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Back in 1938…
Englishman William Bernard Wigston (known as WB to his friends) started Bookery Pty Ltd in 1938, around the time large numbers of European migrants were moving to Australia. In those early days, the store – on Bourke Street in Melbourne – was known as the Foreign Language Library, and people came from all over Victoria to read books in languages other than English.
WB’s humble library was a huge step forward in recognising Melbourne’s new multicultural and multilingual population.
From the outset, 'Mr. Wigston's little shop' was a special place for language lovers. 'Those who came in from the noisy street', chronicled the Argus, 'found the friendly spirit of the bookseller and the invitation to come in, scrutinise and handle the books on the shelves without obligation to buy irresistible.'
Soon, our books were lining the bookshelves of schools, libraries and homes around Australia. By the 1960s, Foreign Language Bookshop had developed an international reputation for excellence, and had forged links with academic institutions and libraries around the world.
Over the years, Foreign Language Bookshop has become one of Australia’s largest and most respected specialist language, literacy and textbook bookshops.
Today’s Bookery Education
In 2011, seeing how difficult it was for students and teachers of English as a second language to find the right resources, Foreign Languages Bookshop merged with specialist independent ESL, literary and linguistics bookstore Bookery.
Today, Bookery Education has an extensive range of English language learning and foreign language products in its Collins Street showroom and online at www.bookeryeducation.com.au.
Our mission for the future of Bookery Education is simple: to be the most respected supplier of language and literacy resources in Australia, and to become renowned for providing superior, academically-qualified product information and advice to anyone with a passion for developing their language skills.
History of owners
Foreign Language Bookshop
In the early 1930s, keen traveller and entrepreneur William Bernard (WB) Wigston migrated from Ashtead in England to Australia. Known for his generosity of spirit, he started Foreign Language Bookshop as a library. During World War two, the library was forced to move to the corner of Bourke Street and Elizabeth Street, and it was there that it became a bookshop.
During his time at the bookshop, WB was also active in the local business community and eventually became Mayor of the Bourke Street Traders Association. WB passed away in 1956. Generous to the last, he left money to his staff and willed the business to Connie Tink. Mrs Tink sold the business in 1959 to Mrs Felder, who sold it six years later to Mrs Leser.
In 1971, Mrs Annette Monester became the fifth custodian in the store’s history and remained at the helm for more than 35 years. Ms Monester moved the business to the top end of Collins Street in 1982. There it flourished, guided by her strong vision and leadership. By her retirement in January 2006, Foreign Language Bookshop was an institution.On the 9th of January 2006, Mrs Monester officially handed over the reins to Jacob Miceli, who is the current and only sixth custodian in Bookery Pty Ltd’s 75 year history.
Richard Hughes and his partner Beata Richau started Bookery in 1988 after noticing a need for good quality English language learning and literacy materials. Richard and Beata have had an enduring commitment to social justice issues, and during a long period living and working in Melbourne's Western suburbs, they frequently saw this need for materials, and also for consistent and sympathetic instruction.
Together, they set about creating what became the largest ESL & literacy supplier in Australia and beyond. Initially starting in their garage at home, the dynamic duo opened their first retail bookshop in Carlton, Victoria, in 1991, soon having to move to larger premises in Fitzroy in 2006.
Along the way, Bookery became renowned for its exceptional service and deep seated respect for world languages and learning.
In October 2011, Richard and Beata saw Foreign Language Bookshop as the obvious choice and synergistic partner to merge their beloved Bookery, entrusting its future to Jacob Miceli and thus, FLB Education and Bookery has became Bookery Pty Ltd, which now trades as Bookery.