At the time the 20 or so freshly-minted NFSA staff, under the stewardship of Ray Edmondson, moved into their new building in October 1984, it ‘still smelt like rabbits’ says Ian Gilmour, Manager of Engineering and Research at the NFSA.
The former Institute for Anatomy building still housed laboratories used by the Commonwealth Health Department. ‘They were still breeding rabbits downstairs to test the pharmaceuticals’, he says. ‘Conditions weren’t ideal.’
Prior to joining the then Commonwealth National Library – parent of today’s National Library of Australia – as a graduate public servant, Gilmour had been studying to become a musician. However ‘it didn’t pay terribly well’, so he joined the Library’s Music and Sound Recordings section, working under sound recording collector Peter Burgis whilst continuing his studies in Applied Science, which encompassed physics, chemistry and engineering.