National Library releases out-of-copyright works

Every year, on 1 January, creative works come out of copyright and into the public domain.

“Public domain means works are no longer in copyright. That means anyone can use them freely, without needing copyright permission from the original maker. They may be copied, published, adapted, or incorporated into new works, which is exciting”, said Jessica Coates, Senior Adviser, Rights Management.


New National Library collection items in the public domain this year include unpublished works by authors who died in 1952, orphan works (i.e. works with no known author) created in 1952, and government publications created in 1972.

Items coming into the public domain on 1 January 2023 include:

Portrait of journalist Keith Murdoch in uniform
Portrait of Sir Keith Murdoch in uniform during the Gallipoli period, nla.obj-231555508
  • The personal papers of William (Billy) Hughes (1865 – 1952), 7th Prime Minister of Australia, including correspondence relating to Hughes’ attendance at the Paris Peace Conference held from January to July 1919. The Hughes Papers form one of the largest collections of personal papers held in the Library.
Billy Hughes standing next to a car
Portrait of Billy Hughes standing, leaning against Austin Six, nla.obj-229722940
Holeproof Hosiery advertising stockings for glamourous occasions
Holeproof Pty Ltd, Holeproof hosiery advertising posters, 1952, nla.obj-2838001478   
  • Nine booklets from memorial services to commemorate the passing of the late King George VI. Held throughout Australia in February 1952, the locations for the memorial services included Canberra, Hobart, Newcastle, Naracoorte, and Adelaide.

More information about copyright in library collections is available. This includes advice on what to do if additional permissions are required before using items from the Library’s collections.