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Wednesday to Friday: 8am to 5pm
Saturday and Sunday: 12 to 5pm

Please note we are closed on public holidays.
Institute Building
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About the presenter

State Library of South Australia

For any questions regarding the event, please reach out to the State Library of South Australia:

To complement our upcoming Live and Learn talk about Sir Josiah Symon, we have a display of items from the Symon Library. Some of the items featured include:

  • Symon’s own copy, showing his ink and pencil comments, of the 1891 draft of a bill to constitute the Commonwealth of Australian
  • books showing his interest in book bindings
  • a 1924 catalogue of Symon’s Library at his property Manoah
  • a family photograph from around 1903

A formidable barrister and politician, Sir Josiah Symon (1846-1934) led another life as a collector of beautiful books. His library, whilst varied in topics, shows his particular interest in English literature. He himself wrote several books about Shakespeare. 

Symon's library was originally housed at his property Manoah (a biblical word meaning ‘place of repose’) at Upper Sturt in the Adelaide hills, where he also grew fruit trees, ornamental gardens and kept farm animals.

Sir Josiah donated his ‘gentleman’s library’ of some 7,500 volumes to the State Library in 1934 as well as the writing desk on which he helped draft the Australian Constitution, being a prominent supporter of Federation. 

The Symon Library is now housed in a dedicated room in the Mortlock Wing. The State Library also holds some of the Symon Family papers in the archival collections in PRG 249.

Image: Front cover of Pride and prejudice, by Jane Austin. Illustrated by Hugh Thomson, London, George Allen, 1894.

How do I get to the State Library by public transport?

The 'State Library, Art Gallery, Museum' tram-stop is just outside the State Library. There are bus stops close by near the War Memorial on North Terrace. The closest train station is the Adelaide city station on North Terrace.

You can plan your journey via Adelaide Metro.

Is there car parking near the State Library?

The nearest car park is Wilson's Adelaide Central car park, 225 North Terrace, next to David Jones.

There is paid metered street parking along Kintore Ave and Victoria Drive.

Where is the wheelchair and stroller access?

Access to the Spence Wing first floor and the Mortlock Chamber is via the lift in the glass foyer entrance of the library.

There is on-street disabled parking available in the nearby roads. View more information and maps of Adelaide City Council's Disability parking for permit holders.

How do I check if the Mortlock Chamber is open when I plan to visit?

The Mortlock Chamber may close for private events, check our opening hours for any closure times.

When it is open you can visit the Mortlock Chamber on the ground floor to look at the exhibition bays.  The upper levels of the Mortlock Wing include quiet study areas.

Is there a cafe at the State Library?

Yes, the State Library Cafe is open Monday to Friday from 8am to 4pm and Saturdays from 12 to 4pm.