Guide to selected collections

The National Library's collections range in date from the eleventh century to the present, take in every country in the world and are exceptionally broad in format and subject. They consist of books, pamphlets, periodicals, newspapers, ephemera, maps, manuscripts, private archives, music scores, pictures, microform and digital materials.

A significant proportion of what the Library holds, including some of the rarest and most valuable material, was acquired as collections. Some were built up by individual collectors, families, booksellers and learned societies, often over a long period (formed collections). Other collections have been assembled from various sources by the Library itself in an effort to achieve great strength in particular subject areas (subject collections). Many of the collections have outstanding research value.

The following entries are for the most significant of these collections. The entries give details about the individuals, families or organisations that assembled the collections, describe the size, scope and strengths of each collection, and summarise how they have been acquired, organised, catalogued or listed by the Library. While the majority of the collections described consist largely of Australian materials, there are also entries for significant Asian, European and North American collections. These descriptions are intended to complement the Library's catalogue and other finding-aids.

Between 1974 and 1982 the Library published the Guide to the collections, edited by C.A. Burmester. A number of the collections recorded in that publication have been updated and are included in the following selection.

  • Aerial Photographs Collection

    Aerial photographs of Australia, the Australian Antarctic Territory and Papua New Guinea

  • Alston Collection

    Books on philology and related subjects

  • Angas Collection

    Paintings, drawings, sketchbooks and manuscripts by George French Angas

  • Anti-Slavery Movement in the United States

    Microform collections documenting the anti-slavery movement from the 18th-20th centuries and selected monographs

  • Auchmuty Collection

    Books, pamphlets and serials on the history of Ireland from Norman times onwards

  • Australian Buddhist Library

    Tripitakas and books dealing with Buddhist history, biography, literature, doctrines, philosophy and way of life and Buddhist folk tales

  • Australian Explorations in the Antarctic

    Diaries, papers, photographs, maps and other material related to Australia's involvement in the Antarctic

  • Australian Inland Mission

    Records and photographs of the Australian Inland Mission and the Uniting Church Frontier Services, and personal papers of those involved 

  • Australian Literature Society Collection

    Collection mostly of novels but also verse and other works on Australian history and current affairs

  • Don Banks Collection

    Don Banks' music manuscripts, personal papers, music scores, books, journals, concert programs and sound recordings

  • Joseph Banks Collection

    Material by and about Banks, including papers, letters, documents, pictures, and other publications

  • Baracchi Collection

    Papers, pamphlets, books and periodicals relating to communism, socialism, fascism, capitalism, international relations, public finance, politics, World War II, and the Vietnam War

  • Bates Collection

    Papers, maps, photographs and other publications largely relating to Daisy Bates' research on Indigenous Australians 

  • Bayley Collection

    Books, pamphlets, leaflets, photographs, postcards and other printed ephemera, mainly relating to New South Wales country towns.

  • Begg Collection

    Mostly Australian and New Zealand sheet music, the majority from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries collected by Charles Begg

  • Bennetts Collection

    Oral history interviews recorded by Neil Bennetts with leading Australian figures in a wide range of sports

  • Benvenuti Collection

    Memorabilia of musical, theatrical, social events in Queensland collected by the Benvenuti family musicians

  • Beyer Collection

    Papers, including manuscripts on Philippine ethnography, books and pamphlets in various languages on a wide range of subjects with a focus on the Philippines, photographs and printed and manuscript maps collected by Otley Beyer.

  • Blackman Collection

    Oral history recordings by Barbara Blackman, mostly of Australian painters, sculptors, potters and others concerned with the visual arts

  • Bowden Collection

    Oral history recordings by Ros Bowden for the Women of the land and Comic artists and illustrators projects

  • Brady Collection

    Overseas and Australian sheet music, including some manuscripts, with the main strengths popular songs and piano music of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Also some programs and papers collected by Kathleen Brady 

  • Braga Collection

    Family papers, maps of the Hong Kong and Macau region, pictures, photographs and a large collection of books and pamphlets predominantly historical works, particularly histories of Portugal, the Portuguese colonies, China and Japan 

  • British Foreign Office Confidential Prints

    Around 10,800 items from the period 1829-1922 ranging from a single page to hundreds of pages and documenting British reactions to particular events, problems and crises, as well as Britain's relations generally with particular countries and regions

  • British Radical Pamphlets

    Over 3,000 printed pamphlets, leaflets and issues of periodicals, mostly published 1900-1970 plus a collection of microfiche and microfilm of other publications produced by left-wing parties and organisations in the period 1961–88

  • Broom Collection

    Small collection of books, pamphlets and serials on race and class relations, migration, urbanisation and other aspects of contemporary society in the Caribbean and Latin America collected by Leonard Broom

  • Buckland Collection

    Photographs and papers, memorabilia and books relating to railways collected by John Buckland

  • Burke Collection

    Papers, photographs from Europe, Asia, America and Australia ranging from 1850-1950. Also books, journals, booklets, exhibition catalogues on the history of photography or containing illustrations of particular interest collected by Eric Keast Burke

  • Callen Collection

    Photographs of Australian steamships, nine paintings and an unpublished manuscript 'Dictionary of Australian steamships' by Terence Callen

  • Cameron Collection

    Papers related to Clyde Cameron's long political career, and 12 oral history recordings conducted by Cameron with other political figures

