Heritage Collections

At the Victorian Music Library, String Orchestra music is the section with the largest amount of music, as the VML was originally founded in 1974 to service string players and teachers. Much of our collection is now either out of print or is available by commercial hire only, making the music highly sought after.

There is a large quantity of piano and vocal scores of musicals from the 1920’s - 1950’s which were performed in Victoria.

The Bertha Jorgensen collection
Bertha Jorgensen was leader of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra for many years. This collection is very important in the history of string playing and violin technique in Victoria as there is a direct line from Joachim (Germany) and through Charles Manby, who was one of the early violinists involved in teaching teachers and students in Victorian State Schools. The fingering, bowing and editions are of particular importance to performers.

The ASTRA collection
This collection (mainly orchestra) is on permanent loan to the VML. Much of this music was chosen by George Logie-Smith for the ASTRA orchestra. It is very heavily borrowed by schools and is a high usage section of the orchestral collection.

The Percy Pledger collection
This consists of a large quantity of 1920’s and 1930’s music performed in Melbourne by radio and theatre orchestras. This we believe is half of the collection of the dance band music performed in Melbourne from 1920’s, 1930’s. and early 1940’s.

Robbins - dance band set
This is one of only three complete dance band sets in Australia, and we believe the only set available in a music library at this stage.

The Light Orchestra collection
This is another collection of 1920’s and 1930’s light orchestra collection. 

The Canon magazine
The VML holds an almost complete set of this periodical magazine from the 1950’s and 1960’s which specialized in performance of music. 

The Young Talent Time collection
This collection contains almost 6,000 charts of professional arrangements of popular songs etc. performed for television in the 1970’s and 1980’s in Melbourne. These arrangements are valuable for the history of Victoria and television and, in addition, they are particularly suitable for a different style of performance material in Victorian Schools.


The VML staff work in co-operation with other music librarians involved in research and collections in Melbourne. The VML has the only copies of some of the serials which were being abstracted for the history of Victoria.

The VML has also assisted other libraries interstate who have more complete collections, where multiple copies were available.