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East Asian Collection: East Asian Cultural Collection

This guide describes the services and resources provided by the East Asian Collection, the University of Melbourne Library.

East Asian Cultural Collection

The East Asian Cultural Collection books have location code start with UniM Baill Spc/EA ...... They are not for loan and to be used in Special Collections Reading Room only. Click here to request an item.

The East Asian Cultural Collection comprises Chinese and Japanese language rare books.

The Chinese material includes 7,000 volumes of oriental-style works dating from the 1600s to 1935, as well as scrolls of painting and calligraphy, magazines published in the 1930s and diaries from the Cultural Revolution period.

The Japanese rare books are particularly strong in history, art, architecture, language learning and teaching and popular culture. There is a comprehensive collection of kokuho shuri hokokusho (restoration reports of 'national treasure' temples and other buildings);  items relating to the Kanto Earthquake of 1 September, 1923 (Kanto Daishinsai);  pamphlets and booklets advising the populace on how to prepare for American air raids during the Second World War; and ephemera from Japan's occupation of Manchuria in the 1930s.

The Thomas Chong Collection

This Collection consists of 500 books published in classical Chinese from the 1890s - early 1920s, which comprise the professional library of Thomas Chong, Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner, who conducted his practice in Bairnsdale from the 1920s - 1940s. In addition to the published material, there are 10 notebooks in manuscript, and a number of small bundles of herbal orders addressed to wholesale distributors in Melbourne.

Almost 300 of books in the collection are on traditional Chinese medical theory and practice and include such categories as Herbal Medicine and Prescriptions, Internal Medicine, Surgery and Chinese Medicine Cases. Another 150 volumes are on Western Medicine in Chinese language, and cover the fields familiar to western practitioners - Anatomy, Pathology, Pharmacology, Surgery, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Paediatrics, Infectious Diseases, Dermatology etc., as well as Nursing, Health Care, First Aid, and Massage. A number contain fine woodcuts illustrating the various plants from which the herbal preparations were made, whilst others on Anatomy are illustrated showing the bones with their muscular attachments outlined, familiar to western medical students of today. There are 6 volumes of medical dictionaries and other reference books, whilst 25 compare both Chinese and Western forms of medicine. Finally, there are another 60 or so volumes addressing a miscellany of subjects including Medical Law, Philosophy, and Religion.


Click here to view individual titles.

Futher readings:

 A story behind a gift : Chinese medical practice in early rural Gippsland, By Ann Brothers.

         Thomas Chong’s Chinese medical practice in early rural Gippsland, Victoria



R.F. Price Collection

The R.F. Price Collection at the University of Melbourne Library is a collection of Chinese books published from the 1960s to 1980s. It is unique in western libraries, with its strong focus on school textbooks, children books and books associated with education in China. It was donated to the University by Dr. R.F. Price in July 2007.

The R.F. Price Collection has a good coverage political publications published during the Cultural Revolution of China. The Collection includes a comprehensive collection of Chinese primary and high school textbooks, books on a variety of education disciplines such as educational theory, administration and systems, educational history, biographies of educators and directories of educational institution in China. There is also a rich collection of children's books, which are rarely found in Australian libraries.

 Click here to view individual titles.


Further reading:  The R.F. Price Collection - University of Melbourne


The Cultural Revolution of China Collection

The University of Melbourne Library started to collect Cultural Revolution resources about 10 years ago. Materials collected comprise propaganda materials, textbooks, children books, posters, Red Guard newspapers and working diaries …..

Further reading:

Researching with the Proletarian Cultural Revolution in China at the University of Melbourne Library.