This report offers a review of recent significant acquisitions by the Library and of collecting activities. It does not describe the large volume of acquisitions of both Australian and overseas materials that are routinely acquired through deposit, purchase or donation.
- Described by the Oxford Companion to Australian Literature as a “collection of unattributed scurrilous and bawdy verse by such poets as A.D. Hope, James McAuley, O.M. Somerville and Harold Stewart”, the Library’s copy of The First boke of Fowle Ayres (1944), is the first catalogued edition of the work in an Australian library (a copy annotated after 1957 is part of the Amy Witting papers at the Mitchell Library). A poem attributed to James McAuley, the “Ballade of lost phrases” asks, “In what museum now abide / The pamphlets that we read of yore…”
- A copy of the first English language print publication by an Aboriginal Australian – a letter from Bennelong, dictated on 29 August 1796, to a “Mr Phillips,” probably Governor Arthur Phillip, published in English and German in the scientific journal Monatliche Correspondenz. Bennelong thanks Mrs Phillip for nursing him while he was ill in England in 1794, and politely requests handkerchiefs, stockings and shoes. Bennelong also reports the loss of his wife due to ‘muzzy doings’ with another Aboriginal man. This printed edition complements the original letter held in the Library’s Manuscripts collection.
- A rare American work of Ellis Rowan, Wild flowers: facsimiles of water colors (New York, Frederick A. Stokes, 1899) ‑ printed in America during the time she lived there from the late 1890s to 1905. While in America, Rowan published four books on wild flowers with Stokes, of which this is the rarest, and not previously held by the Library. This copy is from the library of Maie Casey, a direct descendant of Rowan.
- The London convict maid, a circa 1830 transportation broadside with an anonymous ten verse ballad inspired by Charlotte W., a London servant girl sentenced to seven years’ transportation for robbing her master in order to marry her lover. The Library’s copy is an apparently unique version from the estate of the bibliographer and book collector Harry Hodges, who made it available to Sir John Ferguson for listing in his bibliography (Ferguson, 1376), and to Geoffrey C. Ingleton to be reproduced in his classic collection True patriots all, or, News from early Australia as told in a collection of broadsides (1952).
- Charles Winnecke’s 1882 Report on pastoral country about Barrow's Creek Telegraph Station, overland telegraph, N.T., 20 000 square miles, 25 years' leases, (Adelaide: Frearson and Brother) provides a record of early European settlement in the interior of the Northern Territory. The pamphlet promoted the sale of leases of land 250km north of Alice Springs. This copy includes a colour lithographed frontispiece titled Overland telegraph line Barrow Creek Station and a previously unrecorded map. (Ferguson 14871). In the same vein, the Library acquired a copy of British Exploration of Australasia, Limited: prospectus, a 1900 prospectus for a mining company incorporated in London and associated with Philip Lyttelton Gell (1852-1926), which hoped to search for mineral deposits in north-western Australia, using the newly developed railway line from Port Hedland to the Pilbara.
- Eucalyptus: culture, exploitation et produit: son role en Algérie, 1874. An early study demonstrating that “imported Australian eucalypts proved extremely effective in reforestation and in reducing the incidence of malaria in mosquito infested, swampy areas around the Mediterranean littoral, in Portugal, Spain, southern France, Italy and North Africa”.
- Other acquisition to fill gaps included a copy of the Financial condition of Tasmania: a speech delivered before a public meeting at the Mechanics' Institution, Hobart Town, on 27th January, 1862 by Maxwell Miller, and the fourth edition of The Case of Mr. W.H. Barber: containing copies of all the documents recently submitted to the Right Hon. Sir George Grey, Bart., Secretary of State for the Home Department : a letter from Norfolk Island showing the revolting cruelties to which Mr. Barber was there subjected ; and a narrative of the steps by which his innocence has been established and his deliverance effected.
- Stephen Dupont’s Piksa Nuigini (2013), a limited edition book (with a signed black and white silver gelatin print) of improvised studio portraits, mostly taken outdoors in front of a white bed sheet, held up by local assistants), produced while this well-known Australian photo-journalist travelled around Papua New Guinea. The trip was made with the support of a 2010 Robert Gardner Fellowship of Photography from the Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology at Harvard University.
