• 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.

Australian publications

  • As in previous reports, acquisition of printed Australian material was primarily filling gaps in existing collections.

  A number of 18th century works were acquired in the period, including:

The Library also acquired a number of 18th Century publications.

  • An 1820 presentation copy of James Burney’s, A memoir on the voyage of D'Entrecasteaux in search of La Pérouse, inscribed by the author to “Sir H. Davy Bart” and with a bookplate of Lady Davy on cover verso.
  • Adding to the Library’s record of early Australian environmental management, the first two annual reports of the Queensland Acclimatisation Society cover the society’s activities in introducing and exporting exotic plants and animals to and from Queensland in 1863 and 1864. In the early days of the Society, exchanges of exotic plants and animals were in high demand from Europe. The society’s aims were not only scientific enquiry but also furthering the prosperity of the colony.
  • The Book of birds and beasts is a beautifully coloured descriptive children’s book from 1826, featuring the kangaroo and the platypus.
  • Other 18th Century works collected included an 1873 Tichborne broadside ballad, and a brief memoir by John Bingle – Birthday thoughts in New South Wales, Australia – written for the occasion of his 82nd Birthday in 1878. Bingle is best known for his conflict with Sir Richard Bourke which led to his removal from the magistracy in the 1830s, which appears to have still rankled given his comment that magistrate appointments remained, “one of the principal rewards of electioneering toadyies.”

A number of World War I items have come onto the market this year, and items acquired by the Library include:

  • The 1818 Young Australias' ABC of the war, a patriotic children’s alphabet book.
  • All hands, a patriotic poem recited by Ed. E. Ford, the Australian sundowner.
  • Gratifying results, a coloured postcard with a photograph of brave men in uniform being congratulated on the front, and a poem, “The Shirker’s Chorus” on the verso; Retrospect: J.D.J., Pozieres, a touching 1916 illustrated verse memoir by his 'Younger brother'.
  • A letter to the Australian Imperial Forces, September, 1918 by Jeanie Jobson
  • My landing on Gallipoli by M. F. Beevor, a rare memoir by the officer commanding “A” Company, 10th Battalion: “Both my watches stopped at 22 minutes past 4 o'clock in the morning of the 25th April so I am well advised as to the exact time I got ashore on Gallipoli, and as my men were assembling some 150 yards to the North of me, and them was no-one for some distance to the South, I was the first Australian ashore on this particular patch of the Peninsula.”
  • From World War II, we also picked up a surrender ticket dropped from a Japanese plane on Australian troops in Papua New Guinea. This aerial propaganda leaflet combines the plaintive appeal of a wife or girlfriend waiting at home with the threat of death (faint skulls in the background). It provides an interesting counterpoint to the Library’s existing collection of Australian-produced surrender tickets dropped on Japanese soldiers in the Pacific.

The Library has noted an increase in the number of posters being offered for both donation and sale in the last six months. Notable acquisitions include:

  • A range of travel and advertising posters from the 1930s to the 1950s, such as Orient Line cruises (1937) by Richard Beck, with a Surrealist mannequin’s hand grasping a sea shell and two white cruise ships silhouetted in the background.
  • Hop over to Australia, a Teal (Air New Zealand) poster which puts Australia's major night and entertainment spots up in neon lights. Other images featured from the period include a Christmas tree festooned with pink-tied Guinness cans.
  • An ad for ‘Towel Week’, ‘an exhibition of all that fashion decrees in modern towels.’
  • A collection of posters by illustrator Ian McCausland, who was responsible for album covers for bands such as the Little River Band, the Aztecs, Spectrum, Daddy Cool, Chain and  Skyhooks. A rights agreement was received with this acquisition, which will allow us to make images of any McCausland material in the collection available via the catalogue.
  • Whatever happened to…”  - a thumbs down exploration of the practical and philosophical things lost as a result of new technology. The World Wide Web is equated with garbage bins as yellow tabs listing a range of analogue technologies and human values are discarded underneath an inverted Facebook “like” button. Broadside or poster printed by Jadwiga Jarvis and Mike Hudson of the Wayzgoose Press.

Other contemporary Australiana collected included:

  • More than 30 artists books, as a result of the Library’s attendance at artist book events. Artists represented included: war photographer Stephen Dupont; printmaker Barbara Davidson; ‘outsider’ artist Kathleen Mary Fallon (whose papers are held at the Library); and Simryn Gill, who was appointed to represent Australian at the Venice Biennale in 2013.
  • Contemporary ephemera collecting in this period focused on the visit to Australia by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince George; and additional federal election material arising from the WA Senate election.
  • The Library also added to its extensive collection of zine material in the period. Combining construction techniques and printing, zines blur the lines between artwork and printed books. In this period, notable collection items acquired included “Gumnut Runes”, combined carved gumnuts with printed text, and the Refugee Art Project Zine, showcasing the artwork of teenage refugees now studying at Fairfield High School.


