One of the predecessors of the University of South Australia, the School of Mines, established on North Terrace in 1889, had no library until the Brookman building was opened in 1903. Sir Langdon Bonython, the first president of the School of Mines, was keen to have a library. During a visit to London in 1901 he persuaded David Murray, an Adelaide politician and philanthropist with a keen interest in technical education, to support the establishment of a library. He presented a cheque for £500 and the School Council agreed to name the new library after its benefactor, David Murray. After visiting the library, opened in 1903, he donated a further £500 for resources. Upon his death in 1906 a further £1000 was received as a bequest from David Murray’s estate.
Although the School of Mines evolved into the South Australian Institute of Technology and later in 1991 formed part of the new University of South Australia, the Library retained its original title, the David Murray Library.