Australian and Overseas Publications

In 2015–16, notable acquisitions of Australian and Overseas Publications included:

  • the earliest known and only surviving second edition copy of Cole’s Funny Picture Book, printed in 1882. There are no known copies of the 1879 first edition in existence. E.W. Cole was an early Australian bookseller, who built his bookshop in Bourke Street, Melbourne. The first Cole’s Funny Picture Book was issued with great fanfare on 24 December 1879 as the ‘cheapest child’s picture book ever published’, selling for one shilling;
  • a previously unrecorded copy of Thirteen Poems, the first published compilation of Patrick White’s poetry, privately published in Sydney by his mother in 1930 for family and friends. The poems were sent by young ‘Paddy’ to his mother from boarding school in Cheltenham, England, and date from Christmas 1927 to 7 August 1929. The Library’s copy is inscribed ‘To Betty with apologies from Paddy’, and has two additional typescript poems inserted;
  • an English printed calendar from the Northumberland Assizes dating from 1788, which records the crimes of three women—Eleanor Scott, Elizabeth Thompson and Mary Davison. All three were transported to Australia in 1790 aboard the Lady Juliana, the first convict vessel to arrive after the First Fleet. The document has manuscript additions and also records the details of two male convicts facing transportation. It is the oldest known calendar held by an Australian institution;
  • 2 important pieces of early nautical Australiana: Magnetism of Ships (1812) by Matthew Flinders, a two-page letter printed by the Admiralty, probably as an internal ‘memo’ to Royal Navy officers, which records Captain Flinders’ observations and recommendations made on ‘the course of my voyage in H.M. Sloop Investigator, for completing the discovery of New Holland and New South Wales’; and The Marco Polo Record, issues one to eleven (Wednesday 23 February–Thursday 12 May 1859), a shipboard newspaper recording the voyage from England to Australia;
  • 16 million records (2 terabytes of data) from more than 870 government web domains, harvested in October 2015 for the Australian Government Web Archive. In addition to this general collection of government websites, ministerial websites were collected to document the change of prime minister in September 2015 and subsequent ministerial changes;
  • perpetual access to the digitised version of The Japan Chronicle. The title ran from 1902 to 1940 and is regarded as the newspaper of record for Japan’s engagement with modernity and its emergence onto the world stage in the first half of the twentieth century, through war, political and social upheaval, and social change in East Asia;
  • a collection of over 300 miniature books, received as a donation from an ex-librarian from Flinders University Library, who was an avid collector of miniature books for many years. The collection includes a wide range of items in many different styles, both historic and contemporary, including some children’s books. It significantly enhances the Library’s collection of miniature books;
  • 6 coloured woodblock prints showing the Sino-Japanese war in 1894–1895, with scenes of Chinese and Japanese troops engaged in battle at Yashan, Korea. The prints are the only known coloured versions in existence and were acquired from visitors to the Celestial Empire: Life in China, 1644–1911 exhibition.


In 2015–16, notable map acquisitions included:

  • a large untitled manuscript navigation chart of Australia and the Pacific, c. 1854, marked with voyage tracks and observations, for a commercial voyage from China to Melbourne that included 40 Chinese steerage passengers headed for the Victorian gold diggings;
  • Military Operations against the Aboriginal Inhabitants of Van Diemen’s Land: Field Plan No. 9, a rare surviving attachment to the report of the ‘Black Line’ military operations in Southern Tasmania ordered by Governor Arthur in 1830;
  • Mapa de America, a 1772 seminal map of the Pacific islands, and North and South America, by Spanish map-maker Tomas López de Vargas Machuca. The map is notable for its non-British perspective of Cook’s significance, asserting the charting of Hawaiian islands by Spanish expeditions 200 years before Cook is credited with their first survey;
  • New Map of Asia, 1831, by John Cary of London, an enlarged and highly detailed map exhibiting Asia’s natural and political divisions, dissected and mounted on linen, trimmed with green silk and containing green marbled paper panels;
  • Sedimentary City, a four-metre printed scroll mapping the built environment and natural landscape of Canberra, designed by Brit Andresen and Mara Francis in 2012 to look back at the history of Canberra as well as imagining its future.


