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Chinese Studies (archived)

Chinese Rare and Cultural Collection


The Chinese rare and cultural book collection comprises more than 7,000 volumes of oriental-style works dating from the 1600s to 1935,  scrolls of painting and calligraphy, magazines published in the 1930s, Chinese herbal medicine books published in 1900s and primary sources from the Cultural Revolution period.

The books are stored at the compactus, 3rd floor of the Baillieu Library. Call numbers are having the location code UniM Bail Spc/EA. They are not available for loan, but are available for research use and may be used in the Cultural Collections Reading Room (floor plan) on the 3rd floor of the Baillieu Library.

All items must be pre-requested for delivery to the Cultural Collections Reading Room at the following times:

  • 10.00am
  • 12.00pm
  • 2.00pm
  • 4.00pm

Requests for items can be made online prior to visiting the reading room. [ Request Form ]
Enquiries or requests can also be made by telephone (03) 8344 5380 or email:

The Harry Simon Collection

The Harry Simon Collection consists of 1030+ books published in classical Chinese from the 1880s? – the 1980s which comprises the private research collection of Professor Emeritus Harry Felix Simon, an eminent linguist originally from London, was appointment Foundation Professor of Oriental Studies at the University of Melbourne. During his term in office he played an important role in the establishment of teaching and research in the discipline of oriental Studies (which later changed its name to East Asian Studies), including the teaching of Chinese and Japanese languages. Materials in the Collection consist of books in Chinese literature and language, history and the arts. There is an incomplete set of early 1930s primary school textbooks and a few valuable titles of Chinese poems in oriental bindings. There are 11 pieces of stone rubbings.

The Harry Simon Collection was presented to the University Library by the Asia Institute, the University of Melbourne in 2009. The cataloguing of this collection was funded generously by the Asia Institute and the donors to the 2009 and 2012 University Appeal.

Click here to view the individual titles of the Collection.

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. The latter are inscribed in the traditional manner using black ink and brush on rice paper.

The books cover a broad range of topics and indicate the breadth and depth of Chong's classical education and subsequent medical training (acquired predominantly in Canton), and his continued intellectual pursuits throughout his long, scholarly life. Some of these books are bound simply in the traditional Chinese manner, with paper covers hand sewn with string, whilst others are have hard covers and are bound in the western manner.

Almost 300 of the books 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 see individual title.


The R. F. Price Collection

The R.F. Price Collection 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.

Dr. Price is a scholar of comparative education, who has written widely on education in China. Born in the UK, he taught there, in Bulgaria, Ghana, and in the School of Education at La Trobe University. In 1965 he went to teach English at the Second Foreign Languages Institute, Beijing, returning to the UK in the summer of 1967. Some of the collection items were purchased by Dr. Price during his stay in Beijing, others in subsequent visits to China or Hong Kong.

In 1966, during the first period in which Dr. Price taught in China, Mao Zedong launched the Cultural Revolution, leading to ten years of chaos in China with widespread suffering and loss of life. During the Revolution China suffered from a severe shortage of books. Publications during this period had a strong emphasis on politics: the propagation of Marxism-Leninism and Mao Zedong thought. The R.F. Price Collection has a good coverage of this type of political publication. 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 see  individual titles