  • Carmona Collection

    Books and pamphlets relating to Portuguese colonies in Africa and Asia, mostly published in Portugal or the colonies from 1840-1950

  • Carter Collection

    Photographs by Jeff Carter of Australian life dating from the 1950s onwards, plus oral history recordings with about 40 individuals living in rural towns or properties

  • Cazneaux Collection

    Papers and a large collection of glass negatives and photographs dating mostly from 1904 to 1940 depicting many aspects of Australian life and architecture

  • Chaplin Collection

    Collections of papers from several significant Australian authors collected by Harry Chaplin

  • Charles Collection

    Small collection of books, pamphlets, catalogues and serials on angling ranging from the 17th to the 20th century collected by Gilbert Charles

  • Chinnery Collection

    Papers, maps and a large collection of photographs related to Papua New Guinea mainly from the period 1910-1940

  • Claasz Collection

    Papers, books, pamphlets, maps and ephemera about Ceylon, with an emphasis on the tea industry but also including its history, politics, botany, ancient cities, and arts collected by Manfred Claasz

  • Manning and Dymphna Clark Collection

    Papers and photographs related to Clark's life and work as an Australian historian of renown

  • Clifford Collection

    Over 10 000 volumes and 1500 pamphlets in English, Latin, French, Italian, German and Spanish, with particular strength in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, covering a wide range of subjects

  • Coedès Collection

    Books, pamphlets, reprints and single issues of serials, mainly in French, relating to the ancient history, archaeology and culture of Southeast Asia 

  • Coffin Collection

    About 4700 photographs of ancient art, sculpture and archaeological sites in Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia from the period 1955 to 1972

  • James Cook and his voyages

    Papers, maps, paintings, drawings, official records and published works related to James Cook and his voyages

  • Cooper Theosophy Collection

    Around 4,000 books and serials on theosophy, Indian philosophy, comparative religion and related topics. Also correspondence, notebooks, files, etc. on the history of theosophy in Australia, lives of Helena Blavatsky and Krishnamurti, and the Liberal Catholic Church in Sydney

  • Cowlishaw Collection

    1809 books and serials, published in Australia, Europe and America, relating to gardening, horticulture, botany and agriculture

  • L.F. Crisp Collection

    Over 6000 books, pamphlets and journals mainly related to Australian history and politics, but there are also a significant number of British and American imprints. Also personal papers plus 399 subject files of material

  • Sir Peter Crisp Collection

    696 books and pamphlets relating to freshwater fishing. The majority are British, but also include about 130 Australian works and a number published in New Zealand and America. Most date from the twentieth century, but also include some nineteenth-century imprints.

  • Crome Collection

     Papers, photographs, ephemera, aero-philatelic material, objects, books and pamphlets relating to Australian aviation

  • Cross Collection

    Around 6500 books, 160 serial titles and 918 reprints of individual articles in the subject areas of patristic studies, liturgy, canon law, Biblical studies, church history, biography, cathedrals and other religions

  • Dalrymple Collection

    About 760 charts, plans and coastal views, most published by Dalrymple between 1769 and 1807, letters to and from Dalrymple and 40 books and pamphlets written or compiled by him between 1767 and 1806, plus 15 other books containing references to him 

  • Davey Collection

    Papers and oral history recordings conducted by Gwenda Davey on Australian folklore, with an emphasis on children's folklore

  • De Berg Collection

    1290 recordings of interviews and readings from many of Australia's poets, artists, writers, composers, actors, academics, publishers, librarians, scientists, anthropologists, public servants and some politicians 

  • De Salis Collection

     Family papers and about 1600 books, mostly published in Britain in the period 1850–1920. Subjects include Greek and Latin classics, religion, history, biography, politics, literature, language, travel, agriculture, gardening, popular science, art and children’s books

  • De Vesci Collection

    Country house library collection of 1648 books and 54 serials with strength in English and French publications of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries

  • Deakin Collection

    Large collection of personal papers covering Alfred Deakin's extensive political career, plus photographs, memorabilia and other published works by and about Deakin.

  • Deane Collection

    70 original pencil, pen, ink, charcoal and wash caricatures and cartoons assembled by Percy Deane. Most are of federal politicians from the period 1915-1925. 

  • Divall Collection

    Collection of music scores and music related material created or collected by the composer, conductor and musicologist Richard Divall from 1961 to 2001.

  • Drovers Oral History Collection

     122 interviews recorded by Bruce Simpson and Bill Gammage between 2000 and 2006. Most of the interviewees were retired drovers, but there were also graziers, station managers, stockmen, ringers, station hands, shearers, teamsters, and horse breakers.

  • Dryer Collection

    2286 titles, mainly monographs but also including manuscripts and music material about the history of Ireland and Australia. The books include an important group written in Gaelic, mostly published in the 1920s and 1930s, and early Irish texts published in facsimile.

  • Duncan-Hughes Collection

    About 6200 books, mostly published in the period 1880-1960. The strength is English literature, especially poetry, plays, letters, and literary criticism. Other areas are Greek and Roman classics, French, German and Russian literature, British history, political biography, European history, military history, European art, classical music, and travel.

  • Durand Collection

    About 4000 books, mostly published in France in the 19th and early 20th century. Also contains a number of German and Italian works and a few English titles. The strength is in editions of Latin and Greek classical texts and books on ancient history, archaeology, literary criticism, philology and art.

