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Central Catholic Library Membership Card that belonged to Arthur Calwell #2010-0267

Rectangular card with inscription ‘Century Club Membership Ticket… Mr. A. A. Calwell…’ in a black and clear plastic pouch; this membership card is for the Central Catholic Library, Melbourne.

History

This membership card is part of a collection of objects that belonged to Arthur Calwell, Australia’s first Minister for Immigration (1945-49) that were donated to the museum by his daughter, Dr Mary Elizabeth Calwell.

This membership card is for the Central Catholic Library, Melbourne, and belonged to Arthur Calwell. The Library was established in 1924, following the example of a similar institution in Dublin and at the behest of Archbishop Mannix. Frank Murphy says in his biography Daniel Mannix that the library ‘began to play an ever increasing role in the formation of the mind of the Catholic community. As a meeting-place, as well as a library, with regular lectures and discussions, formal and informal, it became a centre indeed’ (Murphy, 1948, p. 119). The books in the library eventually became the nucleus of the Caroline Chisholm Library, which is still extant. Family records indicate that Arthur and Elizabeth Calwell donated books to the library in c. 1933.

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Statement of values

This membership card is significant as part of the Arthur Calwell collection, which is comprised of a selection of objects that belonged to Australia’s first Minister for Immigration (1945-49), Arthur Calwell. The collection is significant as a whole because it tells a story about a leading Commonwealth parliamentarian of the middle decades of the twentieth century and includes highly personal material which tells of Calwell’s family life, his life-long involvement in Labor politics, and his personal religious convictions. The Arthur Calwell collection at the museum uniquely links the personal with the political, thus affording an opportunity to conduct research which tells a rounded story of this important parliamentarian.

This membership card is significant as indicating the affiliation in the 1930s of Calwell with the Century Club, Melbourne, incorporating the Central Catholic Library, an important centre of Catholic life in Melbourne in the pre-war period.

Reference:

Calwell, Arthur, Be just and fear not, Victoria: Hawthorn, 1972.

Kiernan, Colm, Calwell: a personal and political biography, Melbourne: Thomas Nelson, 1978.

Murphy, Frank. Daniel Mannix - Archbishop of Melbourne, Melbourne: The Advocate Press, 1948.

Tony Moore, Australia’s Bohemian Carnival http://publications.epress.monash.edu/doi/pdf/10.2104/ha040011?cookieSet=1

  • Central Catholic Library Membership Card that belonged to Arthur CalwellCentral Catholic Library Membership Card that belonged to Arthur Calwell —

Details

Width 83mm
Height 57mm
Depth 3mm
Medium Textile; plastic; paper card
Creator’s name Unknown
Date created Circa 1934