Stories

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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.

Reconstructing the Holtermann

What do you do when one of the world’s largest wet-plate glass negatives, weighing over 30 kilos, smashes into hundreds of pieces?

Boy oh boy!

In 25 years at the State Library, our Curator of Photographs has seen four people cry.

The Garden Palace

Sydney’s Garden Palace was a magnificent building with a grandeur that dominated the skyline and captivated society from its opening in 1879. Three years later it was destroyed in a devastating fire.

The modern garden

Outstanding gardens are revealed by leading photographers in a new exhibition.

Planting Dreams: audio guides

Hear Jonathan Jones, Bruce Pascoe and Richard Aitken share their thoughts about some of the items on display in Planting Dreams

Antarctica: modern adventures

Like many other nations, Australia was looking to the future after the turmoil of the Second World War. Several countries saw Antarctica as a potential source of territory, fishing and mineral resources.

Early Antarctic Adventures

The subject of much speculation, the idea of an unknown southern land began with the ancient Greeks.

Architecture: Arrival of Modernism

Architectural Modernism was a revolutionary rejection of past styles and the use of architectural ornament.

Shipboard: the 19th century emigrant experience

Shipboard brings to life the experience of the long voyage to Australia undertaken by thousands of emigrants in the second half of the 19th century.

Looking North - Sydney's Upper North Shore

The Upper North Shore is one of the jewels of Sydney. Follow the development of this region from isolated bush and farmland to a prosperous residential area.

Hume and Hovell

The story of the intrepid adventurers who explored and opened up inland Australia.

Antarctica: Frank Hurley

As the official photographer on the Australasian Antarctic Expedition, Frank Hurley provided a remarkable record of the dangers and heroism of Antarctic exploration in the early twentieth century.

Looking East - Darling Point & beyond

Sydney Harbour's natural beauty has always enticed residents to settle on its foreshores.

Reviving the "Pictorial Panorama of the Great War"

Hand-coloured photographs by ‘digger artists’ are displayed together for the first time in almost 100 years.

Hunter Valley

Caergwrle (pronounced Ka-girlie) is situated on the Allyn River, in one of the most beautiful rural areas of the Hunter Valley.