The State Library of New South Wales is the oldest library in Australia, having been established as the Australian Subscription Library in 1826. Located near Martin’s Place and the Royal Botanic Garden, it is an impressive building by itself. Inside, there is a large reading hall, with books covering a wide variety of subjects. It houses special collections and is also a reference and research library. Its interior also contains stained glass windows with some art carvings and artworks. Part of it is known as the Mitchell Library, after David Scott Mitchell (1836-1907), a reclusive bibliophile, who left his important and extensive collection of books to the library, along with £70,000. A further important benefactor was Sir William Dixson (1870-1952) who bequeathed a collection of 20,000 items of Australiana to the library.
The library building was designed by Walter Liberty Vernon (1864-1914), assisted by H. C. L. Anderson (1853-1924) and was built from 1905 to 1910, with further additions by Howie Bros in 1939; by FWC Powell & Sons in 1959; and by Mellocco Bros in 1964.
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