To promote the Library as a centre of scholarly activity and research, the Harold White fellowship scheme offered annual fellowships to established researchers and writers.

Established by the Council of the National Library of Australia in 1983 as the National Library Fellowships, the first Fellows commenced their research at the Library in 1984. The fellowships were renamed in honour of Sir Harold White CBE (1905-1992), the first National Librarian, in 1985.

The fellowship encouraged the use of the Library and the production of publications from that scholarship, whilst promoting the Library's rich and varied collections.

Four to seven fellowships, of periods from three to six months, were awarded annually. A number of presentations are available for download below.


How the West was Won

9 Sep 2013

The story of how prospectors such as Lang Hancock and Stan Hilditch interacted with foreign and Australian-owned mining companies and state and federal governments forms one facet of the mineral boom that was to transform Australia's economy and society after 1960. Dr David Lee is Director of Historical Publications and Information at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

This fellowship is supported by the Minerals Council of Australia

Download (33.4 MB)

Wartime Diaries of a Truant Surgeon

18 Oct 2013

Dr Kent Fedorowich is Reader in British Imperial and Commonwealth History at the University of the West of England, Bristol. Held in association with the Australian Prime Ministers Centre, Museum of Australian Democracy.

Download (40.7 MB)

Letters to Lindy

Playwright Alana Valentine discusses her theatre work inspired by letters to Lindy Chamberlain held in the National Library's manuscripts collection.

Download (33.4 MB)

Stealing Boyhood

10 Jul 2013

Dr Christine Cheater will discuss the experiences of Indigenous boys who were institutionalised during the 1930s & 1940s as a result of enforced separation from their families.

Download (32.6 MB)

The Real Arthur Calwell and Australia's Immigration Policy

22 May 2013

Dr Gwenda Tavan examines the long-term effect of Arthur Calwell as Australia's first immigration minister.

Download (31.2 MB)

The Globalisation of the Mingei Aesthetic

15 May 2013

Japan Fellow, Dr Chiaki Ajioka, examines the impact of the Japanese Mingei (folk craft) ideal on Western craft movements in the USA and Australia during the twentieth century.

Download (23.9 MB)

The Australian who Invented the Commonwealth

8 May 2013

Professor James Cotton discusses the remarkable career of the Australian H. Duncan Hall, from his pioneering work through the League of Nations to the transformation of the British Empire into the Commonwealth.

Download (31.3 MB)

Transnational Connections

17 Apr 2013

Professor Neville Kirk discusses Tom Mann and Robert Ross, activists, educators and journalists. Neville Kirk is an Emeritus Professor of History at Manchester Metropolitan University in the United Kingdom.

Download (43.3 MB)


Nancy Keesing and the Naked Book

30 Nov 2012

Dr Lyn Gallacher explores one of the delights of Keesing’s archive: her exchange of letters between 1966 and 1974 with writer David Martin.The correspondence shows Keesing’s version of ‘national identity’ expanding during a critical period in the growth of Australian cultural awareness.

Download (32.9 MB)

Editors Emergent: How Clem Christesen and Stephen Murray-Smith Found Their Vocation.

24 Oct 2012

Professor Jim Davidson discusses Melbourne’s little magazine culture from 1940 to 1988. Please note this recording is missing introductory content.

Download (33.4 MB)

Melodrama in Meiji Japan: The NLA Clough collection of woodblock printed frontispieces (kuchi-e)

19 Oct 2012

Dr Gary Hickey, the current Japan Fellow. is a curator and scholar of Japanese art. He is a research fellow at the University of Melbourne and the University of Queensland and is on the directorial board of the Tokyo-based International Ukiyo-e Society.

Download (36.5 MB)

Memories of War: The Stories of Vietnamese Veterans in Australia

25 Sep 2012

Associate Professor Nathalie Nguyen will discuss her work on migration and memory, and the oral histories of Vietnamese veterans in Australia.