  • Dutch Pamphlet Collections

    Two collections, the first of around 953 pamphlets published in the Netherlands from 1567-1852 dealing with political, diplomatic, military and legal matters. The second of around 145 papmhlets published in the Netherlands from 1796-1806 documenting aspects of the administration of the Batavian Republic.

  • Earle Collection

    168 original paintings and drawings by Augustus Earle. 

  • Malcolm Ellis Collection

    About 500 books, pamphlets, reports, leaflets, circulars, reprints and transcripts, mostly published 1920-1950, relating to communism, the labour movement and international politics. About half are Australian. 

  • Peter Ellis Collection

    80 oral history interviews with musicians, dancers and others, and recordings of songs and performances. 232 pieces of sheet music and 202 albums of dance music mostly from 1900-1940, about half are Australian imprints. Also some personal papers.

  • Ellison Collection

    Personal papers of Norman Ellison, largely related to aviation as well as material collected by Ellison from some some early aviators. 354 lantern slides of Sydney and other areas of Australia from 1920-1940 and a small collection of books on aviation.

  • Fahey Collection

    Personal papers of Warren Fahey’s activities as an entrepreneur, musician and writer from 1967-1998 and a collection of folkloric recordings

  • Fainsod Collection

    Around 400 Slavic monographs, 700 pamphlets on the economics and politics of Europe from the 1930s-1970s, and miscellaneous Harvard University departmental reports and academic papers 

  • Fang Collection

    Around 6000 titles, about half in Chinese and the rest in English or other Western languages. The scope is broad but the strength is Chinese history and biography, especially the Qing dynasty (1644-1911) and the 20th century, Chinese art, archaeology, literature and philosophy

  • Federation of Australia

    Comprehensive collection of original records of the Federation movement plus books, pictures, music and other material related to Federation 

  • Ferguson Collection

    Over 32,000 items including books, pamphlets, booklets, leaflets, broadsides and other kinds of printed ephemera. Great strength in accounts of Pacific voyages and in the books listed in the Bibliography of Australia

  • Fitzhardinge Collection

    About 300 books including incunabula and early editions of classical texts, plus limited edition reprints of celebrated English writers, mostly published in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century

  • Flynn Collection

    About 1750 musical scores comprising general musical arrangements by Flynn, and also both printed and manuscript orchestral and vocal scores, scripts and parts arranged for Radio 3GB 

  • Forster Collection

    911 water colours by Adam Forster of Australian flowers, painted between 1916 and 1927.

  • French Plays 1700-1840

    2457 plays published in France between 1701 and 1840. They include tragedies, comedies, historical dramas, vaudevilles, comic operas and operas.

  • French Revolutionary Pamphlet Collection

    Around 12,000 pamphlets, tracts, reports, addresses and speeches, published in France between 1787 and 1799.

  • Friend Collection

    Diaries, notebooks, letters, personal papers of the artist Donald Friend and works about Friend.

  • German Colonies in the Pacific

    Papers and microfilm of original records relating to the German colonies in the Pacific from 1884-1914, and a selection of other books on this topic.

  • Diana Giese Collection

    Oral history interviews by Diana Giese with Chinese Australians, Cambodian refugees and community leaders, and with people involved in the Australian publishing industry.

  • Gilfillan Collection

    Official records, reports and correspondence of the Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Authority and minutes, agenda papers and correspondence of the Cooma Municipal Council (1956–62) and the Monaro County Council (1957–62). Also around 750 Australian town and district maps. 

  • Gill Collection

    95 watercolours and about 80 wash, sepia wash or pencil drawings plus a large number of lithographs and chromolithographs engraved by S.T. Gill, as well as wood engravings, lithographs and photolithographs based on his paintings and sketches.

  • Griffin and early Canberra Collection

    Papers, maps, plans, photographs, paintings and other material related to early Canberra and the work of Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahony Griffin.

  • Groom Collection

    About 200 books and 260 pamphlets, plus personal papers and photographs mainly related to Australian history, politics, law, literature and religion from Sir Ernest Littleton Groom

  • Hall Collection

    Papers of the historian and public servant H. Duncan Hall and about 600 books and pamphlets from 1900-1960 on the Commonwealth, English political history, Ireland, political biography, international relations, the League of Nations, United Nations, race relations, migration, the United States, World War II, the Suez crisis of 1956, and political thought.

  • Hanger Collection

    Photocopies of typescripts of 18 unpublished plays

  • Hardstaff Collection

    91 charts of Australia and the Pacific produced by the British Admiralty and Hydrographic Service.

  • Helm Collection

    About 7600 music scores and albums. Mainly piano and vocal works published in France, Britain, Germany, Austria and Italy in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries

  • Hertz Collection

    1744 books and pamphlets, plus photographs and posters and a small number of maps relating to war and aviation. The strength is World War I and World War II but also includes books on the American Civil War, South African War, Korean War and Vietnam War

  • Hevingham-Root Collection

    Personal papers of Hevingham-Root, about 100 biographies and autobiographies of opera singers and composers, 460 theatre and concert programs from about 1900 to 1975, vocal scores of about 200 operas, also a number of song books, anthems, sacred songs, oratorio, lieder and folk songs

  • Hince Collection

    About 5,000 albums and pieces of sheet music published in Australia and overseas, around 2700 books and pamphlets, mostly related to Western music but also some on Indonesian music and on ballet and the performing arts. Also manuscript scores, papers from some composers and orchestras and personal papers of Kenneth Hince.

