Madeline: Did you know the National Library of Australia holds over 10.5 million items in its collection? The Library holds a range of culturally and historically significant items from throughout Australian history. But culturally and historically significant isn't just confined to the leather-bound books and parchment documents of centuries ago. If you once had a MySpace profile, rented a movie from Video Ezy or collected Tazos, then this might just be the video for you.

Hi my name is Madeline and I'm an educator here at the National Library of Australia. With me today is my colleague Allister who is a curator here in our exhibitions team. Before we begin I would like to acknowledge Australia's First Nations People, the First Australians, as the traditional owners and custodians of the land and give respect to their Elders past and present and through them to all Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

When we think of the noteworthy items held by a large Library we might think of objects like the Sydney theater playbill of 1796, the earlier surviving example of a document printed in the colony of New South Wales. Researchers continue to study the playbill to gather important information about early colonial society and culture or the printing materials and techniques of its time. The playbill, once a cheap simple advertising leaflet, has since over time become something that the people of 1796 may have never foreseen a national treasure that plays an important role in understanding that time and place in Australia's history.

So what then of the items from the 1990s and 2000s? For some of us it may seem too soon to be discussing the historical or cultural value of the everyday objects from our childhood. Maybe they seem a bit too daggy by today's standards. But the role of the National Library of Australia is to collect a snapshot of Australia's cultural landscape and reflect Australian society at any given time. The Library collects today what is important tomorrow.

Allister: This collecting encompasses everything from commercial and self-published books, newspapers, government publications, academic journals, all the way to sheet music and even Dolly and TV Hits magazine. In time these items held and preserved by the Library become a treasure trove of information through which we can understand and reflect on Australia's social, political and cultural landscape at the dawn of the new millennium.

Madeline: The objects you see here are just some of the ones that stood out to us while we were researching the collections, bringing back memories of our childhood and experiences through those years. We recognize that everyone's experiences are different but through the Library's collecting work there is likely to be an item, story or collection that may evoke a sense of nostalgia for you too.

So Alistair what stands out for you when you look at this collection? There's so much to see, there's so much to explore.

Allister: I remember um very clearly the Soundwave concerts. They happened just down the road from my high school at the Flemington Racecourse.

Madeline: Really?

Allister: Yeah and whenever Soundwave was on half of school was away.

Madeline: It would be amazing to think about what the people in the next hundred years or so would think when they see this Soundave poster. While simply designed as an advertisement for the live music festival, these ephemeral objects are collected for future generations to understand the popular culture of society at the time and there's so much information we can already gather from these types of posters too. From the popular artists, locations, designs and advertising styles. Especially when we consider the fact that these events like Soundwave no longer exist, preserving these objects become even more important than ever. a

Allister: At the time it felt like the only way we could find out the latest information on music and entertainment was through magazines like TV Hits

Madeline: I remember TV Hits so vividly but in particular the one thing I was obsessed with was the posters you could get inside of them. Did you ever have one of those?

Allister: No I'm afraid I didn't but I can imagine your wall was covered with them

Madeline: Mass-produced publications might feel like an ephemeral throwaway, but they contain valuable information that will contribute to our understanding of the trends and culture at any given time, from advertisements of the trendiest items to articles on fashion and beauty, music and movies, we were already noticing a huge shift in the way Australians published, purchased and engaged with magazines.

I remember TV Hits but I have to say the magazine I was obsessed with at the time was Dolly. Dolly was one of the most influential magazines for young women in the 90s and 90s as a great snapshot into what was the trends and issues facing young women of the time. I remember Dolly and Cleo were easily the most popular magazines at my school growing up and in particular it was the two aspects the Dolly model competition and the sealed section that stood out. Do you remember the sealed section?

Allister: I do remember the sealed section. I remember that my sister had Dolly magazines and that I don't think she was allowed to open the sealed section until she was about 15 or 16.

Madeline: Yeah. I remember thinking it was for the more mature reader seeking advice for serious and at times amusing questions surrounding topics of health, family and romantic relationships.

What about when we think about the 90s and 00s though the K-Zone magazine

Allister: Oh K-Zone was a classic. Loved K-Zone.

Madeline: K-Zone magazine was easily one of the coolest magazines you could get as a kid in the 2000s. It claimed to be the number one magazine for kids age 16 to 13 filled with fun including movie news, gaming goss, comics and stacks of puzzles, quizzes, activities and posters. Each issue has a theme too, whether it be a movie or a video game or pranks and jokes.

Reading for me was, and still is for many children and young people across the country today, a significant part of my education and entertainment growing up when I think back to some of my favourite books as a child, I can't go past our beloved Australian authors like Mem Fox's 'Possum Magic' or Andy Griffith's 'Just Kidding'. I was obsessed with 'Just Kidding' as a kid, actually the whole 'Just' series and the illustrations by Terry Denton were probably my favourite aspect. Did you read it?

Allister: Oh yes I remember the little pictures of Terry Dentons in the corner which transformed as you flipped through the pages

Madeline: The illustrations were riddled throughout from the sides, to the top and the back and I remember in particular some of the humour being a little bit crass but thinking that was probably the best part of the book right?

Allister: Absolutely.

Madeline: Allister, when we're talking about the 90s nostalgia, you might know where I'm going with this, but there was a particular recipe book that stands out today. Do you remember having one of those cakes made?

Allister: I remember what I thought was a Women's Weekly Children's Cake Cookbook recipe but I haven't been able to find it uh in the first edition of the cookbook yet.

Madeline: What did it look like?