- 2013 was a highly successful year for federal election collecting, with more ephemera collected than any previous federal election. Material was collected from 727 House of Representative candidates, 119 Senate candidates, and more than 50 lobby groups, as well as a smattering of unauthorized material circulated through letterboxes. The collection comprises 62 boxes, compared with 40 boxes for the 2010 federal election, and 41 boxes for the 2007 election. 104 coreflute posters have also been taken into the collection, as well as 29 t-shirts, eight metres of bunting, several hats, a life-sized cut-out of Bob Katter and a five-metre long billboard skin. Toys have included “Bony Abbott” and “Chewlia Gillard” dog toys and a political football. The Library’s collecting in this area provides a vital snapshot for researchers into Australia’s political culture, parties and debate, and particular effort is made to collect paper material which would otherwise be lost from the record.
- A paper lace programme for a performance of Nellie Melba at Buckingham Palace on 28 June 1889, not long after her arrival in London in March 1886 and her big success in Romeo et Juliette at Covent Garden on what she later called “the great night of 15 June 1889.”
- Lytlewode Press limited edition boxed set of Thirty-two bookplates by Andrew and Irena Sibley containing original bookplates. Andrew Sibley’s bookplates are handcoloured and signed by the artist. The late Irena Sibley plates carry a studio stamp. The main volume is bound in ostrich leather.
- An 1885 Gibbs Shallard & Co colour lithographed Christmas card, with a sentimental poem and an illustration of a cockatoo swooping under the Southern Cross over a snow covered English village where a homesick Australian girl is dreaming of “golden sunshine” and the “merry cockatoo.” The verso features a black and white image of an Aboriginal child perched on an albatross delivering mail. We were able to date the card with the help of Trove digitised newspapers. The Goulburn Evening Penny Post for 7 November 1885 noted, “The brilliantly-plumaged cockatoo is given in full flight.” The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser for 3 November 1885 supplies the card’s order number, but is more critical: “In No. 401 the old world and the new are in a sense brought together. Poised in midair over an English village, where the earth is dumb with the Christmas snow, is an Australian white cockatoo. The design is good, but the execution might have been improved with advantage. It had been intended to suggest night, for the Southern Cross appears in the sky behind the bird, but the whole picture is too well lighted, and the bird does not exhibit the dazzling whiteness which is its characteristic, and of which so much should have been made by way of contrast. And there is a lack of softness in the work which is very notable.”
- Copy no. 5 of Ockers (Katoomba, NSW: Wayzgoose Press, 1999), by the Melbourne performance poet π. O. [Pi O]. Conceived, designed and illustrated with linocuts by Mike Hudson and handset by Jadwiga Jarvis, this extraordinary over-the-top concertina folded production (over 11 metres in length) is the most highly regarded work of Wayzgoose Press, one of Australia’s most important private presses. The text (or score) was previously published in 1983 by Collective Effort Press, but this later rendition adds ‘comic strip’ pop art style graphics and bold typography in a wide range of mainly san serif types to orchestrate a full re-creation of the poet’s public performance pyrotechnics. A glossary of ockerisms provides a key for an international audience, while the work as a whole gives a definitive representation of the ocker culture of the 1970s and its appropriation by the advertising industry. Produced in an edition of 40 copies, with at least 16 now in institutional collections.
- A silk programme for a Grand Concert held just slightly over 150 years ago on Tuesday, June 9th, 1863, at the recently re-opened Prince of Wales Theatre, Sydney, to benefit the Asylum for Destitute Children, Randwick. Impresario W. S. Lyster and his opera company artists volunteered their services for the evening, which was reviewed in the Sydney Morning Herald.
- 45th Gurindji Freedom Day: 26-28 August 2011 a limited edition triptych of images originally reproduced as t-shirts and banners for the celebration of the anniversary of the ‘Walk Off’, an industrial dispute in which the Gurindji people walked off Wave Hill Station and started the modern land rights movement.