  • Holmes Collection

    Over 5000 books, pamphlets, broadsides, posters, periodicals, newspapers and some manuscripts. The strength is material relating to Federation and political and constitutional history, plus early Australiana, aviation, local histories, crime and criminals, novels and plays, poetry, World War I.

  • Hone Collection

    148 books illustrating the history of printing in Europe and Australia, plus a medieval manuscript, and personal papers of Brian Hone including extensive files on Melbourne Grammar School, the Schools Commission, and the Commonwealth Secondary Schools Libraries Committee

  • Hood Collection

    About 240 recordings made between 1968 and 2018. The early recordings are of folk music and folklore, most of the later recordings are oral histories documenting family history, local history, work experiences, music and other arts.

  • Howard Collection

    Collection of Australian drama consisting of 197 unpublished plays in typescript or manuscript form by Australian authors 

  • Hughes Collection

    Large collection of papers from the politician William Morris Hughes including correspondence, official papers and reports, diaries, notebooks, newspaper cuttings, speeches, invitations, menus, photographs, books, pamphlets, election material and photographs.

  • Humphery Collection

    About 6500 lantern slides, glass negatives and photographs, mostly of Australian ships, especially sailing ships, but there are also photographs of harbours, wharves, towns, hospitals and other subjects.

  • Hurley Collection

    Over 10,000 black and white negatives and colour transparencies, about 1000 exhibition prints, several photograph albums, a group of stereographs, plus maps, diaries and personal papers. They date from about 1911 until Hurley’s death in 1962

  • Ingram Collection

    About 960 photographs of productions, dancers and others associated with ballet companies, about 650 programs, cast lists, souvenir booklets, invitations and ephemera, plus personal papers of Geoffrey Ingram and Edouard and Xenia Borovansky.

  • Irish Pamphlet Collection

    2646 pamphlets, tracts and leaflets published in Britain and Ireland between 1770 and 1976. In general the pamphlets describe, debate and criticize the political, economic, social and religious affairs, divisions and conflicts in Ireland in these two centuries.

  • Italian Drama Collection

    1011 plays and libretti published in Italy between about 1720 and 1900. They include a number of Italian translations of plays written by French, German and other European dramatists

  • Jamieson Collection

    About 360 titles, particularly strong in first editions of English poetry and novels published in the nineteenth century and early twentieth century

  • Jammes Collection

    453 books, pamphlets and leaflets in French or Latin that had been condemned and suppressed by ecclesiastical and civil authorities, as well as commentaries on those writings. They extend from the rise of Jansenism in the second quarter of the seventeenth century to the French Revolution.

  • Jensen Collection

    553 books from the 19th to mid-20th century with a particular strength in botany and gardening. Other books include novels, plays, poetry, short stories, children’s books, biographies and books on religion, history, music, art, travel, animal husbandry and agriculture

  • Jesuit Collection

    5482 titles published 1564-1965 and written in Latin, Greek, English, French, German, Italian and Spanish. They cover a wide range of subjects, mostly related to religion, philosophy and the Society of Jesus

  • Johnston Collection

    Over 13,000 negatives, transparencies, and photographs of cattle stations in Queensland, the Northern Territory and the Kimberley region taken between 1951 and 1961. Also 52 British Hydrographic Office charts and maps of Australia and the Pacific and personal papers of Johnston.

  • Jones Collection

    Over 4,000 negatives, transparancies and photographs of motorcycles, races and vintage cars. Also a small number of books and serials, plus personal papers related to the history of motorcycle racing in Australia and 17 oral history interviews

  • Kashnor Collection

    4000 books, 6000 pamphlets and sets of 40 periodicals published between about 1620 and 1940. The outstanding feature is the works of the major English, Scottish and Irish political economists, as well as many lesser writers, of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. 

  • Kenafick Collection

    Personal papers from 1938-1974 plus pamphlets, leaflets and other publications relating to socialist, communist, anti-communist and peace organisations in both Australia and overseas. In addition, a considerable amount of election material from the 1950s

  • Kern Collection

    950 books on bibliography, history, law, religion, ethnography, archaeology and fine arts of Indonesia, and 629 books relating to the languages of Austronesia. Also some manuscripts, including transcripts of a collection of Sudanese manuscripts

  • Latham Collection

    Papers of the barrister and politician Sir John Latham. They are a major source on Australian public life over a period of 50 years and include correspondence, family and personal documents, notes, speeches, diaries, minute books, account books, cuttings, photographs, pamphlets, invitations, menus, programs, receipts, maps and tourist publications

  • Lawlor Collection

    Papers including letters, newspaper cuttings, published caricatures, letters and literary manuscripts, mostly related to Australian writers, journalists, composers and artists, including several New Zealanders who settled in Australia. Also 20 original cartoons by Australian artists

  • Ledgar Collection

    421 photographs taken in the period 1858–1910 in Victoria, New South Wales, Tasmania and South Australia. Most are of public buildings and street scenes in cities and towns, but there are also rural scenes and events

  • Leighton Collection

    Small collection of German and Austrian books, mostly early twentieth century. They include poetry, plays, novels, essays, fairytales, folklore, art books, memoirs, and books on the theatre and opera

  • Loke Wan Tho Collection

    A large number of photographs and negatives taken by Loke Wan Tho on his ornithological expeditions to the Pacific, Asia and Europe in the 1950s and early 1960s. Plus extensive personal papers and around 232 books on subjects including ornithology, photography, art, architecture, journalism, and Malayan history and politics.

