In 1809 the colony of New South Wales was little more than a collection of rudely built dwellings and institutions designed to house convicts and their military guards. But the Reverend Samuel Marsden (who had succeeded Richard Johnson to become the senior Church of England minister in New South Wales) knew the time had come to begin an educative process which would benefit every inhabitant of the colony. While in England he advertised for donations to help found a ‘Lending Library for the general benefit of the inhabitants of New South Wales’. He hoped the library would cover ‘Divinity and Morals, History, Voyages and Travels, Agriculture in all its branches, Mineralogy and Practical Mechanics’. He returned to Australia with a number of donations to the ‘Port Jackson Lending Library’, the very first lending library in the colony.
Today, the remnants of that library survive as part of Moore Theological College.
These remnants, as well as other old or rare books, objects and paper ephemera are stored in the library as “treasures”. They include important theological works as well as items of historical interest.
The Moore Treasures Collection is a wide-ranging and fascinating trove of historical items including remnants from Marsden’s original lending library, as well as other old or rare books, objects and paper ephemera. Explore some of our treasures below.
If you would like to know more about the Moore Treasures collection, or you have a specific question about one of the items on display, please contact Special Collections Librarian, Erin Mollenhauer. You can also take a look at the Donald Robinson library site. We look forward to hearing from you.