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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.

Splendid Species

The Library is delighted to announce the complete digitisation of its renowned "pattern" set of 681 folio-sized plates for  'The Birds of Australia' by John Gould. 

The Cruise of 'The Freak'

The 1872 record of Rev. Brownrigg's travels through the islands of the Furneaux Group.

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.

Colour In Darkness

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

Hitting the slopes

A young woman’s trip to Kosciusko in the 1930s sent her headlong into romance.
 

Magna Carta

The Library holds a rare manuscript version of the 1297 statute of the Magna Carta that was signed by King John at Runnymede.

The Holtermann Collection

In 1951, a hoard of 3,500 glass plate negatives from the nineteenth century was discovered in a garden shed in Chatswood.