  • London Missionary Society Collection

    722 books, pamphlets, leaflets, manuscripts, newspapers and maps, mostly written in Chinese. Mainly Christian works, plus works on the Chinese language, reprints of classical writings and works relating to the Taiping Rebellion of 1850-64

  • Lowenstein Collection

    Oral history recordings, manuscripts and papers relating mainly to Australian folklore and Lowenstein's books Weevils in the flour and Under the hook.

  • Luce Collection

     About 2000 books, pamphlets and serials. Most in English, but also some in French, German, Dutch and Burmese languages. The great strength is its Burmese materials, but the scope is broad and includes the history and culture of Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, China, India and Indonesia

  • Lycett Collection

    An album of 20 watercolours and 22 separate watercolours by Joseph Lycett. Most of the works consist of studies of Aborigines or drawings of plants

  • Lyle Collection

    50 oral history recordings with 149 interviewees containing reminiscences, stories and music relating to Scottish oral traditions in Australia

  • Mabo Collection

    Personal papers and legal material that record of one of the most important and controversial legal cases in Australian history and the life of the man who is chiefly associated with the case

  • Mackaness Collection

    Literary manuscripts submitted to the Bulletin in 1918–20, personal papers 185 books related to Australia, some very rare, plus 30 books published in Tahiti by the London Missionary Society in 1817–37

  • Maple-Brown Collection

    614 books and pamphlets, mostly published overseas in the period 1850–1950. A significant proportion are children’s books. Apart from novels, they include scripture readings, prayer books, hymn books, works on theology, school textbooks and some historical works. The collection also contains 37 maps and 6 atlases. 

  • Martens Collection

    145 original works of Conrad Martens, consisting of four oil paintings, 91 watercolours, and 51 sepia wash, pencil and wash, or pencil drawings, plus a number of his lithographs

  • Mathews Collection

    About 5000 books, pamphlets, reprints and journals published 1760-1940 in English, French, German, Italian and Russian. They relate to all aspects of ornithology in all parts of the world, with a special focus on Australian birds. 

  • Mauritius Collection

    About 2100 books, pamphlets, government publications, tourist booklets, magazines and other works about Mauritius and the Indian Ocean. Mostly in French or English, but also a few items in Mauritian Creole

  • McDonald Collection

    Folklore performances and oral history interviews recorded between 1981 and 1989, containing music, recitations and recollections of performances and local history. The interviews were recorded throughout the New England region.

  • McGee Collection

    About 350 titles and a total of about 3000 issues of comics published between 1940 and 1960. Most are Australian publications, although many are reprints of US or British publications

  • McHugh Collection

    Recordings of interviews made by McHugh while producing various series for the ABC and also when working on her book Minefields and Miniskirts, together with papers and manuscripts.

  • McLaren Collection

    About 3,460 books and pamphlets, mostly local histories, church histories, business histories and organisational histories from around Australia.

  • McLaren-Human Collection

    81 Korean books, 44 Japanese books and 11 Chinese books. Subject matter of the Korean books ranges from history, literature and religion to cooking and gardening.

  • Melba Collection

    Sheet music owned by, sung by or dedicated to Dame Nellie Melba, plus letters from Melba to various friends and colleagues and ephemera related to her opera performances.

  • Menzies Collection

    Large collection of papers of Sir Robert Menzies, including correspondence, cards, commissions, diaries, speeches, invitations and other printed ephemera, subject files, newspaper cuttings, photographs and cartoons recordings of speeches by Menzies and oral history interviews that include references to him by others.

  • Meredith Collection

    Recordings of Australian folk songs, dance music and recitations, which also include a great deal of oral history

  • Mitchell Collection

    Oral history interviews with prominent Australian women

  • Munro Ferguson Collection

    Papers of Munro Ferguson, dating from 1914 to 1920, that form one of the finest personal archives of an Australian governor-general. They consist largely of correspondence with the King, generals, politicians, judges and state governors, plus speeches and diaries.

  • Nan Kivell Collection

    About 5000 books, pamphlets and periodicals, over 11,000 paintings, drawings and prints, around 800 maps and over 300 manuscripts mostly published 1770-1900. Largely relating to Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific including Antarctica

  • Nichol Smith Collection

    Over 10 000 books, pamphlets and issues of periodicals, published between the late sixteenth and mid-twentieth century. The main strength is English literature, particularly of the eighteenth century

  • O’Connor Collection

    Recordings of Australian folk songs, some British folk songs, Greek and Turkish music, African songs, dance music, recitations, poetry, jokes, children’s rhymes, yarns, and recollections recorded in Victoria 1953-1969.

  • O’Farrell Collection

    Pamphlets, newspapers, printed ephemera, transcripts from archives in Ireland and Australia, records of Irish organisations in Australia, and personal papers of Irish nationalists and Catholic clergy. Also about 1200 photographs of Australian places and people with an Irish connection.

  • Okamura Collection

    667 books and periodical issues in English relating to Japan published 1856-1942. The subject range is broad, including history, biography, religions, politics, finance and industry, law, language, literature, folklore, fine arts, customs, flower arrangement, gardening and sports.

