E.W. Cole: Chasing the Rainbow
'The reign of knowledge and humanity is coming.' (E.W. Cole, 1832-1918)
Pass beneath the painted rainbow and enter a world where a million books are held, where bright parrots flash through the fernery, and where monkeys swing from the rafters. Welcome to a place where gentlemen and street urchins read side-by-side, where thieves aren't prosecuted, and where Chinese tea ceremonies and exclusive seances are routinely conducted. This is Marvellous Melbourne, the home of E.W. Cole and his famous Coles Book Arcade.
Lisa Lang introduces us to Melbourne's most eccentric entrepreneur, from his humble beginnings selling cordial on the Victorian goldfields to the establishment of the world's largest bookstore and the publication of the iconic and enduring Cole's Funny Picture Book. Rediscover the quirky pictures that delighted children and adults for generations, visit the city's markets and arcades where every day was a carnival, and meet the man behind a million rainbows - passionate advocate for education, staunch idealist, retailer extraordinaire and Melbourne's very own utopian.