Pictures strengthened its collections by acquiring lifetime visual archives of influential Australians, notably:

  • documentary photographer Jeff Carter (1928–2010), capturing Australian social life and customs in 70,000+ black and white 35 mm negatives, 5,600 ‘curated’ colour 35 mm slides, 14,930 digital files, and 170 subject folders and travel notebooks;
  • designer Kenneth Rowell (1920–1999), including theatrical designs, from sketches to final costume and set designs for Australian and European productions of opera and ballet from the 1940s to the 1990s;
  • aviation collector Professor David Daws, containing over 11,750 35 mm slides on Australian aviation.

Other notable collections included:

  • 204 political cartoons by Alan Moir for The Sydney Morning Herald, 2000–2014, referencing political events, people and topics such as mining, carbon taxes, asylum seekers, federal budgets and prime ministers Kevin Rudd, Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott;
  • 3 portraits of geologist and Antarctic explorer Sir Tannatt William Edgeworth David, who led the first expedition to reach the South Magnetic Pole and discovered the major Hunter Valley coalfield in New South Wales.


In 2015–16, notable acquisitions of manuscript material included:

  • 57 journals created by eminent Australian artist John Olsen AO, OBE, in the period 1966–2012, richly illustrated and recording Olsen’s observations and experiences;
  • papers of a number of significant Australians associated with theatre and the performing arts, including theatre and opera director Neil Armfield; and theatre and opera designer, and children’s book illustrator, Desmond Digby (1933–2015);
  • important collections of literary papers, including a substantial addition to the papers of author Tim Winton covering the period 1981–2013; and an archive from the estate of Catherine Eliza (Katie) Somerville Stow (1856–1940), who wrote as K. Langloh Parker, compiled with other research papers by Marcie Muir, who wrote a biography of Langloh Parker;
  • a collection of letters written to his family by the Rev. Alexander Rowan Macneil, from Changi prison camp. Macneil was a decorated Gallipoli veteran who embraced pacifism upon his return to Australia and joined the Presbyterian ministry. He enlisted as a chaplain on the outbreak of the Second World War and served in Malaya;
  • personal papers of notable Australians, including the former senator and leader of the Australian Greens, Christine Milne; journalist, broadcaster and writer Anne Deveson; public servant and diplomat Peter Henderson; socialist activist John Percy; and organisational records of Sander & Sons, a family business founded in Bendigo in the nineteenth century that achieved national and international success in the production and sale of eucalyptus extract and other medicinal products;
  • substantial additions to existing collections from Ainsley Gotto and Bryan Keon-Cohen AM, QC.

Oral History and Folklore

Oral History and Folklore acquisitions in 2015–16 included:

  • interviews with notable Australians, including philanthropists Annie Fogarty AM, Stan Perron AM and John Kaldor AM; neuropathologist Byron Kakulas AO; performer Rhonda Burchmore OAM; artist George Davis; anthropologist Howard Morphy; author Di Morrissey; astronomer Ken Freeman; dancer, choreographer, musical theatre director and producer David Atkins OAM; geomorphologist Jim Bowler AM; physicist Brian J. O’Brien; and rural advocate Mary Salce AO;
  • collaborations with partners:
    • Museum of Australian Democracy for the Old Parliament House Political and Parliamentary Oral History Project, including interviews with Peter Reith, Dick Adams, Ralph Willis AO, Peter Nixon AO and Wilson Tuckey, the 100th interview in this project;
    • Geoscience Australia with 40 interviews conducted to date, including with Public Service Medal recipient Ruth Dodd, geologist Marita Bradshaw and academic Chris von der Borch;
  • social history interviews, including for the Australian Muslim Women oral history project with social worker Maha Abdo OAM and community activist Diana Abdel-Rahman; with one of the first Tibetan migrants to Australia, Sherap Dorjee; and with John ‘Bullfrog’ Smith, founder of the international God’s Squad Motorcycle Club;
  • folklore recordings focusing on Indigenous performers, including interviews with singers Col Hardy OAM and Stephen Pigram from Broome.