The Library acquired a few significant posters in the period:
- A selection of 27 relatively recent circus posters from the 1970s to 2003 from well-known traditional circuses such as Ashtons, Burtons, Circus Royale, Silvers; unusual modern circuses, such as the Last Laugh Theatre Restaurant in Melbourne (which ran circus acts, including tightrope walking, above dining customers); the Albury-Wodonga based Flying Fruit Fly Circus (which features only human acts); a Bird Circus; and Circus Monoxide (which apparently combines circus with cabaret). A 1969 English poster from Robert Bros Circus was also acquired as it featured an Australian performer on an overseas tour, specifically a boxing kangaroo. Robert Bros specialized in training exotic circus animals and has been described as “one of the last great tenting outfits promoting performing animals on a grand scale in Britain.”
- Two art deco posters: Gert Sellheim’s Sunshine and surf: Australia, c1936 and Percy Trompf’s Australia: million - peopled cities and a European environment!, c1935 added to the Library’s collection of Australian 1930s travel posters. The Trompf, which depicts a party overlooking Sydney Harbour, includes one of the earliest poster images of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Some interesting individual musical scores were acquired during this period including:
- A copy of Dr Leichhardt’s march, composed by his friend S.H. Marsh, published in 1846. This piece of piano music celebrates the return of the explorer Ludwig Leichhardt from his 1846 expedition and was composed by Stephen Hale Marsh (1805-1888), an accomplished musician and harpist and an important figure in the Australian music scene of this period. The cover has a fine lithograph of the expedition by W. Boosey.
- A delightful 1938 manuscript score of ‘My wee koala bear’ - an original hand-written poem set to music by Marion Alsop-Greene. The front page has a beautiful watercolour of a koala and is labelled ‘Spring in the Australian bush’. It is believed that the score was originally given to the wife of Richard Tauber, the renowned Austrian tenor who was on tour in Melbourne at that time.
- More than 500 websites relating to the September 2013 Federal Election campaign were collected. This included 163 House of Representative candidates’ sites; 42 Senate candidates’ sites; 19 sites relating to electoral study and research; 102 lobby and interest group sites; 106 sites produced by registered political parties; and 87 media, comment, social network and video sites. Media sites collected included the daily election coverage of online newspapers The Sydney Morning Herald and The Guardian Australia.
- In addition to election campaign websites many of the outgoing government’s websites were collected including 40 ministerial sites and sites relating to programs discontinued by the incoming government, including the website of the Climate Institute of Australia.In addition to collecting Australian websites the Library purchased access to a range of high quality, significant online resources including a fourth module of the Nineteenth Century Collections Online database, Women – transnational networks was purchased for perpetual access from Cengage Gale. It is available for remote access to registered users and document delivery.
- The Asia/Pacific region is the primary focus of overseas collection development activities for both current and retrospective material. Some interesting acquisitions of contemporary material include: Tega aku aku ha' uruera i te ahi ahi o hora a collection of Easter Island children’s stories in Spanish and Rapa Nui; Dictionnaire ajië-français à l'usage des étudiants a dictionary of the Ajië language spoken by around 15,000 inhabitants of New Caledonia ; Exlibris Japan: an introductory handbook to the bookplates of Japan ; from Papua New Guinea Tok ples in texting and social networking: PNG 2010 a report on the impact of new technologies on indigenous languages of Papua New Guinea ; Ming an unpublished script for a film (which was never produced) set against the violent events of Timor’s 1999 referendum for independence ; and Hát bội, dờn ca tài từ và ca̓i lương : cuối tk 19 đầu tk 20 on the history and development of classical Vietnamese music and theatre from the late 19th to early 20th century, and how they were showcased to the world at fairs in Paris and Marseilles.
The Library has also continued to selectively acquire significant rare items and microfilm research material for the collection, both through purchase and donation. Titles acquired in this period include:
- A copy of Peter Dance’s Letters on ornithology 1804-1815 between George Montagu and Robert Anstice which record the gradual progress to publication of Montagu’s work as new birds were acquired and provide an interesting insight into this early phase of British ornithological history. This book complements Montagu’s Supplement to the ornithological dictionary held in the Library’s Rare Book collection and also other ornithological titles held in the Gregory M. Mathews collection.
