-Governor Charles Joseph La Trobe. She’s published widely about him, including her thesis La Trobe, the Making of a Governor, and two other books: La Trobe’s Landscapes and Sketches illustrating his appreciation of the landscape wherever he was, and Australian Note, transcribing La Trobe’s diaries in Australia.
Dianne has also been on the executive board of the Institute of French Australian Relations (ISFAR) (1985-2017; president 1991-97); the Melbourne Salon – a joint venture between RMIT University, ISFAR and the Alliance Française de Melbourne (co-convenor); La Trobe International Symposium (vice-president ); Melbourne University Press (1991-98); and Swinburne University Council (1982-89, the last two years as vice-president).
She was honoured by the French government in 1988 with the Palmes Académiques for ‘Services to the French Community in Victoria’. In 2008, she was made a Member of the Order of Australia ‘for service as a contributor to the research, recording and preservation of historic records relating to Charles La Trobe, to promoting relations between France and Australia, and to librarianship’. In 2017, she was made Fellow of the Royal Historical Society of Victoria.
Dianne’s career focus has been the provision of free access to information for all. With this in mind, she was co-founder in 2001 of the La Trobe Society, a flourishing historical association devoted to the promotion of Victoria’s colonial history.