Find more pictures on Trove!


You can access these databases by visiting our eResources portal and searching for each resource under the Browse eResources tab.

The Australian Chronicles : An Index to Sources of Australian Biography Use this to locate biographical information on as wide a range of Australians as possible. This database is only available in the Library building.

AustLit is a very useful resource for finding biographical information on Australian authors. You can also obtain complete lists of works published by an author. Registered users of the National Library can access the full version of this database from home.


Many databases allow you to either search or browse their articles. Try searching for the surname of the person or browse the list of entries under a particular letter.

If you are having trouble using a database, check out their help pages.

Where can you find resources on famous Australians?

There are a number of free websites and subscription databases containing biographical information about well-known Australians. Key resources are:

  • Who's Who in Australia - register of prominent Australians, searchable by name as well as occupation. It includes Who's Who in Business and Who's Who of Australian Women. Visit our eResources portal and search for this database under the Browse eResources tab. The print edition of Who's Who in Australia dates back to 1927.
  • It's an Honour - a searchable register of recipients of an Australian honour.

Most of these resources are accessible freely online or can be accessed by registered users of the National Library from home.

Where can I find resources on Aboriginal Australians?

The Library has a growing collection of resources related to Australian Indigenous people.

  • Bringing Them Home Oral History Project - is a collection of 340 interviews recorded with indigenous and non-indigenous Australians on the Stolen Generations.
  • Eddie Mabo papers - an example of the personal papers of indigenous leaders contained in the Manuscripts collection.
  • Aboriginal Tent Embassy ephemera - an example of ephemera material (pamphlets, posters, stickers etc) collected by the Library.
  • Albert Namatjira - an example of the resources in our print collection about the artist Albert Namatjira.
  • Mura Gadi - an online guide to the manuscripts, pictures and oral history material on Indigenous Australians in the collection. This is an archived guide, and is not maintained.

The Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander Studies (AIATSIS) contains significant resources relating to Indigenous Australians.

Case Study

Searching for information on an Australian poet

I am writing a biography on the Australian poet Edward Harrington. What information is available on him?

We can start by searching likely databases for entries on Harrington e.g. Australian Dictionary of Biography and AustLit. For AustLit, Visit our eResources portal and search for the database under the Browse eResources tab.

It is always useful to search the Catalogue to see if the Library has any items relating to Harrington. A Catalogue search for "Edward Harrington" shows that we hold a portrait of him, a biographical cuttings file and an oral history recording by him.

It is a good idea to check his published works to see if any biographical information is included in his writings.

We can then search the Trove newspaper database to find articles that mention Harrington.

If Harrington was involved in any organisations, such as a poet's society, searching for the organisation may provide some useful background on his life and activities.


Portrait of Dick Smith taken during an oral history interview

De Berg, Hazel, 1913-1984 Portrait of Dick Smith taken during an oral history interview, 8 April 1983
1983 1 negative : b&w ; 35 mm nla.obj-146145221

The Library's Oral History collection contains interviews with a broad range of Australians from the distinguished to people who have lived through significant social events and conditions.

You can search for these recordings in the Catalogue. Narrow your search to 'Audio' to find oral history material.


The Library's Manuscripts collection documents the lives and activities of people and organisations. The collection contains letters, diaries, book drafts, drawings, logbooks, and maps.

You can search for these papers in the Catalogue. Narrow your search to 'Manuscript' to find material.

Not sure where to start?