History of the Melbourne Rare Book Fair


The inaugural Australian Antiquarian Booksellers' Fair was held at Monash University in August 1972. Nine local booksellers, and one London bookseller, Bernard Quaritch, exhibited.

Fifty-one years, and some 50 fairs later, despite a global pandemic and several world crises, ANZAAB will hold the 51st Australian Antiquarian Book Fair in July 2023.

In past years, the Fair regularly alternated between Sydney and Melbourne venues. In 1979 and 1992 the Fair was held in Perth and in 2004, the 20th Australian Antiquarian Fair coincided with the 37th ILAB Congress in Melbourne and was held at the historic Royal Exhibition Building in the Carlton Gardens.

In 2012, Melbourne Rare Book Week was launched with the Australian Antiquarian Book Fair as its zenith. The Fair, now known, when held in Melbourne as the Melbourne Rare Book Fair, was held in Wilson Hall at the University of Melbourne.

The University of Melbourne has been the annual home of the Melbourne Rare Book Fair since then.

And since 2013, a second annual Australian Antiquarian Book Fair has been held in Sydney usually at the end of October/beginning of November under ANZAAB's auspices now known as The Sydney Rare Book Fair.

State Library Victoria Books detail