Henry Lawson's fobwatch

Henry Lawson's watch

Henry Lawson (1867–1922) was one of Australia’s most influential poets and short story writers of the late nineteenth century. Angus and Robertson published a number of collections of his works, including While the Billy Boils (1896) and In the Days When the World Was Wide and Other Verses (1896). Lawson purchased this watch in 1896 as a memento, using a payment from Angus and Robertson for the publication of his first book.

1967 referendum

Referendum flyer 1967-Right wrongs write YES for Aborigines

Federal Council for the Advancement of Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders, Right wrongs write YES for Aborigines! On May 27, c. 1967, flyer. On 27 May 1967, a federal referendum was held to consider two questions, the second of which related to the proposed repeal of two references in the constitution that denied Indigenous Australians full citizenship rights. Bolstered by a strong ‘yes’ campaign, driven in part by printed flyers such as this, the motion was passed by 90.77%.

Tommy McRae's unique vision

drawing of people with weapons

Tommy McRae (c. 1835–1901), Fourteen men holding spears, shields, boomerangs and axes in Sketchbook of Aboriginal daily life scenes, Wahgunyah Region, Victoria, 1881, ink. Indigenous stockman Yackaduna, or Tommy McRae’s, drawings depict his traditional world and that of European settlers. In this dynamic sketch of a confrontation, a leader is dressed in a possum skin cloak.

John Olsen’s journals

John Olsen (b. 1928), Journals, 1960s – 2015, mixed media. One of the leading artists of his generation, Olsen is a fastidious journal keeper. His sketches, musings, photographs and memories are perceptive and often very humorous. Generously donated to the Library in 2015, the journals will be on display in the Treasures Gallery from May 2016.

Miniature books

Miniature books collection

The Library’s collection of miniature books has been enhanced by retired librarian Gerrit Stafford’s donation of around 300 titles. A selection of these demonstrates the history and diversity of ‘minis’, ranging from an 18th–century almanacs, works in foreign languages, children’s books and those with bespoke cases. A miniature set of Beatrix Potter children’s tales and a 1901 Holy Bible chained to a tiny wooden lectern are among the highlights.

Cook’s Endeavour Journal

Endeavour journal

James Cook (1728–1779), Endeavour Journal,  1768–1771 (detail), ink on paper. Cook’s handwritten journal, known as Manuscript No. 1, is a foundation treasure of the Library. It records each day of the Endeavour voyage (1768—1771), noting those things Cook considered ‘remarkable occurrences’.

Female novelists

Portrait of Henry Handel Richardson

2017 marks a century since the publication of The Fortunes of Richard Mahony: Australia Felix by Henry Handel Richardson (1870–1946), also known as Ethel Florence Lindesay Richardson. A first edition of the book published in 1917 by Heinemann, London, is on display in the gallery, alongside this portrait of the author by Rupert Bunny. In 1930 the book was combined with The Way Home (1925) and Ultima Thule (1929) to form the acclaimed Australian trilogy The Fortunes of Richard Mahony.

Bligh's notebook

William Bligh's notebook

This notebook documents the extraordinary journey undertaken by William Bligh and his crew after the Mutiny on the Bounty. During the voyage a deep antagonism grew between Bligh and first mate Fletcher Christian which eventually came to a head on 29 April 1789 when the commander and 18 loyal crew members were forced into the ship’s seven metre launch. Bligh and his crew travelled 6,000 kilometres over 47 days across the open ocean to Timor.

Patrick White's Thirteen Poems

Patrick White (1912 –1990), Thirteen poems, 1929–1930.  Australia’s first Nobel Prize winner for literature wrote this small collection of poems as a school boy. Privately published by his mother as Thirteen poems White notoriously hated the publication. Copies are very rare and the Library holds the only known signed copy.