logoThe Society's Library


The Bothwell Literary Society was the first to be established in a country town and is presently housed in the Historical Society rooms.

It was founded by the Rev. James Garrett, and first met in June 1834 as a debating society.  The first topic for debate was 'Whether is knowledge conducive to human happiness' [sic].  Subsequently a library was formed and lectures were held during the winter months.  Members of the Society included Phineas Moss, the police clerk; Dr Edward Swarbreck Hall; and Hugh Munro Hull.  In 1852 Irish political exile, John Mitchel, wrote, 'Bothwell has a very tolerable public library, such library as no village of similar population in Ireland had'.

By the century's end interest had waned, lectures ceased, and the books were out-dated.  In 1892 the MLC for Derwent, Walter Gellibrand, donated eighty-one books – the society's last major acquisition. 

One of the books held in the library, dated 1734, was published by Richard Hett at the Bible and Crown, London.  The book, entitled Forty Six Practical Sermons, is more than 400 pages long.

Many of the library's original records can still be viewed, and some of the original collection remains, but as a museum piece, rather than a working library.

The History rooms are housed in the old headmaster’s house which is adjacent to the Australasian Golf Museum and Visitor Information centre.

The History rooms are a special place to visit, being a place of memories, secrets, pride, sharing and wonder.  History can be a little musty and dusty, but blow away the cobwebs and you can be amazed at what you find.  

The Society has a file of hundreds of family trees submitted by researchers with Bothwell connections, and presented to the Society for safe keeping, and a sharing availability that will always be at hand.

The Society has a collection of printed material and is custodian to a collection of watercolours by Miss Madge Wilson of the Steppes (1883-1975).

Perhaps you have something in your possession that you would like to share with others on a short- or long-term basis.  The Society would be happy to talk with you . . . life goes on, but History goes on for ever!!!