  • O’Neill Collection

    1534 children's books written by Australians, with significant Australian content, or with an Australian as one of the main characters, published between 1813 and 1981. They include novels, short stories, picture books, plays, poetry and non-fiction books

  • Onions Collection

    3099 books & pamphlets, plus modern facsimile editions of medieval manuscripts. The strength is English philology, including English dialects. Also Greek, Roman and Anglo-Saxon literature, Old English, English poetry and novels, French and German literature, literary criticism, English grammar, English history, religion and botany

  • Osborne Collection

    About 200 American books and a smaller number on the French Revolution and Napoleon, plus 15 letters by eighteenth and nineteenth-century scientists and physicians

  • Overton Collection

    Around 4,000 books published by Penguin and its related imprints from 1935-1964

  • Oxford and Cambridge Club Pamphlet Collection

    About 1300 pamphlets and tracts published in Britain between 1829 and 1882. They provide a valuable record of the issues that were discussed and debated in Britain in the middle decades of the nineteenth century

  • Palmer Collection

    Personal papers that form one of the finest literary archives in Australia. They include correspondence, manuscripts of books, newspaper articles, lectures and material concerning writers, artists and literary organisationsbout 2500 books published 1900–60, many inscribed by the authors. The collection is particularly strong in novels, poetry and history.

  • Parkhill Collection

    Recordings of the music of various language, nationality or region-based communities in Melbourne, 1975-1983, plus oral history interviews with people who lived in the Illawarra region from the 1920s to 1990s, and also people involved with the 1989 Newcastle earthquake

  • Pearce Collection

    14 000 books and pamphlets. The subjects include Australian poetry and literary criticism, English and Scottish poetry, Greek and Roman literature, Australian history, labour history, Australian Aborigines, politics, communism, secularism, Christianity, Catholicism and philosophy. Also includes personal papers of Pearce and other Australian writers. 

  • Pelli Collection

    About 1225 books published in France from the 17th-20th centuries. While many great writers are represented, the writings of popular and minor writers make up the bulk of the collection and are of particular research interest 

  • People’s Forest Collection

    Oral history interviews recorded between 1992 and 1997 with people involved in all aspects of forests, from loggers and sawmillers to scientists and poets. Also around 86 photographs dating from 1920-1960 depicting various aspects of forests and forestry work.

  • Petherick Collection

    About 15,000 books and pamphlets. The great strength of the collection is in Pacific voyages and early Australiana with many very rare items. Also manuscripts including papers of Joseph Banks, maps and pictures

  • Petzold Collection

    Around 830 books mainly relating to Buddhism but also to Hinduism, Indian history and Western philosophy. They include works in German, French and English and mostly published 1870–1945

  • Phillips Collection

    About 350 photographs, including glass negatives, and a small number of pencil sketches. The majority depict paddle steamers sailing or moored on the Murray or Darling rivers and were taken over a period of a century or more

  • Pickering Collection

    About 440 books published by William Pickering between 1820 and 1854 including reprints of classics and seventeenth-century Anglican religious works, plus contemporary writers of his time

  • Pinne Collection

    2780 music scores for songs and vocal and piano selections from American, British and Australian musicals, music theatre, films and television shows produced from about 1920 to 1990

  • Plane Table Surveys Collection

    182 original field sheets, representing 32 map sheets, dating from 1915 to 1936. They are mounted on board, metal or linen and are of various sizes and shapes. The collection includes surveys carried out in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia

  • Portuguese and Brazilian Drama Collection

    2121 books, pamphlets, programs, periodicals and plays published between 1755 and 1972. The majority of the works are Portuguese plays including modern editions and facsimiles extending back to the fifteenth century

  • Power Collection

    Ten signed stencil prints by Pablo Picasso. 54 sketchbooks of John Power, containing pencil, pen and ink, crayon and occasional watercolour sketches. A small group of personal papers of Power, and 262 books relating to art and architecture 

  • Prance Collection

    975 books, the most significant group relating to the essayist and poet Charles Lamb and his circle. Also 250 books by or relating to the poet Edward Thomas, and a small number of titles on English natural history, belles lettres, book collecting and bookplates

  • Prout Collection

    Two oil paintings, 41 watercolours, and 38 pencil and wash or pencil drawings by John Skinner Prout, produced in the period 1841-1848, plus many lithographs and wood engravings used by Prout in his books

  • Radicalism in America

    Pamphlets, journals and other publications documenting many strands of American radicalism

  • Read Collection

    Oral history interviews related to Charles Perkins, a small number of interviews for a pilot project in how people form mental maps, and ongoing interviews for a major project 'Seven Years On' commencing in 1995 and focussing on emerging Aboriginal leaders

  • Richardson Collection

    Extensive personal and family papers of Henry Handel Richardson. The collection also includes original manuscripts of the music composed by Richardson for many songs

  • Riley Collection

    Thousands of pamphlets, booklets, leaflets, speeches, brochures and other material from political parties, trade unions, pressure groups and other bodies concerned with the Australian labour movement from the 1890s to 1960s. Also personal papers of Riley related to his work in the labour movement

  • Robinson Collection

    387 books, mostly related to Australia, but also several works on New Zealand and the Pacific. It is strong in accounts of the exploration of Australia and Pacific voyages.

