Stories

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.

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.

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.

Found in the trenches

In the trenches of Gallipoli several Australian soldiers made a startling archelogical discovery.

Thomas Livingstone Mitchell: mapmaker

A larger-than-life character whose passions included the study of fossils, poetry and the mechanical and scientific arts, Mitchell looms large in Australian colonial history.

The TAL & Dai-ichi Life Derby Collection

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

Burke and Wills

As white settlement in Australia progressed, rumours abounded in the coastal cities as to what lay in the country’s largely unexplored centre.

The Tasman Map

The story of the Tasman Map is a tale of mystery, discovery and a chance finding on the Nullarbor Plain.

Crossing the Blue Mountains

None of the settlers in Sydney knew what lay west of the Blue Mountains in the early 1800s. This vast natural barrier that stretched north and south beyond sight had thwarted all attempts to cross or go around it.