Some of the highlights of the Library’s range of publications acquired during the year were:

  • a first edition of Comme on Dine Partout by Jacques Arago. The work, based on his circumnavigation with Freycinet, takes an ethnographic culinary voyage around the world, with chapters on the Sandwich Islands, New South Wales, China, Brazil, Patagonia and South Africa
  • a collection of Australian children’s books, comprising over 3,000 items published in Australia, written by Australian authors or about Australia, which were collected by Dr Kerry White and supported her work in compiling an extensive bibliography of Australian children’s books and as a book reviewer
  • 26 colour-illustrated Chinese propaganda posters (published c. 1950–1970s), reflecting the history of the Chinese Cultural Revolution
  • three modules of the Nineteenth Century Collections Online database, purchased for perpetual access, which comprise: British Politics and Society; Asia and the West: Diplomacy and Cultural Exchange; and British Theatre, Music and Literature: High and Popular Culture.


Outstanding acquisitions for the Pictures Collection included:

  • the Fairfax Archive Glass Plate Collection of 18,000 negatives from 1900 through to the 1930s. The photographs document the cultural, social and physical landscape during a period of significant change and growth in Australia
  • a sketchbook with 14 pen and ink drawings by the nineteenth-century Aboriginal artist Tommy McRae (c. 1830–1901), a Kwatkwat man from the Corowa/Yackandandah region of New South Wales and Victoria
  • a portrait of Sir George Reid (c. 1916) by Sir John Longstaff. The portrait complements the Library’s substantial holdings of Sir George Reid’s personal papers.


Noteworthy acquisitions included :

  • the personal archive of Sir Sidney Nolan
  • the papers of:
    • expatriate poet the late Peter Porter OAM
    • federationist and High Court judge Sir Richard O’Connor
    • former Greens leader Dr Bob Brown
    • publisher Ms Hilary McPhee AO
    • author and academic the late Professor Bruce Bennett AO
    • Dr A. Barrie Pittock, formerly head of the CSIRO Climate Impacts Group.


The following rare, historic acquisitions enhanced the Library’s Maps Collection:

  • three very early pocket globes, manufactured by the English globe-makers John Senex, Nathaniel Hill and Nicholas Lane. The earliest, by Senex (c. 1730) and Hill (1754), show Australia drawn according to the Dutch discoveries, while A New Globe of the Earth by N. Lane (1776) is the earliest such globe to show the track of Cook’s first voyage, with Australian and New Zealand discoveries
  • an exceedingly rare chart on vellum by Dutch East India Company cartographer Isaak de Graaf (1666–1743). The chart includes details of the Australian discoveries by the Dutch and shows routes between the Cape of Good Hope and the Sunda Strait
  • Joan Blaeu’s 1659 Archipelagus Orientalis, sive Asiaticus wall map, the first large-scale map of New Holland, on which all subsequent mapping was based, and considered to be the best map of Dutch sea power in the 1600s. The map is surrounded by explanatory text panels which include important references to Australia. The map is mounted on its original hanging fixture and is one of only four complete copies known to exist.


Many notable Australians were interviewed for the Oral History and Folklore Collection, including businesswoman and philanthropist Mrs Janet Holmes à Court AC, former Australian ambassadors to China Dr Stephen FitzGerald AO and Professor Ross Garnaut AO, former politicians Ms Natasha Stott Despoja AM and the late Mr Gordon Bilney, entrepreneur Mr Bob Ansett, philanthropist and engineer Mr John Grill, writer Mr Rodney Hall OAM and film producer Ms Margaret Fink.

Among a variety of social history projects, the Library recorded 33 interviews with people affected by paralytic polio, and with 12 Dutch veterans now living in Australia who served with the Royal Netherlands Army in the Netherlands East Indies.

The Oral History and Folklore Collection continues to benefit from a number of external partnerships. One such partnership, the Resilient Communities project, supported by a grant from the United States Department of State, documents resilient responses in the Australian community to the impact of overseas terrorist attacks from 2001.

The Library also acquired, from Mr Tim Bowden AM, 65 interviews recorded between 1985 and 1988 by the late Professor Hank Nelson AM with former teachers and pupils of one-teacher bush schools across rural Australia.