  • Ross Collection

    1576 pamphlets, leaflets, speeches, newspaper and serial issues published 1892-1970. The strength is trade unionism, particularly the Australian Railways Union, socialism, left-wing parties in Australia and other economic and labour issues. Also the papers of Lloyd Ross and his father the socialist journalist R.S. Ross including correspondence, scrapbooks, minute books and photographs

  • Rowan Collection

    919 watercolours and gouaches of flowers and birds of Australia and Papua New Guinea painted 1870-1920, plus a small quantity of personal papers.

  • Royal Society of Edinburgh Admiralty Charts Collection

    99 first-issue charts and views of Australian coasts published by the Admiralty between 1814 and 1861.

  • Rummery Collection

    40 recordings of folk music, folklore and reminiscences from people in rural New South Wales recorded 1983-1988.

  • Russian Socialist Collection

    More than 400 Russian socialist pamphlets published mainly in the period 1900-1945, and two microfilm collections from Stanford and Harvard Universities of Russian revolutionary literature from 1898-1922.

  • Ryan Collection

    More than 1,000 comics, mostly published in Australia and including some overseas titles reprinted in Australia, from the 1940s to 1970s. Also some fanzines published in the United States and Australia, plus personal papers

  • Sakakibara Collection

    About 2600 books, mostly in Japanese from the period 1850-1940 but also some much earlier works. It is strong in military works, biographies of the Japanese Royal Family and leading figures in Japan and Western countries, Chinese and Japanese classics, works on Shintoism, shrines, Western philosophies and ethics, local histories and travel guides

  • Sang Ye Collection

    Around 186 Chinese newspapers and serials, mostly published 1949-84, plus a small number of government documents of the 1969–77 period, monographs, pamphlets, mimeographed works, and some works published during the Japanese occupation of China.

  • Sargent Collection

    1066 Japanese books, nearly all published in the twentieth century. They mostly relate to Japanese literature and include a large number of novels and also poetry, plays, essays, biographies of writers, literary history and critical works

  • Schuster Collection

    Recordings of folk songs and dance music from Queensland and also stories, legends and recollections of customs and immigrant settlement, particularly German and Scandanavian in rural Queensland

  • Scott Collection

    Recordings of folk music, dance music, folklore and oral history from New South Wales and Queensland recorded during the period 1955-1990

  • Sculthorpe Collection

    Personal papers, manuscript scores, literary manuscripts, sound recordings and family photographs of Peter Sculthorpe, plus videos of films for which he wrote the music and television interviews

  • Sievers Collection

    About 19,000 prints and 52,000 negatives and transparencies taken by Sievers from 1938-1991. An extraordinary record of Australian architecture, mining and industry. Also Sievers family papers, including portraits and photographs, extending from the late seventeenth to mid-twentieth century

  • Simon Collection

     3300 books and serial issues. About half in Chinese, 500 Japanese, several in Manchu and the rest in European languages. Includes Greek and Latin classics, Chinese language, Chinese history, philosophy and contemporary politics, Confucianism, Buddhism, Tibetan language, Indian literature, Sanskrit, Mongolian, Japanese literature, French literature

  • Sitsky Collection

    A comprehensive collection of manuscript pencil scores, drafts of compositions, and fair copies of Sitsky's music dating from 1958 onwards, plus composition diaries and transcriptions of works by other composers, and personal papers. Also about 200 scores of Russian composers purchased by Sitsky

  • Snell Collection

    About 15,500 items of sheet music and about 700 music albums from the late eighteenth century to the 1980s, mostly Australian and British but including some European and American. Also personal papers of Snell consisting largely of his research material on composers and Australian music history

  • South Pacific Commission

    Microfilm of 78 manuscripts copied by the Commission, written by missionaries, anthropologists, and linguists between 1900 and 1956 consisting mostly of dictionaries and grammars of Pacific Islands peoples. Personal papers of William Forsyth relating to the Commission and also publications produced by the Commission

  • State Theatre Collection

    12,569 music scores which were used in Australian cinemas in the silent film era

  • Stead Collection

    Papers of Christina Stead including diaries, manuscripts of her works, correspondence, personal documents, cuttings and photographs. Also papers of her biographers

  • Stephens Collection

    Manuscripts of poems and stories and letters that Stephens assembled in the years in which he was editing the ‘Red Page’ of the Bulletin and later the Bookfellow. Over 70 writers are represented in the collection

  • Strutt Collection

    About 280 paintings and drawings by William Strutt dating from 1837-1900, produced in France, Australia, New Zealand, Africa and England. Also two typescripts of stories by Strutt.

  • Sturgess Collection

    108 oral history interviews recorded by Sturgess between 1976 and 1986 while writing his two books and working on various ABC productions

  • Symphony Australia Collection

    Large collection of music scores and parts, most of them unpublished, written between 1910 and 1970 which were used by the orchestras of the Australian Broadcasting Commission. The music was written or arranged by Australian composers.

  • Tancock Collection

    About 3000 books and pamphlets, mostly published in Britain, the majority on astronomy but also some works on geology, physics and chemistry. Also a small group of Tanock's personal papers.

