The reputation of Australia as a great sporting nation has long been established. Sport holds a significant place in the Australian way of life and its complex portrayal is both subject to change and strongly linked to contemporary perceptions of national identity. Although not all Australians share a passion for sport, its cultural impact is an essential consideration in any comprehensive analysis of Australian culture.
This guide will help you find resources and information on the history and role of sport in Australian society, and its unique place in the Australian cultural landscape.
You will also find answers on frequently asked questions, including how to find scores and results of sporting events, and how to trace the sporting history of a family member or sporting figure.
The National Library of Australia provides access to a wide range of material relating to sport in Australia.
- Printed material - general works, histories, biographies, newsletters and journals
- Manuscripts – papers and records of sporting figures and organisations
- Pictures – photographs, artwork, and posters
- Oral histories – interviews, including the Sport oral history project and the Australian Centre for Paralympic Studies oral history project
- Ephemera – programs, brochures, and related materials relating to sports, major sporting events, and organisations.
- Music – sheet music of theme tunes to sporting TV programs
- Newspapers – in print and online
- Online resources – our eResources provides access to millions of online journal articles and ebooks.
Major unique collections include:
The Sport oral history project, a collection of 94 interviews conducted by the Library and the Australian Sports Commission,
The Australian Centre for Paralympic Studies oral history project, conducted jointly by the Library and the Australian Paralympic Committee.
Using the catalogue
Use the catalogue standard search to find titles, authors, or subjects.
- If you get too many results, use the Limit your search options (at the right of the results page) to display only the items of interest. e.g. audio (oral histories) or manuscripts
- If you need to widen your search, click on subject headings in an item’s catalogue record to find other material related to that subject.
Examples of subject searches you can try include:
Sports – Australia – history
Sports – Australia- history – 20th century
Sports – social aspects – Australia
Sports records – Australia
Athletes – Australia - biography
In addition to searching on subject headings, you can use different search terms alone or combined to identify a wide variety or location-specific items.
Newspapers & magazines
Sporting news has been reported in newspapers since colonial times. The Library holds a large collection of newspapers and magazines, including titles dedicated to sport. You can find these by searching our catalogue.
Early historical Australian newspapers between 1803 and 1955 are freely available online through the Trove database.
Some current newspapers and magazines post 1990 are available online. You can explore many online newspapers in our eResources. Major newspaper databases which the Library subscribe to include:
You will need a National Library login to access these licenced eResources from home.