Special Music Collections and Archives

Complementing the Library's diverse holding of Music and Multimedia, Special Collections contains an extraordinary amount of early sheet music, and composer archives.

Popular Sheet Music Collection

The Popular Sheet Music Collection in Rare Books includes over 10,000 popular sheet music titles. A title list is available. Most of the music dates from 1900 to 1970 but it includes a substantial number of examples from the nineteenth century. It is representative of the many and varied forms of music that have been popular, including show tunes, jazz, dance, etc. from Great Britain, the United States and Australia. Much of the collection are popular songs from overseas that have been published in Australia and feature Australian stage performers' portraits on the covers.

Candela Sheet Music Collection

The Candela Sheet Music Collection, from the Museo Italiano Historical Society’s Candela Family Archive, contains manuscript and printed music scores, photos and text relating to Angelo Candela, a classical violinist who arrived in Melbourne in 1920, and performed in the popular Argentine Tango Bands with other Italian musicians before directing and conducting his own bands. Much of the music is classical from pedagogical studies to concert repertoire still performed today, and representations of jazz, polka, pasodoble, rumba, tango and other music popular in Melbourne from the 1930s to the 1960s.

Australian Sheet Music Collection

The Australian Sheet Music Archive consists of up to 500 works composed by Australian composers dating from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Composers include Roy Agnew, Arthur Benjamin, May Brahe, Nigel Butterly, Percy Grainger, Frederick Hall. Edith Harrhy, Alfred Hill, Mirrie Hill, Miriam Hyde, Frank Hutchens, William James, Trevor Jones, Louis Lavater, Dorian Le Gallienne, William Lovelock, Ina Mornement, Bruce Smeaton, Margaret Sutherland and Rudolf Werther.

Monash Family Collection

The Monash Family Collection, donated by Betty Durre, daughter of Sir John Monash’s only daughter Bertha, includes 10 songs submitted for a patriotic song competition (some manuscript), plus 14 pieces of miscellaneous piano sheet music composed between the 1890s and 1931. Two pieces were written at the Front during World War One and others are either patriotic songs, dedicated to Sir John Monash, or popular songs and waltzes of the time.

Vera Bradford Music Collection

The Vera Bradford Music Collection was donated to the Peninsula Library by Vera Bradford, an Australian virtuoso pianist who graduated from the University Of Melbourne Conservatorium of Music in 1927, and who later studied with Percy Grainger in Chicago. During the time she lived on the Mornington Peninsula, she founded the Frankston Music Society and donated her own music collection of sheet music, librettos and books in 1978. The collection also contains later donations from Peninsula music groups, bands of the defence forces and other materials purchased by Monash University Library. Over 500 works have been digitised and can be viewed and downloaded here.

Australian Composer Archives

Monash University Library has received a number of donations from Australian composers. These archives consist of typescripts, published scores, sound recordings, scrapbooks, and other ephemera. The collection has archives of the following composers:

Phyllis Batchelor
Mansell Kirby
Wendy Morrissey
Linda Phillips
Esther Rofe
Margaret Sutherland
John Tallis

These archives and online finding aids, compiled by Dr Joel Crotty and Georgina Binns, can be accessed through the library catalogue and are available for consultation in the Special Collections Reading Room.