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Our Manuscripts collections are wide ranging and provide rich evidence of the lives and activities of Australians who have shaped our society.
The Library's Manuscripts collections tell the stories and endeavours of individuals and organisations, offering first hand insights into events, people and places significant in Australia's history.
Ranging from single items to large collections, they comprise a wide variety of unpublished materials including letters, diaries, sketches and artworks, notebooks, maps, photographs, literary works, organisational records, blogs and many other types of records in both paper and digital form.
Our Manuscript collection includes many outstanding single items and small collections from the colonial period, but its greatest strength dates from the 1890s and Australia's development as a nation. The collections predominantly relate to Australia, but there are also important holdings relating to Papua New Guinea, New Zealand and the Pacific.
As part of the Library's mission to document all aspects of Australian life, we actively collect the papers and records of individuals and organisations that reflect the diversity of Australian society, culture, environments and political systems. While most of our collecting relates to recent Australian life, earlier materials are acquired as opportunities arise.
- Captain James Cook's Endeavour Journal - View the journal of Cook's first voyage to Australia
- William Bligh’s notebook - View the notebook Bligh kept after the mutiny of the Bounty
- Papers of Sir Edmund Barton - View the papers of Australia’s first prime minister
- Papers of Manning and Dymphna Clark - Read more about the life and work of Manning and Dymphna Clark
- Finding aid for the Papers of Sir John Monash - Explore the collection of Australia's military commander in the First World War.
- Papers of Mem Fox - children's author
- Papers of Miriam Hyde - composer, musician and poet