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Hijinks in the dome
An intriguing photograph of staff graffiti inscribed in the dome is currently on display in our Enchanted dome exhibition. Climbing into the dome to leave a signature was a popular, if dangerous, pastime for young librarians back in the day. The signature of Dianne Reilly, La Trobe Librarian from 1982 to 2008, was one of the names scrawled on this wall in 1959. She confided to us:
'I wanted to tell you something about that graffiti that I was so naughty as to write up in the dome. You see, in 1959 when I started at the lending library, which was a major division of the State Library, I was 16 and there were a lot of young people on staff. We got up to all sorts of hijinks and one of them was climbing up into the dome, into that dangerous area in the curve of the dome, which had a precarious wooden staircase leading up to it. It was a service staircase – you could actually get out onto the roof from up there. And we found that people had been there before us and left their signatures and cartoons and little squiggles and messages on the wall beside the staircase. So we all wrote our names up there. And I wrote ‘Dianne Reilly 1959’, which was the year I began, but this was the ‘60s that I was up there … It’s a pity that it’s been painted over, I think. And you know, it was terribly dangerous – so it’s probably a good thing I suppose, if it’s been completely closed off.'
You can read more in Dianne's dome story.