A note from the James and Bettison Treasures Curator
The eighth iteration of the Treasures Gallery with over 90 new items is now open to the public
22 August 2014
The Treasures Gallery has engaged and uplifted nearly 300,000 visitors since its opening in October 2011. The content ranges from Cook’s handwritten Endeavour journal to Edward Koiki Mabo’s memorable papers, both landmarks in Australian history and bookends, in a sense, to the exhibition. Our visitors have enjoyed and given us wonderful feedback on the richness of the Treasures Gallery displays. To be able to see, in the same room, some of the most notable and sometimes affecting objects in Australian history—an early version of Waltzing Matilda, First World War items such as Keith Murdoch’s Gallipoli letter, exquisite colonial watercolours and oil paintings—is a unique and thought-provoking experience.
The Library is lucky to hold many national treasures, from Australia’s first Olympic gold medal won by a woman Fanny Durack in 1912 to a firsthand, day-by-day account of the earliest struggles of settlement in Sydney Cove through to more recent items such as Nobel laureate Patrick White’s unpublished manuscripts, previously thought to be destroyed. I look forward to working with my colleagues to continue to bring these items and many more to you, and, hopefully to change your way of looking at the world. Australia’s post-colonial history is rich with artefacts and accounts of exploration, settlement, industry, migration, creativity and endurance. These stories can be seen, displayed and thoughtfully interpreted, in the Treasures Gallery 363 days a year and free of charge. These iconic items are refreshed regularly for conservation reasons and continue to shine a light on the stories that make us unique.
I hope you can visit the Treasures Gallery soon.