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It’s all in the new-look Treasures Gallery at the National Library of Australia in Canberra.

More than 90 new items have just been installed in the Treasures Gallery which is soon to welcome more than 300,000 visitors from around the world, since it opened in 2011. 

‘The National Library is lucky to hold so many national treasures,’ the James and Bettison Treasures Curator Nat Williams said. ‘They range from Australia’s first Olympic gold medal won by a woman, Fanny Durack in 1912, to Nobel laureate Patrick White’s unpublished manuscripts, previously thought to be destroyed.

‘With these new additions to the gallery, and page-turns on some of our most popular treasures like Cook’s Endeavour Journal and Keith Murdoch’s rousing 25-page Gallipoli Letter, we invite visitors old and new to see first-hand the iconic items that help tell Australia’s  story.’

New treasures now on show, many of which have never been displayed before, include:

  • The Hairy Wild Man from Botany Bay. A unique English pamphlet, printed in 1802 – just 14 years after NSW settlement - showing the hairiest of wild men. The author may well have been inspired by reports of  captured hairy giants and strange wildlife reaching England from the colonies.
  •  An embroidered banner,  created from cotton and silk, featuring palm fronds and a dove symbolising peace, to mark the opening of the first Sunday School in Parramatta in 1815. It is believed to be the earliest surviving decorative needlework produced in Australia. The Sunday School still continues today.
  • Eora man Bennelong’s 1796 letter to his English friends – the first piece of writing by an Aboriginal Australian and his portrait.

Nat Williams is available for interview.

Contact details

Sally Hopman
Media Liaison Manager
02 6262 1704
0401 226 697
shopman@nla.gov.au