  • Tarala Collection

    431 books. The strength is Russian works published in countries other than the Soviet Union, including China, the United States, and Australia, in the years after 1917

  • Arnold Thomas Collection

    Over 1000 photographs documenting the history of boxing in Australia from the 1870s to the 1990s. Also some ephemera such as souvenir programs, match day cards and flyers

  • Bronwyn Thomas Collection

    About 200 books and serials mostly relating to Chinese art but also including some works on Chinese history, language and literature and reprints of early travels. Also extensive personal papers of Thomas

  • Tilghman Collection

    About 260 books and pamphlets on American history, mostly published in the twentieth century but includes some earlier imprints. Also papers of the Woodriff family (early settlers in the Shoalhaven district of NSW) and Tilghman, including about 380 of Tilghman's photographs of the Northern Territory 1925-1927 and Queensland 1931-1933

  • Tobing Collection

    About 600 books with particular strength in anthropology, sociology and linguistics and largely related to Indonesia. Most are in Dutch, Indonesian, german or English

  • Tooley Collection

    1277 charts and maps dating from the 16th to the late 19th centuries. They include maps of the Pacific and New Zealand as well as Australia

  • Tregellas Collection

    About 10,000 stereoscopic view cards produced by both commercial and amateur photographers in all parts of the world, including a substantial portion from Australia. They date from the end of the 19th century to the early 20th century. Also a significant collection of photographic equipment and some books and journals on photography

  • Valente Collection

    Around 6,000 books, mostly in Portuguese. The main strengths are literature, history and religion, and there are also works on politics, topography, archaeology, art, Portuguese exploration, Portuguese colonies, heraldry, genealogy, language and bibliography.

  • Van der Sprenkel Collection

    Around 150 Chinese books. There are some very rare works, including one of the oldest printed books in the Library, but most date from the 20th century. Subjects include Chinese history, literature, society, classics, philosophy and religion. Also the typescript of van der Sprenkel's unpublished  bibliography of Western writings on China and some personal papers

  • Victorian minor verse

    Around 500 titles by minor and obscure British poets of the nineteenth century. Most of the works were published during the reign of Queen Victoria, but there are some earlier imprints extending back to 1801.

  • Villanueva Collection

    Around 270 books, pamphlets and serials, mostly published in the Philippines 1900-1965 but also some items from the USA, Spain and Spanish-speaking countries. Most are in English, but also a small number in Spanish and Tagalog. The focus is on the law, government and resources of the Philippines

  • Vryonis Collection

    About 1600 books and periodicals relating mainly to Byzantine history, art, literature, Greek Orthodox Church and the relations with Islamic and Slavic cultures. Most published in the 20th century, but includes some earlier imprints. In English, French, German, Greek, Turkish and Slavic languages

  • Wang Collection

    About 4000 books, mostly in Chinese and published in China and Taiwan in the period 1950-2000. The strength is in Chinese history, other subjects include ethnology, legends, politics, religion and society and culture. Also many English language serials. In addition there are personal papers relating to Wang's work at the Library and involvement in various organisations

  • Westall Collection

    139 pencil drawings and watercolour paintings produced by Westall, all but two from the voyage of HMS Investigator 1801-03. They cover many of the places visited by the expedition and include views, panoramas and coastal profiles as well as painting of indigenous peoples and some flora and fauna

  • Whelan Collection

    About 1050 books by Australian authors, nearly all of them autographed and many containing lengthy annotations. The books were published between 1892 and 1967. Also a number of literary manuscripts by various authors and personal papers of Whelan

  • White Collection

    Personal papers of Patrick White, plus letters from White to other Australian writers acquired as part of their papers. Also papers of White's biographer David Marr and those of the artist and theatre designer Desmond Digby who had a long friendship with White

  • Williams Collection

    About 3200 books, pamphlets, serials, newspapers and ephemera. Mainly related to Japan plus some works on China and Korea. Includes experiences of European travellers and residents in Japan, and Japanese history, foreign relations, politics and government, military campaigns, businesses, foreign missions, society and customs, local history, art, architecture, literature, legends, philosophy and religions.

  • Williamson Collection

    Extensive archives of J.C. Williamson Ltd comprising business records, playscripts, libretti, music, programs, magazines, books, costume designs and photographs. Also personal papers of Williamson's business partners the Tait family and George Tallis

  • Willis Collection

    One of the largest oral history collections in Australia with recordings of over 900 individuals in all States, as well as folk groups, singing groups, bands and choirs. The primary focus is on traditional music and the performers also talk about their lives and background to the music

  • Wilson Collection

    Drawings, sketches, plans and photographs of Australian colonial architecture from NSW and Tasmania, pencil drawings of ancient buildings from Wilson's visits to China and Greece, drawings and sketches for a proposed "ideal city" of Kurrajong, drawings and sketches of furniture designs. Also personal papers of Wilson

  • Woodland Collection

    27 recordings of traditional music, recitations, folklore and oral histories made in New South Wales between 1968 and 1995

  • Yetts Collection

    715 Chinese and Japanese books. Most date from the period 1911-1940, but there are some much earlier works. The main subject areas are Chinese art, epigraphy, archaeology and early history of the Chinese script. Other subjects include classical writings, Buddhism and Taoism, myths and legends

  • York Collection

    About 140 oral history interviews, the majority for his Maltese-Australian and Polish-Australian folklore and social history projects. Personal papers of York plus papers of the historian Michael Cigler. Also a large quantity of Maltese newspapers, student newspapers, radical pamphlets and ephemera.

  • Zimmerman Collection

    About 600 books and 66 serials mainly relating to entomology and the natural sciences. The strength is works on British entomology but also includes Europe, North and South America. About one-third were published in the 18th and 19th centuries

  • Zwalf Collection

    535 pamphlets on socialism and related subjects published in the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia, the USSR, France and Britain from 1875-1950