We want to be a catalyst for generating new knowledge and ideas, and a place where all Victorians can discover, learn, create and connect.Find out more about our strategic vision
Judy Horacek on her Creative Fellowship
Judy Horacek is one of Australia's best known cartoonists. Her iconic Woman with Altitude character (pictured on this page) and myriad other recognisable identities regularly appear in newspapers, books, T-shirts, tea towels and coffee mugs both in Australia and further afield. Even your kids will know Judy thanks to her much-loved children's books, including successful collaborations with Mem Fox.
Between now and the end of the month, Judy is appearing at three events at the Melbourne Writers Festival. It seems a timely occasion to share some more of Judy's rich memories of time spent at the Library.
Here Judy recounts the year she spent as a Library Creative Fellow.
'I was lucky enough to be a Creative Fellow at the Library in 2006. Working in the Library had a warming familiarity. There had been major changes since I’d last worked here intensively: the dome now sang with light, but it had kept its air of learning and thought. I had been living interstate for over a decade but was planning to return to my hometown, Melbourne. Applying for and being awarded the State Library Fellowship felt like a small symbolic step towards that.
'Not coincidentally, my fellowship project was about ‘home’. I read letters and diaries by people who had migrated here in the early days of settlement. I was trying to locate the moment when they changed from calling somewhere else ‘home’ to calling Australia ‘home’. Of course, it’s always more complicated than that. I came to realise that home can be the place you are, or the place you aren’t; sometimes it’s both at once.
'I still have my ‘Scholar’ Library pass which I wore at the time with pride and a slight sense of fraud. I loved arriving at the Library on winter mornings and being able to swipe my pass and enter, while mere mortal Library users had to wait, shivering outside, until the place opened. I loved walking through doors marked ‘Staff only’ to get to my little office. I loved the photo collections I used to look through of 19th-century Melburnians outside their houses; little cards that were sent to relatives and friends abroad to show ‘this is where we live’.
'Now I live in Melbourne again and the Library is on many of my goat-tracks through the city. My Scholar pass no longer works to get me in, but hey, it’s a library which means that it’s available to visit even if you are a mere mortal who has to stick with official opening hours. And that is a joyous thing.’