Talks

Join us for an exciting program of talks and seminars on literary, historical and contemporary issues, together with presentations about, and showings of, the Library's rich collections.

You can also listen to selected talks online.

Cover

Friday 16 January 2015, 6.00 PM

Talk: WWI Diggers' songs, poems, yarns and humour with Warren Fahey

Cultural historian, author and performer Warren Fahey AM presses nostalgia buttons as he explains the role of song and humour on the front lines of the Great War. The concert is accompanied by archival photographs and images. Based on Warren’s book Diggers’ Songs.

View near Woolwich in Kent Shewing [sic] The Employment of the Convicts from the Hulks, C.1800, printed for Bowles & Carver

Tuesday 20 January 2015, 12.30 PM

Talk: Alias Blind Larry: The Mostly True Memoir of James Laurence the Singing Convict with Rob Wills

Rob Wills contends that most convict memoirs are saturated with piety and penitence. But not James Laurence (also known as Blind Larry). Laurence rejoices in his rollicking, disreputable life singing, conning and thieving his way between bouts of incarceration. His memoir, penned while serving seven years on Norfolk Island, takes us around the 19th century world. How his manuscript found its way into the famous Dixson collection at the Mitchell Library is itself a fascinating story.
Surfers

Thursday 22 January 2015, 12.30 PM

Talk: Bitesize Lunchtime Talk: The Duke

In the 19th century, King Kamehameha prophesised that one man would bring fame to the Hawaiian Islands. Many believe that the great waterman, Duke Paoa Kahanamoku, was that man, but few know the story of how several young Australians influenced the course of Duke’s life. Legendary surfer Duke Kahanamoku is credited by many as the man who popularised surfing in Australia when he visited Freshwater Beach in 1914. His statue still remains on the Freshwater headland and his customised board is retained by their Surf Club. In the centenary year of Duke’s visit to Sydney, a panel consisting of authors Nick Carroll, John Ogden, and Gary Osmond PhD will discuss his legacy.
Martin Sharp, Yellow House, Kings Cross 1970-71 (c) Rennie Ellis Photographic Archive

Thursday 22 January 2015, 6.00 PM

Special event: Out of the Vaults: A Constant State of Non-Control: The Yellow House at Kings Cross

The Yellow House, an artists’ collaboration in Kings Cross in the 1970s, was one of Sydney’s first multimedia art spaces. Constantly evolving and always welcoming to creative people, the house was launched by Martin Sharp in 1970. It was quite unlike anything
Sydney had ever seen: nearly every surface was touched by artists, and designs would often change overnight. Join Mitchell Librarian Richard Neville to examine the Library’s records documenting this remarkable pop culture phenomenon.

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

Tuesday 3 February 2015, 11.00 AM

Talk: Scholarly Musings: Luck of the Irish

The luck of the Irish can be chronically bad, and that’s how it looked when the transport Hive sank off the NSW coast in 1835 with 250 Irish convicts on board. Their luck turned, however, and all survived only to land in a penal colony where the rule of the lash and the chain gang was still at its height. As the first European minority in Australia, we often assume the Irish faced discrimination, poverty and sectarianism from the outset. Yet many found the colony a place of unexpected opportunity where they helped create ‘the Australian way of life’. Join Babette Smith as she discusses the story behind her latest book, The Luck of the Irish.

This event is part of the Scholarly Musings series.

Photo by Hurley 1917

Tuesday 10 February 2015, 12.30 PM

Talk: The Importance of Animals in the Australian Imperial Force During WWI with Nathan Wise

The bulk of daily work for both the men of the Australian Light Horse and the Imperial Camel Corps revolved around their mounts. Care for those animals involved a range of daily tasks such as watering, feeding and grooming. The animals provided men with mobility, fulfilling this requirement often to the point of collapsing with exhaustion. This paper will draw upon soldiers’ diaries and letters held in the State Library to explore the nature and treatment of animals during the First World War.
State Library

Thursday 12 February 2015, 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.

Cover, 'Startling Comics', C.1942 A Frank Johnson Publication, Sydney

Thursday 12 February 2015, 6.00 PM

Talk: Curator Talk with Peter Doyle

Pulp Confidential curator Peter Doyle will talk about the quick and dirty publishing world inhabited by Sydney publisher Frank Johnson in the 1940s and 50s. Peter will talk about Johnson’s papers, an exceptionally rich collection of classic early ‘pulp’ art. He will also discuss the world of Frank Johnson Publications, its artists and authors.

Erotica

Thursday 12 February 2015, 6.00 PM

Special event: Out of The Vaults: Erotica

Back by popular demand! Many libraries collect erotic literature, few have collections of erotic literature and art dating back to the 15th century. The Library’s small collection of erotica is founded on the private collections of David Scott Mitchell and Sir William Dixson. The collection includes humorous novels and poetry, Japanese Shunga, Victorian postcards, drawings and ephemera. At this special adults only event we will truly be bringing the collection ‘out of the vaults’.

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

Walkley Talks Logo

Thursday 26 February 2015, 6.00 PM

Talk: Walkley Media Talks - Jail for Journalism: Truth-Telling and The First Casualties Of War

In the wake of new terror laws in Australia, journalists and whistleblowers now face up to 10 years jail for reporting on sensitive areas of national security. The first Walkley Media Talk of 2015 will examine what the jailing of journalists for reporting the truth will mean for Australian journalism and democracy. What does it mean to report ‘in the national interest’? Is it the duty of journalists to toe the government’s national security line, or is it more important than ever to dig up the truth? How does the fourth estate decide which information is important enough to make public, and which to avoid airing? How do journalists weigh up the consequences of whistleblowing — personally, professionally and for the public?

This event is part of the Walkley Media Talks series.

Royal visit photo

Thursday 5 March 2015, 10.30 AM

Talk: Reliving the 50s

The 1950s was a decade of recovery, celebration and renewal. Highlighting the extraordinary range of our Library collections, please join us to step back in time to this significant era where we will look at such themes as immigration, the Royal Visit, Olympic Games, political events and changing popular culture.

This event is part of the Lifelong Learning series.

State Library

Thursday 7 May 2015, 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 19 June 2015, 10.30 AM

Talk: Reliving the 60s

Remember miniskirts, flower children, anti-Vietnam War protests and the day of the moon landing? The swinging sixties heralded the start of women’s liberation, the conservation movement and a popular culture increasingly influenced by international trends. Come to reminisce or discover an era you missed out on!

This event is part of the Lifelong Learning series.

State Library

Wednesday 12 August 2015, 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.

sandstone building image

Wednesday 16 September 2015, 10.30 AM

Talk: Exploring Colonial Sydney

Join State Library staff to discover the story of Sydney from 1788 to 1900. We will look at manuscripts, maps, paintings and art works that tell stories of early Sydney. Practise using the Library's catalogues and other search tools, and discover the many formats that can be researched to discover old Sydney.

This event is part of the Lifelong Learning series.

70s women

Tuesday 10 November 2015, 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.

State Library

Thursday 12 November 2015, 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.

Tuesday 8 December 2015, 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.

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