The National Library has an extensive collection of primary source material relating to the history and culture of Australia. These records give first-hand evidence of historical events or experiences. Primary sources in the National Library include:
- Pictures and Manuscripts
- Ephemera, including objects
- Newspapers and Biographical Files
- Oral Histories
You can find details at our Collections web pages.
These and other titles can be requested through the Catalogue . You can also find resources on open access in the Main Reading Room Reference Collection.
- Historical Records of Australia 1914-1925
- Consists of thirty-three volumes of transcripts of significant documents in Australian history, covering the period 1786 to 1848. These volumes constitute one of the principal collections of primary sources in the study of colonial Australian history. Main Reading Room Reference Collection - No request required RF 994 HIS.
- Historical Records of New South Wales 1892-1901
- This seven volume set provides comprehensive information concerning the foundation, progress and government of the colony of New South Wales during the period 1762-1811. Petherick Reading Room Reference Collection - No request required RAS 994.4 HIS
- Historical Records of Victoria 1981-2002
- A collection of surviving documents concerning the foundation and administration of the colony of Victoria for the period 1835-1840. Petherick Reading Room Reference Collection - No request required RAS 994.5 HIS
- The Journals of Captain James Cook on his Voyages of Discovery 1955-1974
- Edited from the original manuscripts by J.C. Beaglehole, the four volumes provide a reliable and authoritative text of Cook's account of his three voyages of discovery in the Endeavour and the Resolution. Main Reading Room Reference Collection - No request required RF 910.4 COO.
You can also search the subject Australia -- History -- Sources
How do I get a copy of a diary?
I believe that the National Library holds the following diary:
Diarist: Mackenzie, John
Departure: 29 September 1841
Ship: Robert Benn
National Library of Australia Call No.: MS 685
Notes: typescript missing; bounty ship
My ancestors came to Australia on this ship and I would like to get a copy of the diary. Is this possible?
The journal of John Mackenzie is held in the Manuscripts Collection at MS 685.
The collection contains a bound diary that totals 75 pages to copy, as well as a small number of family history documents including an extract of the 1869 birth certificate of Evelyn Beatrice Mackenzie, inscription notice for cemetery headstones for the Mackenzie family grave in Melbourne (latest date is 1925) and some information on the Mackenzie family crest.
You can order photocopies or PDF copies of this material for $16.50 per 50 pages. The entire collection will be under 100 pages, so there will be a total charge of $33. To order use our online Copies Direct service.
In the catalogue record for the collection click on the 'order a copy' tab at the bottom of the record, then click on 'add to cart'. Select 'whole item' (meaning all the contents of the collection) and then 'add to cart'. When done click on 'proceed to order details' to continue your order form.