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?

Shakespeare - his birthplace, home and grave

In 1864 the Reverend John M. Jephson published his book on the birthplace, home, and grave of Shakespeare. Nestled within the pages of text are a series of photographs of sites relating to Shakespeare’s life in Stratford-on-Avon.

Alec Chisholm: Bush Naturalist and Benign Nationalist

Alec Chisholm (1890–1977) was once famous in Australia. Although that’s no longer so, he’s a man worth remembering. Journalist, historian, literary critic, naturalist, conservationist and encyclopaedia editor.

Boy oh boy!

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

Under the Rainbow

The 1970s were a transformative time for northern New South Wales, especially in the regional town of Nimbin.  The 1973 Aquarius Festival changed the small country town and the surrounding region forever.

Architecture: Arrival of Modernism

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

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.

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.

Colour In Darkness

Hand-coloured scenes from the First World War are displayed together for the first time in almost 100 years.

Celebration: Jewish Community Photographs

The images from this collection take us into the lives of a Sydney community, revealing it’s religious and community events.

Papua New Guinea (PNG): Forty years of independence

Although European navigators visited and explored the Papua New Guinea islands for 170 years, little was known of the Papua New Guinea inhabitants until the late 19th century.

Michael Riley

A Common Place displays 15 dramatic portraits of Moree Murries taken by Michael Riley, one of Australia’s leading Indigenous contemporary artists.