Through some stories we may learn a little more about the history of our area.

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Maleny's Library always
needed by the Community

By Mrs Peg Burnett

(Peg Burnett is Matriarch of the Maleny Community.   Among the many voluntary positions she has held in the Maleny Community during her lifetime has been ensuring that the Maleny Community has only the best library facilities available.)

When the first Hall - The Community Centre - was built in 1908 and rebuilt in 1913 a room in the front of the building was set aside as a Meeting Place.    As well as the local sporting bodies & charities using the room, music, speech and dancing along with the Maleny Literary & Debating Society all used this room.

About 1916 Mrs Jack (Grigor) and my mother Mrs Andy McLean (both ex school teachers) realised that Maleny needed a library.   They were both members of the Hall Committee, so had no trouble in persuading the rest of the committee of the need.   As the Hall had been built under the umbrella of The School Of Arts, they applied to the headquarters in Ann Street Brisbane for some help in stocking a library.

A nucleus of a library was supplied by the School of Arts and further books bought by the local committee.    Mrs (Grigor) and Mrs McLean manned the library for a few years, then, when fairly established, Miss Betty Blacklaw was appointed as a paid librarian and managed the library until she married in 1931.

I applied for the job and was successful, so went to Brisbane to the Ann Street Library for some training for about three months.   I opened the library on Tuesday 2pm-5pm, Friday 10am-3pm, and Saturday nights from 7-8pm before the pictures began.   I was paid 7/6 per week. Previously, Betty had used a card system, but we introduced a ledger system which was considered to be more efficient.   Readers paid a yearly subscription and books were free.   We bought our books directly from the publishers - Hodder & Stoughton, Heineman and Collins mainly - in England, and from Dymocks in Sydney when on sale.

I resigned from the library when I married (married women didn’t work then) and several other librarians carried on until a fire gutted the building in 1958.   A couple of hundred books were saved and when the Hall was rebuilt the Committee asked that I re-establish the library.   We dusted off the old books and appealed for donations of books to get the library up and running.   I might add that we got heaps of Readers Digest & Book Club books, but all were very welcome.   We charged sixpence as a book borrowing fee, and that money was used to purchase further books.    We built up a reasonable collection, but there was not enough money for non-fiction works.

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Meanwhile, the Landsborough (now the Caloundra) City Council moved towards establishing a library in Caloundra.  They previously had a School Of Arts Library, as we did.    At this time the Library Board of Queensland was interested in establishing mobile libraries to service country people so a Regional Mobile Library was established servicing the Caloundra, Noosa and Maroochy shires, with headquarters in Caloundra.


The library bus was purchased and stocked, and took to the road with Jim O’Hara as Driver/Librarian.   He was soon everybody’s friend and we were all sorry to lose him when he retired.    The books from the Maleny Library were purchased by the Board for $1,100 - the money going back into our Hall funds.

Photo Left:  Original library bus

As Maleny’s population mushroomed the need for a State Library with all modern amenities found in today’s libraries was vital so the Caloundra Council moved to that end.   The old Fruit Barn was purchased and it was converted into our beautiful library.    The library is also a meeting place and helps to fill that gap in our village life.

The Maleny library, being situated on the tranquil bank of the Obi Creek and tucked in on one side by Apex Park ensures that the Library remains a favourite reading place.    Its facilities not only provide recreation reading material for the hinterland community but important resources for people studying.

Other resources available at the library are five public access computers providing word processing and internet facilities, an electronic reference section with CD roms, a toy library section for the young and a community meeting room.

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Like the naked city there are a thousand stories in the
Sunshine Coast Hinterland

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