All Events

Public events at the State Library include talks on literary, historical and contemporary issues, movies, workshops and courses as well as presentations about, and showings of, the Library's rich collections.

You can also listen to selected talks online.

Payment Policy

All listed prices include GST. There is a 20% cancellation fee for events that are over $50 cancelled within 48 hours of an event. No refund applies to events under $50. If payment has not been received, unclaimed tickets will be sold 15 minutes after the event commences.

Book of Kells illustrated letter

Monday 22 September, 10.00 AM

Workshop: Illustrated Lettering

Explore the decorative lettering of early handwritten manuscripts and be inspired by the beauty of the illuminated letter. Create your own initial letter with watercolours and frame your work to take home.
Suitable for children aged 8 years and above

This event is part of the Kids@the Library series.

Monday 22 September, 1.00 PM

Movie: Movie – The new adventures of Pippi Longstocking

Follow the adventures of Pippi Longstocking, a little red haired girl who makes friends with two neighbourhood children after her father is lost in a storm at sea.
Suitable for the whole family.
Parents and carers please note: Children must be accompanied by an adult for the duration of the movie. 

This event is part of the Kids@the Library series.

Botanic Gardens from SL collection

Tuesday 23 September, 9.30 AM

Workshop: Then and Now - Photomontage Creations

Take inspiration from the photomontages in Sydney Transitions: 1914/2014 and create your own images merging the past and the present. Visit the Botanic Gardens to take photos of landscape scenes, then learn how to use iPad apps to merge your photos with old black and white images of the same view from the Library’s collection. Print your images and frame your favourite to take home.
Suitable for children aged 9-14 years

This event is part of the Kids@the Library series.

Image of Princess Fawzia, sister of King Farouk

Tuesday 23 September, 6.00 PM

Talk: The Fall of the last Royal House of Egypt and the First Revolution, July 1952

King Farouk of Egypt's cataclysmic last 3 days is the subject of this hour long journey back to a now mythical, lost, forgotten world, even to the Egyptians. The first Egyptian revolution in 1952 saw the end of the last royal house of Egypt, the most glamorous court in the East or anywhere since Versailles. Lorenzo Montesini takes you back to that exotic country called the past, when Egypt and the Middle East changed direction impacting history in the wider world.

Treasure map and compass

Wednesday 24 September, 10.00 AM

Workshop: Treasure Trail

Working in groups, follow the clues along this treasure trail to solve the puzzle of the Mitchell Library.  Use a compass, camera and drawing materials to collect all the data you need, then use this information to create your illustrated map and plot your route on it.  Solve the puzzle, create your map and receive your reward!
Suitable for children aged 7-12 years

This event is part of the Kids@the Library series.

wearable word cloud tshirts

Wednesday 24 September, 1.00 PM

Workshop: Wearable Words

Design your own graphic art! Sightsee around the State Library and turn your experience into a visually stunning word cloud and piece of take-home art. Please bring a white cotton t-shirt, tea towel or cushion cover to iron your design onto.
Suitable for children aged 7 to 11 years

This event is part of the Kids@the Library series.

storytime in Shakespeare Room

Thursday 25 September, 10.00 AM

Workshop: Storytime at the Library

Join us for this fun-filled storytime and art/craft activity.
Suitable for preschoolers and their families.

This event is part of the Kids@the Library series.

tour

Thursday 25 September, 1.00 PM

Tour: Tours for Tots

In this special tour for younger children you will discover treasures from the Library’s collection, listen to the fascinating stories behind the unusual items in our Amaze gallery and illustrate your favourites in a little booklet to take home.
Suitable for children aged 4-7 years

This event is part of the Kids@the Library series.

endeavour drawing

Thursday 25 September, 5.00 PM

Workshop: Up Late at the Library!

Gear up with binoculars and torches as we head off on a treasure hunt around the library! This family event will take you on a torchlight tour of the extraordinary Mitchell Library, as we follow the trail of Captain Cook. Hunt for clues that he was here, and create your own family artwork of his ship, the Endeavour, to take home. Finish the night with a pizza dinner in our learning space.  Please advise any dietary requirements when booking.
Suitable for the whole family (with children aged 4 years and above)

This event is part of the Kids@the Library series.

