A gateway to collections of digitised documentary materials relating to the history, culture and people of the Pacific region.

This region includes Micronesia, Melanesia, Polynesia and New Zealand.

Featured collections have been formed within the Pacific and in significant education and cultural heritage institutions internationally. All collections are freely accessible via the Internet. Materials include digitised photographs, line drawings, diaries, log books, maps, nautical charts, rare books, newspapers, theses and audio recordings.

Many collections featured reflect a European experience of the Pacific: its discovery, colonisation, governance, study and wartime significance. Other collections reflect the experience of indigenous inhabitants. It is hoped that more indigenous collections can be added to this site in the future.

This gateway therefore aims to provide researchers with easy access to a variety of online primary resources existing within and beyond the National Library of Australia's collections. Such resources help to build a picture of the significant events and catalysts for change which have occurred in the Pacific region in recent centuries, as well as the Pacific’s myriad of traditional and enduring cultures.

Australian collections

National Library of Australia

The National Library of Australia's digital collections contain pictures, rare historical maps, sheet music, manuscripts belonging to famous Australians, selected printed works and audio recordings. The collection includes a number of significant Pacific materials, including Captain Cook's Endeavour Journal and early Pacific maps.

Picture Australia

Picture Australia is an Internet based federated search service that allows searching of digitised pictorial collections from a variety of Australian cultural institutions. It contains many images related to Australia's Pacific mining interests, wartime involvement, governance, and strategic and diplomatic alliances during the 20th century. Other images depict Pacific life and scenery. Hosted by the National Library of Australia.

South Seas Project

The South Seas Project documents the history of European voyaging and cross-cultural encounters in the Pacific between 1760 and 1800. It features full texts of James Cook's Endeavour Journal, as well as journals kept by Joseph Banks and Sydney Parkinson. It also features digitised engravings and related images. Hosted by the National Library of Australia.

Australian National University

ANU's Asia-Pacific digital collections includes a small selection of digitised texts from the ANU Library's Rare Book Collection, notably the 1831 Notice Respecting the Natives of New Guinea.


The Pacific Manuscripts Bureau (Pambu) is based in the Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies at ANU. It aims to copy and preserve documentary heritage materials from the Pacific Islands, such as archives, manuscripts and rare printed materials. Some materials are freely available online, notably the Digitised Photograph Collection which features early 20th century photographs from Tonga, Samoa and PNG.

University of Adelaide

The University of Adelaide has a nationally significant Pacific collection. The Library's digital collection includes a small collection of digitised Pacific materials, notably The Australian Colonies: together with notes of a voyage from Australia to Panama – 1854 voyage notes and descriptions of Tahiti and the Pacific islands.

State Library of Queensland

  • Manuscripts Queensland provides online finding aids to the SLQ’s original material collections. Some digital images and transcriptions of items from collections are available with their descriptive finding aid. It contains some digitised Pacific material, notably the Newton Barton Diary 1894-1895 - a shipboard diary kept by able seaman Newton Barton on a South Sea voyage to recruit Islanders to work on the Queensland canefields.
  • Virtual Exhibitions includes Across the Coral Sea, a photographic exhibition based on historical images from the John Oxley Library portraying the arrival, lives and working conditions of Australian South Sea Islanders in 19th century Queensland.

National Archives of Australia

The National Archives of Australia manages documents relating to the activities of prominent Australians, the judiciary and the Australian Government since federation. Its collection includes paper files, photographs, audiovisual and sound recordings, maps and other objects. Digitised materials such as those relating to Australia's wartime involvement in the Pacific and its governance of Papua New Guinea can be accessed online through its 'PhotoSearch' or 'RecordSearch' services.

Australian War Memorial

The Australian War Memorial collections include digitised materials documenting Australia's wartime involvement in the Pacific. The Official histories: Second World War gives a retrospective narrative account of events. The Australian Army war diaries: Second World War gives first hand reports and intelligence reviews of the conflict, including accounts of activities in New Guinea and the active role played by indigenous inhabitants.


