3. Books from our predecessor: the Perth Technical College Department of Architecture Library.

During 2017 50 Objects will feature items gifted or acquired from various sources, and how they came to be part of the Curtin library story. The post for this week traces the origins of some of the first books  to be included in the WAIT library which were previously owned by West Australian architects.

In 1946 the first students commenced study in the Department of Architecture of the Perth Technical College, followed a few years later by the establishment of  a library to support the department. Tom Oakley was appointed as the first librarian and commenced building the collection with an intensive acquisition program, through purchase and with material donated from local architects’ offices. The library came to be well regarded by the profession which was a mutually beneficial relationship. The architects were able to use the library and subsequently contributed  further material to the collection.

When the first students commenced at Bentley in 1967, the WAIT library was stilling being planned. A room for library use was allocated in the Chemistry Department, while other library services were provided from the Perth Technical College libraries in the Old Perth Boys’ School, St Georges Terrace and at James Street. Staff mostly remained in the city locations until the opening of the Robertson Library in 1971. Resources were then transferred from the college library collection to the new WAIT library, and from the original college collection came some of those earlier donated architecture titles.

While the provenance of many older items in the Curtin library are unknown, the names of significant West Australian architects are found in several of these volumes

A Monograph on the Work of McKim, Mead & White, Students Edition, 1925  was donated by H.A. Krantz in 1954.

Four volumes of American Architecture of the Twentieth Century, 1927, bear the stamp of George Temple Poole.


George Herbert Parry’s name is signed on the title page of Classic Architecture 1901.



These books are all folios of loose leaf plates and are stored with other rare and fragile items in the John Curtin Prime Ministerial Library stacks. There are many unique and valuable items given to the library by supporters who have contributed to the successful development of the libraries of Perth Technical College, WAIT and Curtin University. In the coming weeks we will be featuring more objects from some well known and not so well known donors.

For more about the history of the Perth Technical College and WAIT libraries see  Coming of Age in Librarianship: a Festschrift for the 21st birthday of the WAIT Library, edited by G.G Allen and I. Zoll, 1990.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *