Red, blue and white pencil illustration depicting science equipment and some books
The Australian almanac for 1940 containing a vast amount of useful information for everybody [detail], nla.obj-2932209020

National Library puts more than 150 almanacs on Trove

100 years ago, almanacs were kept in every home – the equivalent of the internet today.

Thanks to a generous donation, the National Library of Australia has digitised all the almanacs in the collection and made them freely available online from anywhere in the world through Trove.

Almanacs contained all sorts of information, from weather forecasts, important days and dates, transport guides, advertisements, poetry and fiction, first aid and medical information to stories of disasters and other tabloid fodder.

The earliest almanac digitised is the 1833 Van Diemen's Land annual and Hobart-Town almanacks and the latest is the Lutheran Yearbook from 1970. Other titles made available include Australian and State specific almanacs such as the Australian Almanac, Pugh’s Almanac, Calvert’s illustrated almanac for Victoria, Western Australian Almanac and the Adelaide Almanack through to regional and town almanacs like the Hunter River Almanac.

Jane Hemstritch, a Principal Patron and former Deputy Chair of the National Library, whose philanthropic donation funded this project, said: ‘As a family history enthusiast I am always interested in the world in which my ancestors lived. Almanacs give us a window into that world. They are, in a way, the internet of their time, full of useful information. You can find out things as diverse as how to cultivate oranges, parcel rates on railways, details of the Royal family and the time allowed ships at public wharfs. Fascinating in their own right but also a reflection of the concerns and interests of people living in Australia at that time.’

Dr. Marie-Louise Ayres FAHA, Director-General of the National Library of Australia, said: ‘Making the almanacs available to researchers and students online will unlock the potential for new insights into our past to be uncovered. From long term weather forecasts to landcare information, statistical data and potentially long-forgotten basic information is contained in the almanacs. I hope that some of the insights researchers find in these documents can be used to inform how we care for our country in the future.’

Almanacs came in many different formats, from fat little books that were carried in a coat pocket to large sheets that could be pinned to walls – they were also published as pamphlets and broadsheets. They are now available online in the magazines and newsletters category on Trove. Over 214,000 pages have been added to Trove.

Images

Images are available for media use and can be downloaded via Dropbox.

Contact

Georgia McDonald, Media Liaison, National Library of Australia

M: 0401 226 697

E: media@nla.gov.au