The National Library has an extensive collection of primary source material relating to the history and culture of Australia. These records give first-hand evidence of historical events or experiences. Primary sources in the National Library include:

  • Pictures and Manuscripts
  • Ephemera, including objects
  • Newspapers and Biographical Files
  • Oral Histories
  • Maps

You can find details at our Collections web pages.

In print

The following resources can be found on open access in the Main Reading Room or Petherick Reading Room Reference Collection. Other titles can be requested through the Catalogue.

Historical Records of Australia 1914-1925

Consists of thirty-three volumes of transcripts of significant documents in Australian history, covering the period 1786 to 1848. These volumes constitute one of the principal collections of primary sources in the study of colonial Australian history.
Main Reading Room Reference Collection. Call No. RF 994 HIS
Historical Records of New South Wales 1892-1901
This seven volume set provides comprehensive information concerning the foundation, progress and government of the colony of New South Wales during the period 1762-1811. 
Petherick Reading Room Reference Collection. Call No. RAS 994.4 HIS
Historical Records of Victoria 1981-2002
A collection of surviving documents concerning the foundation and administration of the colony of Victoria for the period 1835-1840.
Petherick Reading Room Reference Collection. Call No. RAS 994.5 HIS
The Journals of Captain James Cook on his Voyages of Discovery 1955-1974
Edited from the original manuscripts by J.C. Beaglehole, the four volumes provide a reliable and authoritative text of Cook's account of his three voyages of discovery in the Endeavour and the Resolution. 
Main Reading Room Reference Collection. Call No. RF 910.4 COO

 You can also search the subject Australia -- History -- Sources