  • An original manuscript copy by Australian music critic, William Hoffman, Waltz from Suite for piano (1956). The piece contains a dedication that refers to his time at the UNESCO seminar in Melbourne in 1956 and an inscription by the composer.
  • An original manuscript copy of Capriccietto for little bells by Australian composer and music educator Dulcie Holland. This copy is signed by the composer and dated 1934.
  • Mona waltz / by J.A. Robertson. Sydney : W.H. Paling & Co. Limited, [between 1886 and 1891?]. This very rare work, which is apparently not held by any other library, has a beautiful hand tinted lithograph on the cover. J.A. Robertson, an Australian by birth, was a composer and conductor for the English musical stage in the period leading up to the First World War.

Online publications

  • The Library’s bulk harvesting from the World Wide Web took another step forward in this period, with the collection of around 900 Commonwealth Government websites in February 2014, updating the Australian Government Web Archive to include content from the current federal Government. The ninth whole .au domain harvest, comprised of approximately 785 million files, was collected during January and February 2014.

Highlight additions to the selective Pandora Archive include:

  • 82 websites relating to the National Commission of Audit, including the NCA website, submissions and responses to the audit;
  • A number of websites relating to the commemoration of Australia’s participation in World War I were also collected.

The Library also purchases access to a range of high quality, historically significant online resources and continued to expand this with subscriptions to the following collections. They are available for remote access to registered users and document delivery:

  • Chatham House Archive Parts 1 and 2: 1920-2008 - provides full-text of over 90 years of research, expert analysis and commentary produced by the Royal Institute of International Affairs, based at Chatham House.
  • NK News - an independent, privately owned specialist site focused on North Korea;

Overseas publications

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:

  • More than 1700 classified documents relating to the history of the Chinese Communist Party dating from 1949 were acquired. These rare and significant cdocuments were published by the Service Centre for Chinese Publications in Los Angeles, and most had limited circulation within the CCP.
  • A set of 11 volumes of Japanese kimono weaving. The contents are the selection traditional kimono weaving of Nishijin, Kyoto. Nishijin weaving was created in Kyoto 1200 years ago, and continued evolving by using many different types of coloured yarns and weaving them together into decorative designs. The weaving community supplied and provided materials for both the Imperials courts and Samurai lords. The book, published in 1917, contains the images of weavings made in woodblock prints, and the covers of each volume were made with Nishijin textiles.
  • An 1822 Korean manuscript atlas, “Cheonhado”, published in 1822. The atlas includes maps of the world, China, Taian, Japan and various Korean provinces.
  • A collection of more than 200 Thai political ephemera materials, which includes campaign ephemera from the Thai general election held in February 2014, and political ephemera collected from demonstrations in Bangkok from July 2013 to May 2014. Ephemera was also collected from the Indonesian election in 2014, including a doll, lighters, hand fans, mugs, t-shirts, posters, and a pillow.
  • Hametin kultura Kemak Marobo (Reaffirming the Kemak culture of Marobo) - a beautiful new book on traditional Kemak culture by an Australian author accompanied by a DVD on traditional dying and weaving;
  • Sawiyano: Daily Life Amidst Cultural Change by Bethany "Betni" Kalk - the author’s account of a stay in a Sawiyano village in 2012 that includes the story of a day in the life of a real girl named Maliai that provides an interesting perspective on Sawiyano life;
  • Buveurs de kava (Kava drinkers) – a social and cultural history of kava in the Pacific ; and
  • Three Vietnamese language books Vương quó̂c Phù Nam [Funan, history and culture], Văn hóa Óc Eo [Oc Eo culture], Lịch sử Nam Bộ … [History of the South …]. on the Funan and Oc Eo, kingdoms of South Vietnam. They are not held elsewhere in Australia and present more recent scholarly research on these historically important and controversial regions than other items held.


