As a child my favourite animal was the polar bear. It may have been because it exemplified the polar opposite of my experience growing up in steamy, tropical Brisbane. It may have also been the not-so-subliminal connection to ice-cream through the image of the frosty Paul’s polar bear. Whatever it was, it has persisted. Although, a love of animals in all forms has grown throughout my life as I’ve become more aware of the depredations humans enforce on the animal kingdom.
Since our last blog post, digitisation of the Library’s medieval manuscripts has been advancing apace, with more than 65 per cent of the collection now captured and stored in our digital object storage system.
As you may recall I wrote some time ago about the Hairy Wild Man from Botany Bay who is currently residing in the Treasures Gallery—see also the December NLA Magazine. You may also have seen publicity connected with the ambitious recent acquisition, for a record price of the Rothschild Prayer Book by Australian businessman and collector extraordinaire Kerry Stokes AC.
The National Library’s Gallipoli Letter written by journalist Keith Murdoch in 1915 has just been inscribed on the UNESCO Memory of the World Australian Register. The acknowledgment of this key item from the Library’s collection by the UNESCO program is very significant. Being included on the Register is the highest level of recognition for archival material and is part of UNESCO’s global effort to enhance awareness and support for the preservation of documentary heritage collections.
Among the National Library’s treasures are some 228 rare and significant medieval manuscripts. These little known items were acquired as part of our earliest and foundation collections, including the Clifford, Nan Kivell and Petherick Collections.
One of my favourite objects in the National Library of Australia’s Keepsakes: Australians and the Great War exhibition is a caricature of Australia’s war time Prime Minister, Billy Hughes. Drawn by cartoonist David Low during his time at the Bulletin, it depicts a fictional advertisement for children’s toy known as the ‘Billywog’. The instructions read: ‘Blow up with wind until head expands, then release hole in face, whereupon Billy will emit loud noises until he goes flat …’. The kicker is found at the bottom of the cartoon: ‘No war is complete without one.’
The National Library of Australia is a hive of minds—a centre of Australian research—where ideas are built, collected and stored.
Ideology, is a creative physical installation based on what libraries do—making ideas accessible to others. Set up in the Foyer of the Library during the Enlighten Festival, we will build the installation from crowd-sourced inspiring ideas.
Take up the Sword of Justice is a commanding recruitment poster, and after its treatment in Preservation Services, makes a great addition to the Library's current exhibition Keepsakes: Australians and the Great War. This large colour lithograph by Bernard Partridge (1861-1945) was printed in England in 1915 by David Allen & Sons for the Parliamentary Recruiting Committee. It features a classical representation of the figure of Justice.