The Pacific And Regional Archive for Digital Sources in Endangered Cultures is a facility for digital conservation for endangered materials from the Pacific region. Collection metadata is available via guest login and many collections are freely accessible. Of particular interest are the Arthur Capell (1902-1986) and Stephen Adolphe Wurm (1922-2001) fieldnotes collections. Capell was a linguist and ethnographer who recorded and documented Australian Aboriginal and endangered languages in the Asia-Pacific region. Wurm was Emeritus Professor of Linguistics at ANU and his collection features records relating to his Solomon Islands research.

University of Wollongong

The Cochrane Papua New Guinea collection comprises several hundred images collected by Percy and Renata Cochrane in Papua New Guinea from 1949-66. The collection comprises sound recordings, black & white photographs, colour slides, manuscripts, correspondence, publications.

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New Zealand collections

University of Auckland

The University of Auckland has a very strong Pacific focus and is responsible for developing and managing a number of digital collections. The Library's New Zealand and Pacific digital collections include a digitised social anthropology and archaeology photographic archive, and digitised maps.

National Library of New Zealand

The National Library of New Zealand's digital collections are a gateway to numerous electronic resources and digitised collections relating to the people, history, culture and places of New Zealand. It includes the digitised Maori magazine Te Ao Hou which was published from 1952 to 1975, and the online Rangiatea exhibition which documents the history of the oldest Anglican Maori Church until it was destroyed in 1995. 


Matapihi is an Internet based service that allows searching of digitised material from significant New Zealand cultural institutions. It includes moving images, photographs, drawings, paintings, sculpture, texts, 3-d virtual museum objects and sound files. Hosted by the National Library of New Zealand. 

Papers Past

Papers Past is New Zealand's newspapers and periodical digitisation project. The collection covers more than a million pages from regional and national NZ publications from 1840 to 1915, and has full-text searching. Hosted by the National Library of New Zealand.


Timeframes includes selected New Zealand and Pacific images from the collections of the Alexander Turnbull Library, the research library within the National Library of New Zealand. It contains more that 50,000 images from the 18th to 20th centuries.

New Zealand Electronic Text Centre

The New Zealand Electronic Text Centre is an online archive of significant New Zealand and Pacific Islands materials. It contains born-digital content as well as searchable heritage manuscripts, journals and other texts. It also includes many accompanying images such as postcards, newspaper clippings and cartoons, line-drawings and photos. The NZETC is part of the Victoria University of Wellington Library.

University of Canterbury

The University of Canterbury Library holds a large number of Pacific images that are currently in the process of being digitised. Collections online so far include the AC Graham Photographs, the Canterbury Mountaineering Club Records and Photographs and the John Macmillan Brown Collection, which feature photographs and glass plates of people, clubs and landscapes from both the 19th and 20th centuries. The Canterbury Frozen Meat Company photographs feature company images from a similarly broad period. Navigate to these collections by clicking on the search option under 'Photographs'.

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Other Pacific collections

University of Hawaii at Manoa

The University of Hawaii at Manoa Library's digital and digitised collections have a strong Hawaiian focus, but also feature some wider Pacific content. The Trust Territory Photos Archive contains digitised images of Micronesia from 1947-1988 when the islands were administered by the U.S. and known as the U.N.’s ‘Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands.’

Hawaii State Archives

The Hawaii State Archives digital collections include digitised genealogical indexes, details of government office holders, records of land divisions, traveller details, tax ledgers and WWI service records from Hawaii.

Service des Archives de Nouvelle-Calédonie

The Archives of New Caledonia includes a small selection of digitised photographs documenting life, scenery and developments in the colony from the mid-19th century until the 20th.