  • The Library purchased two watercolours on vellum of Australian Cassowary and Rawnsley’s Bowerbird by Henry Constantine Richter (1821-1902). Richter was a prolific illustrator and lithographer renowned for his work with natural history publisher John Gould, including on The Birds of Australia (1840-48).
  • The Library purchased 53 photographs of Indigenous communities taken by Robin Smith between the 1950s-1970s; fifteen 1990s photographs of significant Indigenous people by Juno Gemes, 11 photographs of life in central Australia taken in the 1990s by Joyce Evans, and 34 photographs of life in Arnhem Land, 2012, by photographer Matthew Abbott, 2013 recipient of the Reportage—Sydney Morning Herald Emerging Photographer Scholarship.
  • The Library now holds a portrait of explorer of William Charles Wentworth. The large bronze portrait medallion, purchased at a Sotheby’s sale in Melbourne, was produced by sculptor and poet Thomas Woolner in 1854, one of the founders of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.
  • Rare albumen print carte de visite photographs by Johnstone and Co. of explorers Robert O’Hara Burke and William John Wills were purchased from a Melbourne dealer. Taken in 1860, prior to the expedition, the portraits are among the best known images of the explorers, used as the basis for numerous engravings, paintings and commemorative works published after the fate of the expedition was known.
  • War-related acquisitions include a rare photographic album of German internment camp scenes at Enoggera (Brisbane) and Holsworthy (Liverpool) dated 1914; a visually rich sketch panorama of the World War II Prisoner of War camp in Ambon, and some rare photographs by Samuel Albert White of an Australian Boer War regiment undertaking an execution.


  • Significant colonial era manuscript purchases include the Delivery Book for Maidstone Gaol in Kent (1788-1795) and the Courtney family papers. The Delivery Book records personal and sentencing details of Second Fleet prisoners – among them, 14 female convicts transported on the notorious Lady Juliana. The Courtney paperscomprise correspondence, a shipboard journal, photographs and documents primarily relating to Edward Courtney (1793-1871), who arrived in Sydney in late 1836, established himself as an accountant with the Bank of Australasia, and ended his career as a government assignee in Port Phillip. Correspondence from other family members describes experiences in colonial outposts including St Helena, Cape Town, Van Diemen’s Land and Mauritius and documents daily life, agriculture and business. Information about nineteenth-century banking is of particular interest.
  • Costume designer Tess Schofield has donated her substantial archive under the Cultural Gifts Program. The collection encompasses designs for film, theatre and opera and represents work on some 60 productions between 1986 and 2013, many directed by Neil Armfield. As well as personal papers, highlights include notebooks, preliminary sketches and finished designs for the film The Sapphires, and theatre productions such as Diary of a Madman, Cloudstreet and A Streetcar Named Desire.
  • A substantial collection of papers and photographs from Stephen Brady CVO, former Official Secretary to the Governor-General, and recently appointed Ambassador to France.
  • A collection of papers from Indigenous actor, director and choreographer Noel Tovey.
  • Author Kate Grenville delivered four cartons of papers of her friend and fellow writer, the late Glenda Adams, with 17 boxes of her papers, including correspondence, drafts and notes relating to the Hawkesbury trilogy novels.
  • Two collections, acquired from different dealers, related to rower William (Bill) Dixon (1912-1969). Of particular interest is material from the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games, including his Australian cap, his autograph book featuring signatures of all Australian competitors and officials. And an invitation to the farewell Games dance; and photos, including the official Australian Team photograph.
  • A number of World War I related collections have been acquired, including a small collection of letters written by Mrs Jeannie (Aeneas) Gunn to Walter Lewis, donated by Lewis’s daughter. Lewis had been a POW in Germany, and met Mrs Gunn while convalescing in Melbourne. She wrote letters of support as he made the rail journey home to Queensland in 1919, instructing him to open one each day. Papers of Private Frank Piferrer (2nd Field Ambulance AIF) for the period 5 April to 24 August 1915, give an account of the activities of Australian troops waiting to depart for the Dardanelles. There is also a graphic five page account of the Gallipoli Landing and two letters referring to Piferrer's death from influenza in 1919.
  • As part of ongoing work to develop and refine processes for acquisition of born-digital material, a procedure to transfer emails from a MacMail program was successfully tested on correspondence between photographers Francis Reiss and Jeff Carter. The contents of the laptop and USB flash drive of the historian, the late Rupert Gerritsen, have been copied to a portable hard-drive in preparation for appraisal and descriptive work using Forensic Toolkit. The transfer process was used to trial CAINE (Computer Aided Investigative Environment) software.


