The Victorian Canine Association's (VCA ) Library is a unique world class asset. Its collection of books and references ranks up there with the Kennel Club (UK) and the American Kennel Club. More than 15,000 catalogued items now make up this unique collection which consists not only educational material, but also pedigree information.
The amazing collection of books, videos and DVD's is unsurpassed by any other specialized canine collection in Australia. There is information on every breed recognized by the ANKC plus many which are either historical or have not yet arrived here. The disciplines and information on dog training and general topics are among the most popular items in the VCA Library.
The collection is mostly made up of donations from VCA members, deceased estates, plus people from interstate. It is all fully indexed and catalogued. The computer programme and cataloguing system initially chosen by the VCA Library Committee 25 years ago is now being used by specialist dog libraries both within Australia and overseas. This system makes access to the collection simple and enjoyable. As such, it is regularly visited by researchers, including the dozens of Ph D students writing theses on various dog related subjects.
This extensive collection also means that it can be used as a pivotal tool when dealing with Government officials. Currently, these politicians are demanding that Dogs Victoria undertake Information and Training for the General Public to satisfy obligations as an Applicable Organization. As the Library can be accessed by the General Public as well as its own members, this asset could potentially be used to fulfill part of these particular Government requirements.
Pure Breed Dog Pedigree Information
Recording animals' parentage is what pure breed organizations are all about. So many passionate enthusiasts access historical pure breed dog information from pedigrees. In England, USA, New Zealand and many European countries there have been continuous Kennel Clubs with Stud Books dating back to their first dog Shows. They list say 'Jack' as the sire and 'Mary' as the dam. But in Melbourne at our first dog show in 1864, just the dog's pet name, breed, and the name and address of the dog's owner is stated, without any mention of sires or dams. On an Australia-wide basis, this continued until the ANKC began coordinating dog registrations in 1978.That leaves a gap of 114 years before there was any semblance of an Australian Stud Book.
My published article '150 years of Registration in Australia' traces each State and Territory's various registration systems, explaining the history of registering each State's dogs. Despite some schemes formed in various States to register dogs and their pedigrees, these were haphazard and varied from State to State, akin to founding our State and Federal Governments!
Enter the 21st Century and simple computerized pedigree programs! Finally, in 2017 the ANKC made litter registrations available for public view. But for anyone passionate about compiling the continuous history of their breed from when it first arrived in Australia, it is still necessary to source the information privately and type it into their own individual computerized pedigree program.
These records come from many sources. For example, during the 1990's the then VCA Library Committee found hundreds of hand-written registration certificates dating back to the 1920's like the one on the right. These were housed in a deteriorated wooden cabinet at the Melbourne Showgrounds, stored beneath the Woodville Pavilion. What remained after the rats had been at them, were rescued. It was a disgusting job with bodies of dead rodents stuck between paper records - not to mention the droppings! It took truly passionate volunteers to go through these pedigrees and roughly sort them into breeds.
Then volunteer breed enthusiasts took over - driven by the thrill of finding pedigrees of dogs they remembered or were ancestors of their own dogs. These pedigrees are now in plastic sleeves contained within folders, stored in the VCA Library.
The VCA library's pedigree information is also contained in a continuous set of Royal Show catalogues from all States, some dating back to 1918. These, plus litter registrations published in every State's monthly magazine since their inception are in addition to the surviving Victorian Litter Registrations outlined above. This unique Australia wide collection is why pedigree researchers and breed enthusiasts travel long distances just to access this part of the VCA Library's collection.
References and Further Reading
2019 - Jane Harvey - VCA Library Renovations? in Dog News Australia (Top Dog Media Pty Ltd Austral NSW) Issue 1 January 2019, Page 8