Tony Wood

Thursday 25 September, 6.00 PM

Talk: Forward Thinking: Fairer pricing for power

In this Forward Thinking event, Tony Wood, the Energy Program Director from Grattan Institute, and Jennifer Hewett, columnist for the Australian Financial Review, will discuss the recently released Grattan report that proposes specific solutions to address this problem.

Thursday 25 September, 6.00 PM

Special event: Out of the Vaults: Cookiana: Souvenirs of Captain Cook

Reporting to the Admiralty Secretary in August 1771, at the end of his first voyage to the Pacific region, Cook wrote: ‘Herewith you will receive the Bulk of the Curiosity’s I have collected in the Course of the Voyage ... ’ Ever since, people have been collecting items souvenired by Captain Cook during this voyage and the others he made, relics of the man himself, and the commemorative wares made and sold in great numbers to celebrate his life and achievements. Come and hear about the man, his voyages and the legend in this discussion of the making of the world’s first great modern superhero.

This event is part of the Out of the Vaults series.

crazy collections tour

Friday 26 September, 10.00 AM

Tour: Crazy Collections

Come on a ‘discovery tour’ of the historic Mitchell Library, in search of the weird, wacky and wonderful! Explore the surprising State Library collections, including painted sperm whale teeth and jewellery made of hair!
Suitable for children aged 8 -12 years

This event is part of the Kids@the Library series.

Friday 26 September, 1.00 PM

Movie: Movie – The new adventures of Pippi Longstocking

Follow the adventures of Pippi Longstocking, a little red haired girl who makes friends with two neighbourhood children after her father is lost in a storm at sea.
Suitable for the whole family.
Parents and carers please note: Children must be accompanied by an adult for the duration of the movie. 

This event is part of the Kids@the Library series.

McC6802_Vietnam02VHR

Saturday 27 September, 2.00 PM

Special event: Exhibition Curator Robert Pledge: Keynote Lecture

To celebrate the opening weekend of Don McCullin: The Impossible Peace, join Robert Pledge for this very special keynote lecture where he will discuss Don McCullin’s fascinating body of work and his internationally recognised exhibition.

In association with the Don McCullin: The Impossible Peace exhibition.

Wednesday 1 October, 10.30 AM

Workshop: Reading Yesterday's News

Join us for this hands-on workshop and discover how to find newspapers in our computer catalogue, via our electronic databases and on the internet. Find out how you can access newspaper databases at home using your Library card. View a historic newspaper from the collection. Basic computing skills are required.

This event is part of the Lifelong Learning series.

Don McCullin

Thursday 2 October, 6.00 PM

Movie: McCullin (2012): Documentary film screening

To many, Don McCullin is the greatest living war photographer, often cited as an inspiration for today's photojournalists. In this fascinating documentary McCullin speaks candidly about his three-decade career covering wars and humanitarian disasters on virtually every continent and the photographs that often defined historic moments. Exploring not only McCullin's life and work, but how the ethos of journalism has changed throughout his career, the film is a commentary on the history of photojournalism told through the lens of one of its most acclaimed photographers.

In association with the Don McCullin: The Impossible Peace exhibition.

South Sea Whale Fishery

Tuesday 7 October, 11.00 AM

Talk: Scholarly Musings - Stephen Martin: The work and papers of Dr William Dawbin, whaling historian and cetacean scientist.

Stephen Martin talks about the work and papers of Dr William Dawbin, whaling historian and cetacean scientist. For the last half of the twentieth century, Dawbin was a respected and authoritative member of the scientific community, contributing information and analysis on whaling history and biology to his colleagues and to the formal institutions then controlling whaling. For many years he was a member of the scientific committee of the International Whaling Commission, and worked to provide accurate assessments of the whaling catch and its viability. Perhaps his most significant contribution was the plotting of the tempo and make up of the humpback whale migrations that annually embrace the coasts of New Zealand and Australia. After the banning of whaling, Dawbin was a central figure in the flow of information about the surveys and sightings that described the slow return in numbers of humpback whales in Australasian waters.

This event is part of the Scholarly Musings series.

eresources

Thursday 9 October, 10.30 AM

Workshop: Where do I start? eResources 

This hands-on workshop highlights the online resources available via the State Library website. Learn how to access ebooks, local and international newspapers, reference works, full-text magazines and more. Basic computing skills are required.