  • The Mapping our World exhibition elicited a number of offers and donations, with several significant items acquired. These include a collection of 1950s–1960s hydrographic charts of Sydney Harbour and surrounding coastline.
  • A rare, c. 1850 manuscript copy of the map Australia and islands adjacent signed by Henry Bridges. The map was probably drawn contemporaneously as an exercise from one of the same title published in the popular school book, An atlas of modern geography, by classics and geography publisher Samuel Butler.
  • Of significance for Australian mapping of the early European settlement period, the Library acquired an 1838 edition of The London atlas of universal geography exhibiting the physical & political divisions of the various countries of the world, published by John Arrowsmith. Arrowsmith produced most of the detailed mapping of the colonies between 1800-1850, and this edition includes 53 colour maps. While other editions of the work are held, this volume contains additional plates not present in others, including The maritime portion of South Australia from the surveys of Captn. Flinders & of Col. Light Survr. Genl. London… June 5th, 1838.
  • The Library added to its significant collection of cartographic devices, toys, games and marketing paraphernalia, with a colourful articulated example of carto-marketing, Betts's portable terrestrial globe, an expandable or ‘umbrella’ frame world globe, c.1920.
  • Twentieth-century series mapping was enriched by two notable purchases. Some 100 Soviet Union military city plans detail major world centres such as London, Berlin, Pyongyang, Damascus, Aleppo, Rangoon, Beijing, and several other cities in China and Southeast Asia. (Soviet maps of Australian cities were acquired in 2012-13.) Acquisition of over 1000 post-2000 maps of Myanmar, purchased as both paper print-on-demand plots, and geopdf digital files, this is the latest large-scale, and the only publicly-available, topographic mapping since World War II, for which the Library also has near-complete holdings.
  • There have been several acquisitions of colonial-period war maps, including an 1854 British map of the Caucasus, part of the Russo-Turkish war, of which the more famous Crimean War was but one theatre. This was a celebrated and highly referenced map (including by Australian commentators as Australian contingents were sent), produced by James Wyld, geographer to the Queen.
  • Of particular significance to early Australian maritime cartography, the Library acquired a highly detailed very rare six-sheet marine chart, A new chart of the China Sea and East India Archipelago, produced in 1823 by J.W. Norie & Co. The chart encompasses the East Indies and China Sea with the Malay Peninsula, New Guinea and the northern parts of Australia.
  • Angling in troubled waters is one of the most famous of maps lampooning European and colonial politics. An 1899 serio-comic map of Europe, by Fred. W. Rose (author of the ‘Octopus’ map of Europe), this caricature map with each country depicted as an angler having various levels of success in hooking colonies takes a highly artistic, humorous approach. Rose’s map depicts the threat posed to British interests by Russian territorial ambitions during the Balkan crisis - John Bull with a huge catch-bag (Ireland), and Egypt as a crocodile on the end of his line, is just one of the illustrated countries.
  • Map of London's underground railways, a new design for an old map is the first edition of Harry Beck’s famous and influential design. Beck mapped the Underground showing various lines and interchange stations, recognising passengers were less interested in geographical accuracy than how to get from one station to another and where to change trains. The modern tube map (and many other city rail maps) is still based on his simplified topological design.
  • A colonial and missionary church map of the world, printed for the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, London, 1842. This folding map showing ‘Christian, heathen and Mahometan countries, English possessions and churches’ includes a table listing the land area of the globe, total British territory, foreign dependants and  distribution of British subjects, colonial dioceses and religious distribution including ‘idolaters’.

Oral History

The Library acquired the only known recording of Indigenous opera singer Lorna Beulah (1928-2012). Lorna Beulah sang in many operas, as well as her radio and television appearances, and was invited to sing at the Sydney Opera House before its opening to test the acoustics. This recording is of a performance at a Forbes, NSW, Presbyterian gathering in the mid-1960s.

  • Additions to the social history program, included interviews with Indigenous Canberrans Jennifer Kemarre Martiniello, Kerry Reed-Gilbert and Matilda House, architect Enrico Taglietti and Joan Waldren, a member of the longstanding Canberra family business Cusacks, for the Centenary of Canberra project. The first two interviews were recorded for a new social history project, Union Aid Abroad about work done by the overseas humanitarian aid agency Australian People for Health, Education and Development.
  • Eleven interviews were recorded for the Vietnamese Veterans in Australia project, which documents the war experiences of veterans who served with the Vietnamese army, and now live in Australia.
  • The 2014 National Folk Festival Concert performed at the National Library by internationally-renowned guitarist and musicologist Woody Mann was recorded for the collection, along with a studio recording of the Australian radio and television performers since the 1950s, the Provost Brothers, who were featured at the Festival and are perhaps best known for writing the Leyland Brothers’ theme music.