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.

John Macarthur

Tuesday 2 September, 11.00 AM

Talk: Scholarly Musings - Patrick Dodd: 'John Macarthur - Visionary or Villain'?

Macarthur is remembered by most people for laying the foundations of the great Australian wool industry. In fact he spent so much time away from home fighting Governors and facing a court martial in England his practical achievements owe a very great deal to the persistence and loyalty of his wife and sons. He was a complex character. Some saw him as scheming and devious with disdain for any official who dared to thwart his ambitions. Others saw him as a brilliant publicist and organiser who did much to focus and promote attention to the potential of the colony. He achieved a great deal but his combative temperament, and a debilitating illness contracted on his way to Australia, prevented him from achieving much more.

This event is part of the Scholarly Musings series.

Windsor

Thursday 4 September, 5.00 PM

Talk: The Price of Independence

Independent Scholars Association of Australia, NSW Chapter, in association with The State Library of NSW, present a conversation between Tony Windsor and Cheryl Kernot.

Thoreau writes: 'I would rather sit on a pumpkin, and have it all to myself, than to be crowded on a velvet cushion.' But does independence always betoken freedom and does it come at a price?

Mitchell

Friday 5 September, 6.00 PM

Special event: 2014 NSW Premier's History Awards Presentation and launch of History Week

Join shortlisted authors, historians, publishers and producers in a glittering celebration of excellence in the interpretation of history through the written word and non-print media.
Peace

Tuesday 9 September, 11.00 AM

Seminar: Peace and Patriotism in Twentieth Century Australia symposium

This symposium will examine soldiers, pacifists, unions, communists, anticommunists, students, feminists and Indigenous Australians. It will contribute new insights into the ways Australians have embraced, challenged and experienced peace and patriotism throughout a century marked by war and conflict.
Endurance in Ice. Frank Hurley. State Library of New

Wednesday 10 September, 6.30 PM

Talk: Endurance: A photographic journey of survival

Join renowned historian, author and Frank Hurley’s biographer, Alasdair McGregor, and be transported to a time of great explorers and epic adventures as he presents a photographic journey of the Endurance expedition through Frank Hurley’s images.
Conscription

Thursday 11 September, 6.00 PM

Talk: Conscription

The conscription referenda of 1916 and 1917 were landmark events of Australian society during WWI. The campaigns, both for and against the conscription of men for overseas service, were bitterly fought and split Australian society along religious, political and personal lines.
In this illustrated talk, historian Stephen Martin looks at the remarkable years of struggle and decision. It was a conflict that left Australia as one of the few nations to reject the compulsory call-up of citizens for overseas military service.
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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.
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.

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.

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.

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.
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.

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 Hakluyt 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.

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.

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.

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