This event is part of the Lifelong Learning series.

McC6108_BerlinWall_005

Thursday 9 October, 6.00 PM

Talk: War Photography: Panel discussion

This panel discussion will look at the history and relevance of war photography. The talk will be moderated by Shaune Larkin (Director of Monash Gallery of Art) and feature internationally renowned photojournalists Stephen Dupont and Tim Page. Join them as they discuss their experiences in the field, the history of war photography and the ethical dilemmas they face in their working lives.

In association with the Don McCullin: The Impossible Peace exhibition.

social media

Friday 10 October, 10.30 AM

Course: Social Media for Beginners

See the world in a new way! Explore Instagram and Pinterest. Learn how to capture and share pictures or video, choose a filter and post to Instagram. Also learn how to create a board and organise the things you love using Pinterest. You will need an email or Facebook account before attending the course. Basic computing skills are required.

This event is part of the Lifelong Learning series.

Don McCullin

Saturday 11 October, 2.00 PM

Movie: McCullin (2012): Documentary film screening

To many, Don McCullin is the greatest living war photographer, often cited as an inspiration for today's photojournalists. In this fascinating documentary McCullin speaks candidly about his three-decade career covering wars and humanitarian disasters on virtually every continent and the photographs that often defined historic moments. Exploring not only McCullin's life and work, but how the ethos of journalism has changed throughout his career, the film is a commentary on the history of photojournalism told through the lens of one of its most acclaimed photographers.

In association with the Don McCullin: The Impossible Peace exhibition.

Oscar Wilde

Monday 13 October, 11.00 AM

Talk: The Importance of Being Oscar: The Life and Works of Oscar Wilde with Susannah Fullerton

Join popular literary expert Susannah Fullerton for a two-part lecture series on Oscar Wilde. ‘Somehow or other I’ll be famous, and if not famous, I’ll be notorious,’ declared the young Oscar Wilde. He proved to be both! Wilde’s genius as a raconteur and coiner of epigrams made him the most quoted man in London. He translated his genius into stories, plays, poems and a novel and gained a place amongst the great Victorian writers. In two lectures Susannah Fullerton tells Wilde’s extraordinary life story, his incredible success, then his dramatic fall from fame.
Annabel Crabb

Thursday 16 October, 12.30 PM

Talk: The Wife Drought with Annabel Crabb

'Why can’t I have a wife?’ It’s a common joke among busy women. But it’s not a joke. Male politicians who reach their forties without having children are so rare as to be remarkable but politics is full of women who are childless. Why? Because if you want to combine kids with an elite career, the first thing you need (if you’re going to have the best possible shot at it) is a stay-at-home spouse. And it’s awfully hard to interest a bloke in a gig like that. Join Annabel Crabb as she discusses her new book The Wife Drought, a book full of stories from the author’s work in and around politics and media, involving anecdotes about high-profile women and men.
documents

Friday 17 October, 10.30 AM

Workshop: Starting Family History Research at the State Library

Family history can reveal surprising and sometimes moving lost stories that enhance an individual's understanding of who they are. Family history librarians will provide an introductory program on the State Library’s diverse family history collections. Rarely seen collection items will be on display.

This event is part of the Lifelong Learning series.

Cover

Friday 17 October, 12.00 PM

Movie: Apocalypse, la 1ère Guerre Mondiale (Apocalypse World War 1)

This five-part series will run over consecutive Fridays from 17 October to 14 November 2014.
As part of the Library’s World War I program the Library, in association with the Embassy of France in Australia, will screen the award-winning French language documentary Apocalypse, la 1ère Guerre Mondiale.

This screening: Furie (Fury)
This episode looks at Europe at the beginning of World War I.

These screenings are in English.

