The Braga Collection is mainly concerned with Portuguese activity in Asia. Jose Maria Braga was a businessman, teacher and author based in Macau, who wrote numerous books and articles about this Portuguese settlement. While his collection covers Portuguese influence worldwide its main concentration is on Macau, Hong Kong, China and Japan. The greater part of his library of books, manuscripts, pictures, newspapers and journals was acquired by the National Library in 1966.
The collection commences with Portugal's expansion in the fifteenth century, including the development of nautical science, and accounts of principal voyages. Religious missions to Africa and Asia are also well covered. There is a focus on Macau as the religious and commercial centre for Portugal's relations in the region, particularly with China. For the nineteenth century and later the collection is more concerned with the role of Hong Kong as it eclipsed Macau in importance.
Most of the manuscripts in the Braga Collection are copies of documents held in European archives and libraries. Some of the originals have been lost. Manuscripts by Braga himself include his translations and notes relating to the Jesuits in Asia, a handbook of Portuguese officials and their contemporaries in China, and a biographical index to European expansion in East Asia.
Braga collected around a thousand pictures relating mainly to his interests in East Asia. There are watercolours, prints, engravings, line drawings, and several oil paintings. The subjects covered include religious and other buildings, especially in Macau, many ships, portraits of missionaries and scenes of traditional life in China and Japan.
- "The Portuguese in Asia and the Far East : the Braga Collection in the National Library of Australia" - a paper presented by Pauline Haldane at the Second International Conference on Indian Ocean Studies held in Perth, Western Australia, 5-12 December 1984.
- Guide to the Papers of Jose Maria Braga (MS 4300)
- List of books held in the Braga Collection