- A limited edition (one of 450 copies) of Twelve wood-block prints of Kitagawa Utamaro illustrating the process of silk culture with an introductory essay by Jack Hillier, noted scholar of Japanese art, reproduced from originals in the collection of Edwin and Irma Grabhorn.
- Virtudes de algumas plantas da ilha de Timor [Virtues of some plants of the island of Timor] by Father Alberto de São Tomás. This lovely book is a facsimile of a manuscript on the flora of East Timor by an 18th century priest, with hand painted depictions of plants accompanying the text.
- Da Oceania a Lisboa: viagem by Francisco Cravasfos Valdez published in 1866 is the author’s account of a journey to Portugal via Timor, Java, Indochina, Malaya, Arabia and Egypt. The chapters on Timor contain some quite detailed information on the local inhabitants, recent history and colonial administration.
- Four English translations of Japanese fairy tales from renowned Japanese children's author Sazanami Iwaya, who is sometimes known as the "Grimm of Japan". The four titles Goblin mountain, Momotaro: the story of peach-boy, Crab's revenge and Jewel spring were published in 1938 by Hokuseido Press, one of Japan's oldest publishers of English books. All copies are quite rare with intricate illustrations, rice paper covers speckled with silver which provide a fairy tale appearance, and bound oriental style with tied silk thread binding.
- An 1862 ink and wash drawing Aboriginal family hunting mallee fowl near Echuca by colonial artist, Nicholas Chevalier. The work records hunting traditions, as well as showing clothing and equipment, and appears to have been used as reference for Chevalier’s 1871 watercolour Mallee scrub, Murray River, NSW, also held by the Library.
A 1969 portrait of Lloyd Rees, with paintbrushes in hand, by three-time Archibald Prize winner, William Pidgeon. Pidgeon preferred this more relaxed portrait, in which Rees is dressed in his painting clothes, to an earlier more formal portrait of his artist friend, which won the Archibald Prize in 1968. Another artist’s portrait is a 1972 ink and watercolour self-portrait by Donald Friend. From the same Deutscher & Hackett auction, the Library acquired another Friend drawing, a 1945 sketch entitled The Dead, Labuan, Borneo.
- Photographs of people and places include an album c.1870 by Samuel Sweet of country scenes and station views and six images of Port Darwin, recording the development of South Australia and the Northern Territory; six photographs of Roebourne, Western Australia c.1910 by Ernest Lund Mitchell, showing settler scenes and Aboriginal life and customs. A 1966 photograph by Mervyn Briggs of Private Doug Walters having a lunch break, at Holsworthy Army Camp; a shoe black polishing shoes outside a Sydney hotel in 1897 and a 1912 meeting of Western Australian railway construction workers were acquired from Josef Lebovic. Nine photographs by Harold Cazneaux, including two images of missionary photographer Norman C. Deck (1908) and the infant Priscilla Deck (1927), were donated by Cazneaux family relation, Patricia Braga.
- More recent documentary acquisitions include ten black and white photographs in Jon Rhodes 1990 Maps to Marruwa series, recording the road from Kiwirrkura to Marruwa, built to re-establish a small outstation north of Wilkinkarra (Lake Mackay) in the Western Desert, Pintupi country. Fifty digital images of Lake Eyre, South Australia by photographer Trevern Dawes, capture its changing profile between 1988 and 2011. Nine digital photographs by Darren Clark document drovers walking cattle from the Barkly Tablelands to Central Queensland in 2013 and ten digital photographs by Claire Martin depict fly-in fly out mining in the Pilbara in 2013.
- A group of 21 photographs of prominent contemporary Australians (2005-2012), taken by Andrew Quilty include artist and musician Reg Mombassa, fashion designer Collette Dinnigan, musician Richard Tognetti and businessman Frank Lowy. Two 2013 photographs of musicians Spencer P. Jones and Kim Salmon in performance were acquired from Nathan Kelly.