Walkleys

Friday 17 October, 3.00 PM

Special event: Walkley Documentary Award Screenings

Documentary cinema has the power to transport the viewer into worlds unknown. By shepherding audiences through history and culture, documentaries can evoke empathy and understanding. The Walkley Foundation for Journalism, in association with the State Library of NSW, is proud to share six of the most exceptional Australian documentaries of 2014. View the six long-listed finalists for the 2014 Walkley Documentary Award.
Walkleys

Sunday 19 October, 11.00 AM

Special event: Walkley Documentary Award Screenings

Documentary cinema has the power to transport the viewer into worlds unknown. By shepherding audiences through history and culture, documentaries can evoke empathy and understanding. The Walkley Foundation for Journalism, in association with the State Library of NSW, is proud to share six of the most exceptional Australian documentaries of 2014. View the six long-listed finalists for the 2014 Walkley Documentary Award.
Oscar Wilde

Monday 20 October, 11.00 AM

Talk: The Importance of Being Oscar: The Life and Works of Oscar Wilde with Susannah Fullerton

Join popular literary expert Susannah Fullerton for a two-part lecture series on Oscar Wilde. ‘Somehow or other I’ll be famous, and if not famous, I’ll be notorious,’ declared the young Oscar Wilde. He proved to be both! Wilde’s genius as a raconteur and coiner of epigrams made him the most quoted man in London. He translated his genius into stories, plays, poems and a novel and gained a place amongst the great Victorian writers. In two lectures Susannah Fullerton tells Wilde’s extraordinary life story, his incredible success, then his dramatic fall from fame.

Thursday 23 October, 6.00 PM

Special event: Out of the Vaults:  Voyages to the East Indies

This event will feature a fascinating selection of charts documenting the European discovery of the East Indies, the development of the valuable spice trade in the 16th and 17th centuries and the links to the discovery and charting of Australia. Join Maggie Patton on a journey through the State Library’s magnificent map collections.

This event is part of the Out of the Vaults series.

Cover

Friday 24 October, 12.00 PM

Movie: Apocalypse, la 1ère Guerre Mondiale (Apocalypse World War 1)

This five-part series will run over consecutive Fridays from 17 October to 14 November 2014.
As part of the Library’s World War I program the Library, in association with the Embassy of France in Australia, will screen the award-winning French language documentary Apocalypse, la 1ère Guerre Mondiale.

This screening: Peur (Fear)
The growth of a European conflict into a global war.

These screenings are in English.

David Hill

Thursday 30 October, 12.30 PM

Talk: The Making of Australia: From a Corrupt Convict Settlement to the Remarkable Nation it is Today with David Hill

Join David Hill as he talks about his latest book, The Making of Australia: From a Corrupt Convict Settlement to the Remarkable Nation it is Today, the story of how a struggling convict settlement grew into six dynamic colonies and then the remarkable nation of Australia. Told through the key figures who helped build it into the thriving nation it is today.

Cover

Friday 31 October, 12.00 PM

Movie: Apocalypse, la 1ère Guerre Mondiale (Apocalypse World War 1)

This five-part series will run over consecutive Fridays from 17 October to 14 November 2014.
As part of the Library’s World War I program the Library, in association with the Embassy of France in Australia, will screen the award-winning French language documentary Apocalypse, la 1ère Guerre Mondiale.

This screening: Enfer (Hell)
The realities of trench warfare and its toll on countries and their citizens becomes apparent.

These screenings are in English.

Elizabeth Heneretta Villa

Monday 3 November, 11.00 AM

Talk: Lives and Times in Early Colonial Sydney with Elizabeth Ellis OAM

In this series of illustrated lectures, Emeritus Curator Elizabeth Ellis OAM will explore the lives and times of people in early nineteenth century Sydney. She will show how the first European settlement soon spread beyond Sydney Cove, how the ideas and aspirations the colonists brought with them from Britain shaped their attitudes, and how they changed in response to their new environments.
Mr Howard Vernon

Tuesday 4 November, 11.00 AM

Talk: Scholarly Musings - Dr Kevin Hewitt: Howard Vernon (1848-1921)

Howard Vernon (1848-1921), the stage name of John Lett, was a major star of the Australasian musical stage. His professional career took him overseas in the late 1870s, primarily to Asia, while garnering some experience with companies in the United Kingdom and California before he returned to Australia and was contracted to JC Williamson, with whom he would be associated mainly in the Gilbert and Sullivan operas for most of the next twenty-five years.
Vernon's career offers a prime example of the energy and adaptability required to survive in the colonial theatre. Kevin Hewitt has been retired for some 12 years in which time he has been able to indulge his passion for Gilbert and Sullivan which culminated in the conferring of a PhD in 2012 through Sydney University on the life of Vernon. He has been a volunteer at the State Library since his retirement.

