Finding 'The Cornfield'

The process of creating exhibitions is in some ways similar to that of writing a book. We investigate a wide range of material and then over time edit the content down. This also means that sometimes fascinating items never make it into the exhibition. ‘The Cornfield’, Originally considered for our 2014-2015 exhibition, Keepsakes: Australians and the Great War, was one such item. Fortunately the latest Treasures Gallery changeover has given us the opportunity to display this special map.

Louis Jules Matras and his lost dog

The National Library’s new exhibition The Sell showcases the Library’s rich collections of Australian advertising, not just with the beautifully produced posters from big companies (like the biscuit manufacturer Swallow and Ariell), or more utilitarian government messages (like a wanted poster for the bushranger Ben Hall), but also with the advertising created for ordinary people.

Life on the goldfields

I have just seen a number of exceedingly spirited sketches, taken at Forest Creek and Bendigo Diggings during the last month, by a well-known Adelaide artist, whose name I am not permitted to mention at present  … they afford an excellent idea of what life is like here; the landscape sketches are true and most picturesque… (Adelaide Morning Chronicle, 9 August 1852, p.3)

Three years at sea with 125 men

A curious, dry-humoured young French woman seems an unlikely figure to play a key role in the history of Pacific exploration. Yet 23-year-old Rose de Freycinet (1794-1832) fulfils this role in providing a unique insight into life at sea. Unwilling to be parted from her husband Louis (1779-1842) while his expedition circumnavigated the globe, she chose to accompany him on the long voyage rather than wait at home.

Q & A with a Library photographer

With all the projects and busy day to day work of exhibitions, sometimes its nice to step back and chat to someone about what they do. When you work in an organisation as broad and varied as the Library, there is always so much going on you don't know about. We all have pet interests and new ideas about our work but don't get alot of time to talk about them, so let's hear from photographer Craig Mackenzie about what he's up to. 

First World War keepsakes

Over the next few months there will be a number of anniversaries marking the centenary of the Battle of the Somme, one of the largest battles of the First World War. The battle began on 1 July 1916 and continued on until 18 November. It includes the Battle of Fromelles which was fought over 19-20 July in which Australian army suffered over 5,000 casualties in one night.

‘Hitherto unvisited by any artist’

Artist Augustus Earle’s life was in many respects so remarkable that if it wasn’t true it would have had to be invented. Born in London in 1793, he exhibited at the Royal Academy from the age of 13 and is acknowledged as the first independent, professional artist to visit all continents. He documented his travels with candour and honesty. Loving travel and immersing himself in the worlds he encountered, he captured them in luminous watercolours.

Celebrate NAIDOC with the Library

NAIDOC Week (NAIDOC originally stood for ‘National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee’) on 3-10 July is a time to celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, culture and achievements and is an opportunity to recognise the contributions that Indigenous Australians make to our country and our society.

Dad and Dave

Today the term ‘Aussie battler’ sits easily in the Australian vernacular, is used nightly on current affairs television programs, and in popular culture in characters such as the Kerrigan family in the 1997 film The Castle. For the first half of the twentieth century the Rudd family were the quintessential Aussie battlers; the working class family who continued fighting against the odds, always embracing their challenges with humour and optimism.


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