- Six photographs inspired by Canberra’s tree-scapes were selected from UK artist Jyll Bradley’s exhibition City of Trees, shown recently at the Library.
- A significant addition to the papers of Christopher Koch, who died in September 2013. Koch was an acclaimed writer (twice winner of the Miles Franklin Award) who published eight novels, a collection of essays, and a travel book. A small collection of Koch’s papers related to his novel The Year of Living Dangerously was acquired in 1981. That material is substantially enhanced by these additional papers, which include extensive notebooks, correspondence, research material and galley proofs related to the planning and writing of his novels, as well as travel sketches and diaries and correspondence with his brother, journalist Philip Koch.
- A small collection of papers related to actor Errol Flynn, sold by a UK dealer acting on behalf of a family member, includes 37 letters written by Flynn to his family (mostly to his father Theodore) between 1935 and 1959. They describe his personal and professional life and express views on a range of topics. The collection also includes 57 family photographs (including unpublished images from Flynn’s childhood), studio publicity photographs, as well as letters and documents related to Flynn’s death and contested estate.
- An illustrated manuscript journal records an emigrant’s voyage from London to Hobart Town in 1834. Tailor Joseph Pettingell was born in Hertfordshire in 1799 and died at Camperdown, NSW, in 1859. He embarked for Hobart in March 1834 with his wife Marianne and six children. The Library acquired a typescript copy of this journal in 1962. The original journal is significant because Pettingell was an accomplished amateur artist and the journal describes in some detail the journey of a family, including the birth of a son and death of a daughter during the voyage. Pettingell’s illustrations depict conditions aboard the Thomas Laurie, fish and birds encountered, coastal scenery, images of other boats and ships, and a drawing of a Van Diemen’s Land farm.
- Papers of William Hughan related to HMAS Sydney. Hughan was a crew member for two years and was posted elsewhere just before Sydney was sunk in 1941. The collection is contained in Hughan’s wooden sea-chest, and includes a number of drawings by Hughan showing activity on board, as well as depicting battle engagements. It also includes a number of photographs of the crew, as well as correspondence and ephemera.
- The John Ireland family archive, comprising photographic material and papers documenting the 19th century emigration of an English (Bonham Carter) and Irish (Ireland) family to New Zealand, and then to Melbourne. John Ireland (1930-2011) was a secondary school principal who brought together the collection which had accumulated and passed down through four generations. The families are documented in a range of photographic formats which form the most important part of the archive: ambrotypes, tintypes, stereographic images, cycloramas, cartes de visite and postcards. The collection includes papers relating to R.D. Ireland, a prominent barrister, politician and Attorney-General in mid- 19th century Melbourne, as well as an interesting Victorian-era will, deeds, diary, address book and ‘literary learnings’ journal.
- Two cartoon maps of Europe, depicting wartime postures of combatants at the start of the First World War and the Russo-Turkish War (1877). The World War I map is the work of Karl Lehmann–Dumont from Dresden and caricatures each of the European participants from a German perspective. This example, probably from late 1914, is one of a number of satirical maps created by both sides during the Great War and complements the Library’s extensive archive of World War I maps and posters.
- The rare world atlas, Il globo atlante di carte geografiche, published in Genoa in 1858. The volume comprising 50 hand-coloured plates, includes maps of Oceania, New France, Tahiti, New Zealand, Polynesia, New Caledonia and New Guinea. Included in this atlas, is a very rare edition of the map illustrating Captain James Vetch's scheme for dividing Australia, proposed in 1838.
- Die Weltkarte des Pierre Desceliers von 1553, a 1924 limited edition facsimile of 90 copies of the ‘lost Dieppe map’ created by Pierre Desceliers, and destroyed by fire during the First World War. Desceliers was a French Renaissance cartographer and an eminent member of the Dieppe school of cartography. The map on 12 sheets includes two sheets covering ‘Jave la Grande,’ showing apparent knowledge of the Australian coastline before the Dutch.