This event is part of the Scholarly Musings series.

Cover

Thursday 6 November, 6.00 PM

Talk: The Beach They Called Gallipoli: Jackie French and Bruce Whatley in conversation

Hear the team behind the best-selling and most popular books of a generation talk about their latest collaboration and the personal stories that inspired it. Many books have been written about the battles of Gallipoli; the men who went to war and what they faced, the letters, and the tears of those left behind. But this is a book about Gallipoli, the place, and what happened on Gallipoli Beach from April to December 1915. With beautiful illustrations by Bruce Whatley, this book explores the beach where the battles took place. This is more than a book about ANZACS; this is a book about the people of all nationalities who fought at that cove.

keyboard

Friday 7 November, 10.30 AM

Course: The Art of Searching Online

There is more to Google searching than you think! This hands-on session will help you develop the skills to get the best online results. Learn the art of keyword choice, how to use search operators and explore additional tools and functions available within Google search.

This event is part of the Lifelong Learning series.

Cover

Friday 7 November, 12.00 PM

Movie: Apocalypse, la 1ère Guerre Mondiale (Apocalypse World War 1)

This five-part series will run over consecutive Fridays from 17 October to 14 November 2014.
As part of the Library’s World War I program the Library, in association with the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, will screen the award-winning French language documentary Apocalypse, la 1ère Guerre Mondiale.

This screening: Rage
As the USA enters the conflict the misery of war has become part of daily life. People are beginning to question the justifications of carnage.

These screenings are in English.

Elizabeth Heneretta Villa

Monday 10 November, 11.00 AM

Talk: Lives and Times in Early Colonial Sydney with Elizabeth Ellis OAM

In this series of illustrated lectures, Emeritus Curator Elizabeth Ellis OAM will explore the lives and times of people in early nineteenth century Sydney. She will show how the first European settlement soon spread beyond Sydney Cove, how the ideas and aspirations the colonists brought with them from Britain shaped their attitudes, and how they changed in response to their new environments.
Still Image

Tuesday 11 November, 2.00 PM

Special event: Remembrance Day Commemoration: Forty Thousand Horsemen (1940)

Stirring, sweeping and spectacular, Forty Thousand Horsemen dramatises the exploits of the Australian Light Horse in Palestine during World War I. Graham Shirley has worked for four decades as a director, writer and researcher on Australian historical documentaries. He has conducted numerous oral histories and is co-author of Australian Cinema: The First 80 Years (published 1983 and 1989). From 2006 to 2014 he was a senior curator and Manager, Access Projects with the National Film and Sound Archive. Graham will introduce the screening.

This event is part of the Silent Film Festival series.

We will remember them

Tuesday 11 November, 6.00 PM

Special event: Out of the Vaults: ‘We will remember them ...’

As we continue our commemoration of the centenary of World War I and Australia’s role in it, we invite you to come and see part of the Library’s rich collection of servicemen and women’s precious albums, letter collections and keepsakes sent back from the war.

This event is part of the Out of the Vaults series.

70s women

Wednesday 12 November, 10.30 AM

Talk: Reliving the 70s

The 1970s was a decade of great change in Australia with developments in women’s rights, Indigenous rights, politics, music and fashion. Dig out those flares and platform shoes and come along to see and hear about some of the highlights from our collections.

This event is part of the Lifelong Learning series.

Hakylut

Wednesday 12 November, 6.00 PM

Talk: Hakylut Society

2014 marks the bicentenary of the death of Captain Matthew Flinders RN who in 1801 to 1803 commanded the first ship to circumnavigate Australia. The Hakylut Society will mark the bicentenary with the publication of the two-volume Australia Circumnavigated: The Journal of HMS Investigator, 1801–1803, edited by Kenneth Morgan.

On 12 November the President of the Hakluyt Society, Michael Barritt, and the editor of Australia Circumnavigated, Kenneth Morgan, will be speaking at a special event in the Friends Room. Material from the Library’s collections will be on display at the event.

State Library

Thursday 13 November, 10.30 AM

Talk: Where do I start? Discover the State Library

For the first-time user, this talk introduces the fantastic services and collections available at the State Library and provides a good idea of where to begin research.

This event is part of the Lifelong Learning series.