Download (37.8 MB)

Policing and the Power of Thai Amulets

27 Aug 2012

Craig Reynolds is a Southeast Asian historian with a research interest in modern Thai cultural and intellectual history.

Download (42.8 MB)

Burma-Watching: A Retrospective

26 Jun 2012

Dr Andrew Selth surveys a wide range of sources to see how perceptions of Burma have changed over time. He has been watching this fascinating country for 40 years, as a diplomat, strategic intelligence analyst and research scholar.

Download (26.7 MB) 

Notes towards an Autobiography: Patrick White, Writing, Politics and the Fijian-Indian-Australian Experience

20 Jun 2012

Professor Satendra Nandan discusses the influence of Patrick White on his life, his writing and on his political and spiritual thinking in a postcolonial society.

Download (27.9 MB)

Coal Seam Gas—‘Frack’ or ‘Frack-off’?

23 May 2012

Harold White Fellow Dr Luke Keogh explores the quiet history of coal seam gas and examines new oral history interviews from the Library’s collection that shed light on local community views of the industry.

Download (50.5 MB)

Mining for Meaning

9 May 2012

Tim Sherratt reveals how we can use new digital technologies to explore the content of Australian newspapers.

Download (47.4 MB)

Tidelines: The influence of the Hawkesbury River on the poetry of Robert Adamson

4 May 2012

Dr. Anthony Lawrence presents Tidelines: The influence of the Hawkesbury River on the poetry of Robert Adamson.

Download (41.3 MB)


Melanesia: The History and Politics of an Idea

16 Nov 2011

Stephanie Lawson is Professor of Politics and International Relations at Macquarie University. Her research focuses on postcolonial approaches to history and politics in the Pacific Islands, with a particular focus on the tensions between anthropological and humanist approaches.

Download (35.9 MB)

Treasures Gallery Family Day

19 Oct 2011

Curator talks by Susannah Helman, Robyn Holmes and Matthew Jones held during the Treasures Gallery family day on Monday 10 October 2011 at the National Library of Australia.

Download (7.52 MB)

'Exposing the Australians in focus' Australiana Photo-books of the late 1960s

16 Nov 2011

Stephanie Lawson is Professor of Politics and International Relations at Macquarie University. Her research focuses on postcolonial approaches to history and politics in the Pacific Islands, with a particular focus on the tensions between anthropological and humanist approaches.

Download (48.5 MB)


15 Jun 2011

After they gained the right to vote in 1902, a group of Australian women involved in the Australian suffrage campaign visited Britain and became committed to the cause of their British sisters. Presented by Dr Béatrice Bjon

Download (41.8 MB)

The Actor's Mirror

5 May 2011

Amy Reigle Newland's talk focuses on three Kabuki stars from the Meiji period (1868–1912)—Ichikawa Danjūrō IX, Onoe Kikugorō V and Ichikawa Sadanji I—and their portrayal by the premier artist of actor imagery at the time, Toyohara Kunichika.

Download (34.30 MB)

Soldiers of Tin

11 Feb 2011

Dr Amrita Malhi's presentation discusses questions in relation to the tin mines established by the Billiton Company in its place of origin on Belitung Island, off Sumatra in the Netherlands East Indies.

Download (37.46 MB)

Balancing between Empires

10 Dec 2010

Dr Priscilla Roberts explores how prominent Australians, such as Sir Frederic Eggleston, viewed the AIIA and sought to balance and negotiate conflicting interests.

Download (48.70 MB)

'Gold and Wool Are So Yesterday'

10 Dec 2010

Dr Donna Weeks examines the ways in which ‘natural resources’ have underpinned the relationship between Japan and Australia for more than a century and Australia’s current and future relations in the Asia-Pacific region.

Download (48.70 MB)


Writings on the Endeavour Journal

18 May 2009

Susan Hall and Martin Terry from the National Library discuss Lieutenant James Cook's Endeavour Journal at the 'Writing Captain Cook' symposium held at the National Museum of Australia. View the digitised journal.

Download (7.1 MB)