Public holiday: the Library will be open on 3 October. View opening hours

Fascinating stories from our experts

In partnership with the City of Sydney Libraries the State Library of New South Wales will be delivering a series of lectures on some of the many treasures, revealing fascinating stories, from the State Library’s collections.

Each month staff from across the Library will be presenting a lecture as part of the Classics at Customs program, join our experts to engage with the magnificent and the unusual.  

Join our staff at Customs House Library to uncover the untold stories of our unique and inspiring collections.

Events are free but bookings are essential and should be made through the City of Sydney. 

next event

20 July

Kirsten Thorpe and Ronald Briggs from the Library’s Indigenous Services Branch will be presenting A brief examination of the Foundation for Aboriginal Affairs which will provide insight into the records of Aboriginal Affairs kept in the Mitchell Library.

past events

16 November

Alison Wishart, Curator will discuss The First Chief Justice of NSW and his farewell gift. In May 1939, Sir Francis Forbes was given a splendidly ornate candelabrum as a sign of ‘respect and esteem’ when he retired. This lecture will uncover the controversies of the Forbes period in our history. 

19 October

Sarah Morley, Curator will bring back to life Sydney’s Garden Palace, a magnificent building which is now lost to living memory, however in its day its grandeur dominated Sydney’s skyline and captivated society. 

21 September

Richard Neville, Mitchell Librarian and Director, Education & Scholarship will present, Early Colonial Art: Is it really that bad? - a postcolonial reflection of John William Lewin, Australia’s first free professional artist. 

17 August

Anni Turnbull, Curator will deliver a lecture on the iconic Harbour Bridge a symbol of Sydney and Australia, its coat-hanger structure has inspired songs, artworks, photographs and poems.

15 June

Anna Corkhill, Curator will be discussing Contemporary Architecture and the Library’s collections of  drawings by architects Richard Leplastrier, Glenn Murcutt and Alexander Tzannes, who, among many others, have made a significant mark on Australian architecture since 1970.

18 May

Margot Riley, Curator will be presenting a view from above in her lecture; Imagining our Cities: Bird’s Eye Views of NSW which discusses the beautiful panoramic maps of constructed views from high vantage points which were popular in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.