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Featured stories

Voyages of Discovery

Europeans had been searching for rich new lands in the Southern Hemisphere long before Captain James Cook arrived on the east coast of Australia in 1770. Explore the State Library's incredible maps, journals, drawings and books to understand how the pieces of our continent were gradually put together.

The TAL & Dai-ichi Life Derby Collection

Six volumes of exquisite Australian natural history drawings dating from the first days of settlement. 


Delve deep into the stories and lives of Indigenous Sydney before European settlement.

Matthew Flinders

Placing Australia on the map. 

On loan

Each year the Library loans artworks, books, manuscripts and objects for national and international exhibitions.

Women of the Library

The Library celebrates International Women's Day by honouring the legacy of female Librarians.

Miles Franklin

‘Heaven could be no more magical and mystical than unspoiled Australia'- the brilliant career of Miles Franklin.

From protest to party

The year 2018 marks the 40th anniversary since the first Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, which started as a gay rights protest parade.

Here and now: Waterloo

Documentary photographer Fiona Wolf-Symeonides was drawn to the inner-city Sydney suburbs of Redfern and Waterloo —  an area with a dense concentration of public housing.

Family business

The continuing boom in family history research is having a far-reaching impact on how people understand themselves and the world. 

How Australia builds

The recently digitised Building magazine is a trove of information about twentieth century construction. 

Love letters

In the current era of instant digital communication, letters between long-distance lovers have a particular poignancy.

Through Darwin's eyes

Australia played an important role in Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.

A distant paradise for Dickens

Charles Dickens saw Australia as a utopia for the working class — and his wayward sons.

The book that Joseph Banks burned

An eccentric French nobleman, a letter about Cook’s Endeavour voyage and an enduring bibliographic mystery come together in the Library’s Banks collection. 

The 1954 Royal Tour of Queen Elizabeth II

When this 27 year old sailed into Sydney harbour on 3 February 1954, she practically stopped the nation. 

Pan-Pacific Modernist

Stylish and talented architect-designer Douglas Snelling introduced modern American living styles to aspirational Sydneysiders after the Second World War.

Mother Country

A century ago most Australians were swept up in the second conscription plebiscite of December 1917.