- A collection of nineteenth century French maps of Asia and the Pacific, including: the islands of Melanesia and ‘distribution of races’ in Oceania; a ten sheet map series for Indochina published by the Service géographique de l'Indochine, 1908-1944; and city maps of Dalat, Angkor Wat, Haiphong, Phnom Penh, Hanoi etc. A 1921 government map of Nauru (Pleasant Island) was also acquired.
- Schetskaart van het eiland Flores en omliggende eilanden, produced by the Dutch Topografische Inrichting in the 1920s. This large topographic map on two sheets of Flores Island and surrounding Indonesian islands near Timor-Leste, shows administrative boundaries, roads, ports, and populated places in the immediate pre-WWII era. The Library copy has handwritten annotations and corrections in Dutch, and place names underlined and marked in pencil, possibly by a Dutch colonial officer.
- A collection of approximately 100 maps produced between 1881-1913, by the Victorian Railway Department. The railway plans are for various lines throughout Victoria, and also show blocks of land, landholders, townships and parishes.
- A coat-hanger map of Australia (including Tasmania), of the type popularly used as a car aerial, was donated by Tony Wheeler, co-founder of Lonely Planet. Mr Wheeler donated the map during his visit to participate in a Mapping our World exhibition event.
- The Thalidomide in Australia project documents a period in medical history for which the legal, medical and social ramifications are still evident. As many survivors face chronic health problems and with life expectancy severely compromised there is a strong imperative to record their stories. Seven interviews have been recorded, including with survivors Lance Fletcher, Mark Chorlton, Trish Jackson, Suanne Kennedy and Laura Thompson; carer/advocate Lesley Thompson and medical researcher Dr Janet McCredie.
- A project documenting the history of information and communications technology has recorded five interviews with computer scientists, academics and industry stalwarts who pioneered developments in Australia since the 1950s. They include Professor Arthur Sale, Max Burnet, Associate Professor Peter Thorne, Gordon Rose and Murray Allen.
A number of collaborative projects are continuing. Interviews with former parliamentarians Tom McVeigh, Don Cameron, Kay Patterson, David Brownhill and newly elected independent MP for Indi, Cathy McGowan, were recorded for the project undertaken with the Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House. Interviews with paralympians Brendan Flynn and Jane Buckley were recorded for the project with the Australian Centre for Paralympic Studies.
- Interviews were added to projects supported through Australian Research Council grants. Trailblazing women and the law added interviews with Jocelynne Scutt, Patricia Conroy, Hannah McGlade, Patti Chong, Judy Eckert, Jenni Hill and Erika Feller. The first 15 interviews were recorded for the recently commenced Australian lesbian and gay life stories project. The Australian Generations project continues to grow, with over 200 interviews now completed, exploring attitudes and experiences across four generations.
- Interviews with eminent Australians include neurosurgeon Professor John de Burgh Norman; pilot Deborah Lawrie; landscape architect Professor Richard Clough; environmentalist and Indigenous rights activist Phillip Toyne;, photographic collector Joyce Evans; ethnomusicologist Professor Gordon Spearritt; sociologist Claudio Veliz; engineer inventor John Dickenson; arts journalist Helen Musa; sports journalist Roger Wills; actors Angela Punch McGregor and Amanda Muggleton and directors Ray Omodai and Ross McGregor. An interview featuring Thea Hayes, the wife of the manager of Wave Hill station 1970-1977, provides insight into station life during a period of significant change both in the pastoral industry and Gurindji society.
- Two new social history projects commenced. Ten interviews have been conducted for the Irish National Association Centenary project. The Centenary of Canberra project features individuals who have lived in and contributed to Canberra over many years. To date six interviews have been completed, including winemaker Ken Helm.
The Rob Willis Folklore Collection was augmented by the acquisition of 18 recordings including with Professor of Folklore at Curtin University, Dr Graham Seal, and the Director of the National Folk Festival, Pam Merrigan. The performance at the National Library by the 2013 National Folk Fellow Cathy Ovenden, featuring the fiddle music of Joe Yates, was also recorded for the folklore collection.