PapuaWeb is an information network for students, researchers, development workers, community leaders, government agencies and others working on issues relevant to Papua, Indonesia (formerly Irian Jaya). It contains a document archive, which includes theses and other research materials covering various topics in the humanities and sciences fields. There is also an image archive, which features an illustrated html version of Alfred Wallace’s 1869 publication, The Malay Archipelago: the land of the orang-utan, and the bird of paradise: a narrative of travel with studies of man and nature, as well as illustrations from 19th century books and recent and historical maps of Papua. Jointly hosted by the University of Papua, Cenderawasih University and the Australian National University.

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European collections

Memory of the Netherlands

The Memory of the Netherlands is a project of the Koninklijke Bibliotheek, the National Library of the Netherlands. It is responsible for digitising important sources of the Netherlands' cultural heritage and offers access to 62 digital collections from 58 heritage institutions. The collection has major strengths relating to Dutch exploration of the East Indies, but also contains items relevant to the broader Pacific region such as early cartographic depictions. Hosted by the Koninklijke Bibliotheek.

Bibliothèque Nationale de France

Gallica is the digital library of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France. It contains digitised printed and graphic materials as well as sound recordings. It is a huge repository of resources many of which relate to Pacific exploration and the colonisation of New Caledonia, Tahiti and Vanuatu. English language instructions are available here.

British Library - Images Online

Images Online provides access to thousands of the images from the collections of the British Library. It includes manuscripts, rare books, musical texts, maps, illustrations, drawings, paintings and photographs. The collection includes material relating to Exploration and Maps and Landscapes and can be browsed under these terms. It features a vast array of resources documenting the increasing English presence in the Pacific from the 16th century onwards.

National Library of Scotland

The National Library of Scotland's Digital Library includes a small collection of materials belonging to 19th century storyteller and poet Robert Louis Stevenson. This includes digitised letters, sketches and photographs documenting his travels through the Pacific Islands.

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American collections

Library of Congress

  • Prints and Photographs Online - contains many digitised Pacific photographs, maps and drawings particularly from the 19th to the mid-20th century. The World's Transportation Commission Collection features late 19th century photographs of transportation systems, life and scenery from Australia, New Zealand and some Pacific Islands.
  • Veteran's History Project - contains digitised oral histories and other materials related to first-hand accounts of US veterans in 20th century wars and conflicts. It includes accounts related to American involvement in and around the Pacific Islands during WWII.
  • Exhibitions - includes the online Margaret Mead: Human Nature and the Power of Culture. It features digitised manuscripts, photographs, letters, notes and publications of this early 20th century anthropologist documenting her studies in Samoa, Papua New Guinea and Bali.
  • American Memory - features a wide variety of digital resources. Westward by Sea: A Maritime Perspective on American Expansion (1820-1890) features digitised photographs, paintings, maps, charts, logbooks, diaries, letters, business papers, and published narratives of voyages and travels. It includes materials relevant to Hawaii, New Zealand and Pitcairn Island. 

United States National Archives – Digital Vaults

The U.S. National Archive's Digital Vaults contains some digitised photographs and documents relating to Hawaii and WWII Pacific involvement. It includes the 1897 Petition Against Annexation signed by more than 21,000 native Hawaiians and addressed to the U.S. President.

University of California San Diego

The UCSD’s Scripp's Institution of Oceanography Library, Still Image Collection holds over 250,000 prints, slides, negatives and digital images of people, ships, oceanographic instruments, tourist brochures, buildings, meetings, events, and marine environments and specimens. The Capricorn Expedition Photographs (1952-1953) collection includes many images of scenery, local life and people and from the Institute’s expedition through Fiji, Tonga, Samoa, Marshall Islands, Marquesas Islands, Cook Islands and Tahiti. 

University of Washington

The University of Washington's digital collections include the Lauren Donaldson collection. It features digitised personal logs, photo albums, ephemera and papers relating to radiological surveys undertaken after atmospheric nuclear weapons testing conducted by the United States in the South Pacific between 1946 and 1964.