Hexagonal blue glass brick, hollow. Imported by Edward William Cole of Cole's Book Arcade, Bourke Street, Melbourne, circa 1916. The bricks were obtainable in blue, red, green, yellow and white. They were not a commercial success for Mr Cole, who was by that stage near the end of his life. He died in 1918, aged 86.

Cole's Book Arcade opened in the Bourke Street Mall in 1883, after earlier operating from other sites. It was a shop like no other, crammed with new and second-hand books and other wares, but with the atmosphere of a circus. Cole enticed customers of all ages with a menagerie and fernery, a band, a clockwork symphonion and other mechanical delights. Readers could sit in comfortable chairs, encouraged by a sign: 'Read for as Long as You Like - Nobody Asked to Buy'. The Arcade's proprietor, Edward William Cole, was optimist and idealist, believing passionately in the power of education and envisaged a world without borders, expounding his views in pamphlets and books. Cole died in 1918, still dreaming of a better future. Cole's Book Arcade, one of the wonders of 'marvellous Melbourne', closed in 1929.

Physical Description

Hexagonal blue glass brick, hollow.

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