Allister: It was a Stegosaurus

Madeline: Oh amazing 

Allister: Um the little mint mint leaves started all over it

Madeline: Oh wow

Allister: And that's when I discovered that I didn't actually like mint leaves

Madeline: An important moment in your childhood. Today most of us might use the internet or our phones to do a simple address search but urban maps like the Sidways and Melways were once a crucial item found in any vehicle. Long before the convenience of the internet these maps were the most accurate way to navigate through a city. And they're a perfect time stamp of our urban landscapes as our cities continue to grow and change over time, these maps give us a snapshot into what it was like. There was a real skill in being able to navigate these when you have to flick through the pages and if road names change throughout it, it was really hard, especially under pressure if you had a parent who was driving you had to be on it. Did you use these growing up?

Allister: Uh yeah I was the uh the designated Melway user. My sister never quite got the knack of it so I was left to pick up the slack.

Growing up in the 90s there was definitely an excitement surrounding moving into the New Millennium but I can remember moving into the 21st century and a level of fear surrounding it.

Madeline: What do you specifically remember about this time? Do you remember the fear?

Allister: I do. I remember there was a lot of talk especially in 1999 surrounding the Y2K bug or the millennium bug which was supposed to crash all computer systems when the date rolled over into the early hours of the year 2000.

Madeline: I remember hearing about that and even had a family friend who filled up their bathtub with water in anticipation. It was very real. This document produced by the Queensland Government gives us an insight into how seriously the people and government took the millennium bug or the Y2K bug. It's easy to reflect on these series and fears and laugh, but this document outlines the unknown risks and threats that could have impacted the country and the globe. And that's what the Library is about: capturing and preserving these moments.

Allister: And because the Library is about collecting moments in our history, we've collected a range of things surrounding the centenary of Federation including ephemera and objects. Once the year 2000 was here and gone, 2001 was this significant year for Australia as the centenary of Federation.

Madeline: One thing that comes into my mind, and if you were a primary school age in 2001 maybe you remember this too, was the centenary Federation medallions. As these medallions were given out to primary school-aged children across Australia, this may be a shared memory for people of that particular generation. I remember having one did you?

Allister: Yes absolutely. I got mine I have no idea what happened to it.

Madeline: Me too but I remember thinking it was so valuable. I wanted to keep it forever and I swear I put it away in a box somewhere but it's very ironic that I cannot find it to this day. It's definitely not the prize and expensive coin I thought it might be but it's still very special nonetheless.

One of the coolest parts of the Library's archives might actually be found on the Library's digital collection search known as Trove. By simply heading to, you'll be taken to the home page where you can search for terms or website names under the category of websites. In the 90s the internet was developing at a rapid rate and becoming an integral part of our everyday lives but while the internet was pretty average in its early days we can learn so much about just how we used and developed the Internet over time. A personal favourite that I found on the web archive is the official website from the Sydney 2000 Olympics. Having a website meant that anyone who could access the internet could see exactly what was happening in real time. You could check the metal tally, see what sports were happening or find out more information on athletes.

Allister: On the internet we're not used to the firsts but this website is the official website of former prime minister John Howard. It's significant because it was the first official webpage of any Australian prime minister.

While the idea of being able to access the latest news headlines and articles at any time using 9msn for example, today we get real-time updates on our phones, but in the early 2000s being able to log in and access the news from a computer was revolutionary. Many of these internal links will still work but links that go to external sites or attachments may not.

Madeline: Due to copyright restrictions and time limitations we were only able to show you a glimpse into the vast number of collections we have here at the Library. however there is still so much to explore, and while the objects we have shown today reflect a specific time and experience, we hope this has inspired you to take on your own journey in rediscovering some old memories and sparking that nostalgia. If you would like to learn more about what the Library holds and the collections we have here, you can head to our website using the links below to explore our catalogue and Trove. Thanks for joining us today and thanks for watching

Do you remember making mix-tapes or know what a Tazo is?

While it may seem like yesterday to some, these items are now historical artefacts that help tell the story of Australia's social and cultural landscape at the dawn of the new millennium.

Join Madeline and Allister as they dive into our collection and discover items from the '90s and '00s.

Collections used:

Hughes, George. & King, Philip Gidley[...] George Hughes, Govt. Printer for Theatre, Sydney,

Wallace, Robert James. & Nickelodeon (Television network). & Sydney Entertainment Centre.  (2007).  Guy Sebastian at the Nickelodeon Australian Kids' Choice Awards, Sydney Entertainment Centre, New South Wales, 10 October 2007.

Wallace, Robert James.  (2009).  Delta Goodrem performing in concert at her Believe Again national tour in Australia, 2009.

(1990).  Australian Children's Classics.

Baker, Jeannie.  (1991).  Window.  London :  Julia MacRae

National Nine Network (Australia), designer. & Geography Games Pty. Ltd. & Just Premiums Pty. Ltd.  (2004).  Getaway : an exciting game of travel & trivia.

Soundwave (Music festival).  (2008).  Soundwave 2008 Monday 3 March, Steel Blue Oval (formerly Bassendean Oval).

TV hits.

(1970).  Dolly.

(2000).  K-zone : the magazine for kids.

Fox, Mem. & Vivas, Julie.  (2008).  Possum magic.  Malvern, S. Aust :  Omnibus Books

Griffiths, Andy. & Denton, Terry. & Griffiths, Andy.  (2001).  Just kidding!.  London :  Macmillan Children's

(2001).  Children's birthday cake book.  Sydney :  ACP Publishing

Melway Publishing Pty. Ltd.  (1990).  Urban map of greater Melbourne and all Mornington Peninsula.

Queensland. Department of State Development.  (1999).  Y2k contingency planning workbook.  Brisbane :  State Development

(2000).  [Ephemera relating to the Centenary of Federation Memorabilia Collection] [clothing, coins, banners, flags, coasters, pins and other Centenary of Federation merchandise].