Friday 14 November, 12.00 PM

Movie: Apocalypse, la 1ère Guerre Mondiale (Apocalypse World War 1)

This five-part series will run over consecutive Fridays from 17 October to 14 November 2014.
As part of the Library’s World War I program the Library, in association with the Embassy of France in Australia, will screen the award-winning French language documentary Apocalypse, la 1ère Guerre Mondiale.

This screening: Delivery 
How the war finally ended, leaving Europe decimated and looking to rebuild.

These screenings are in English.

Elizabeth Heneretta Villa

Monday 17 November, 11.00 AM

Talk: Lives and Times in Early Colonial Sydney with Elizabeth Ellis OAM

In this series of illustrated lectures, Emeritus Curator Elizabeth Ellis OAM will explore the lives and times of people in early nineteenth century Sydney. She will show how the first European settlement soon spread beyond Sydney Cove, how the ideas and aspirations the colonists brought with them from Britain shaped their attitudes, and how they changed in response to their new environments.
Celebrating 75 Years

Tuesday 18 November, 9.00 AM

Seminar: Libraries for the People: the 11th Australian Library History Forum 18 - 19 November

2014 marks the 75th anniversary of the NSW Library Act 1939. The Library Act 1939 was passed by State Parliament on 3 November 1939 and led to the provision of free public library services for the people of NSW.

In recognition of the anniversary of the passing of this landmark legislation, this year’s forum will focus on the development of public libraries in Australia. Topics will include governance and legislation, personalities, services to indigenous communities, library referenda and public library predecessors and competitors.

Please note this seminar runs over two days.

Tuesday 18 November, 10.30 AM

Talk: Christmas in the Colony

Join us for a festive show and tell and discover how Christmas was celebrated in the colonies. Which traditions linger and which have faded away? Examples from the collections tell their own story of the time with references to the warm weather and local flora and fauna. See original newspapers, pictures and Christmas cards held in the Library’s rich collections.

This event is part of the Lifelong Learning series.

camera

Thursday 20 November, 10.30 AM

Workshop: Preserving Your Family History: Digital Media

A seminar dedicated to the long-term care of digital media. The emphasis will be on the vulnerability of different digital formats and tips on preservation strategies that aim to achieve archival storage.

This event is part of the Lifelong Learning series.

Simon Winchester

Sunday 23 November, 3.00 PM

Talk: The Pedant, the Precise and the Pacific with Simon Winchester

We seek the precise in the use of language — the selection of the mot juste is the mark of good writing, they say. But in writing about so vast a topic as the Pacific Ocean — is the precise really the best way to get the message across? Or is the pointilliste approach more suited? And anyway, is precision generally such a good thing — in making things, isn’t bamboo sometimes better than titanium? Simon Winchester, writing about these three ideas, investigates how to get it Just Right, without becoming slaves to exactitude. Simon Winchester OBE established his writing career as a foreign correspondent for the Guardian and the BBC, before becoming an independent writer/researcher of bestselling books in multiple fields of academic and international interest.
social networking

Tuesday 2 December, 10.30 AM

Course: Social Networking for Beginners

Communicate with friends and family and make new contacts using two of the most popular social networking sites on the web: Facebook and Twitter. Set up a Facebook page and a Twitter account. You will need an email account before attending the course. Basic computing skills are required.

This event is part of the Lifelong Learning series.

Thursday 4 December, 5.30 PM

Talk: The Calligrapher's Stage with Massimo Polello

The Library in association with the Australian Calligraphers Association present internationally renowned calligrapher Massimo Polello. Massimo is President of the Turin Calligraphers’ Guild Dal Segno alla Scrittura and owner of Gallery ABC Atelier Studio. He also works with the Medicea Laurenziana Library in Florence. Join Massimo as he talks about his works and passion for calligraphy.

SRL verandah

Thursday 11 December, 10.30 AM

Workshop: Where do I start? Library Website & Catalogues

This hands-on workshop provides an overview of the services and resources available from the State Library website. Explore highlights of the Library’s collections, take a guided tour of the catalogues and browse our exhibitions and events. Basic computing skills are required

This event is part of the Lifelong Learning series.

Quick Links

The State Library provides a free Information Request Service.

Macquarie St, Sydney
NSW 2000, Australia
Tel: (02) 9273 1414

Opening hours  |  Take a tour