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On Wednesday 3 April we're calling on the public to help us decide which of the three Library collections should be nominated for the UNESCO Australian Memory of the World Register.
Up for consideration are: Myles Dunphy's rich and personal record of the early environmental conservation movement in NSW; the incredible papers of inventor, scholar and activist, David Unaipon; and Willliam Bligh's logbook from his infamous HMS Bounty voyage (1787-1790).
Myles Dunphy's Journals
Have you heard of Myles Dunphy? We have him to thank for all the amazing walking trails in the Blue Mountains... and for the park itself!
Myles was an architect, a teacher, a mapmaker and most of all, Australia’s earliest conservationist. In 1927 he founded the Sydney Bush Walkers Club Inc. (which is still thriving today!) and helped form the National Parks and Primitive Areas Council, where he served as secretary for 30 years. With the support of his conservation community, Dunphy lobbied to protect a whopping 63,000 hectares of natural bushland around Sydney!
His efforts helped to formally establish the Blue Mountains, Wollemi and Warrumbungle national parks. A lot of Dunphy’s life can be gleaned from his personal papers including hundreds of maps, photographs and journals which are filled with daily observations and charming sketches of his camping trips with family and friends. These rich records are kept safe and sound in the Library’s collection!
David Unaipon's Papers
“As a full-blooded member of my race I think I may claim to be the first – but I hope, not the last – to produce an enduring record of our customs, beliefs and imaginings.”
David Unaipon’s words and face are on our $50 note, but we have a lot more to thank him for! Born in 1872 at a South Australian mission, he was a great inventor, philosopher, storyteller, advocate for Aboriginal rights, and Australia’s first published Aboriginal writer. His genius for invention came from his early love of science. Among his many inventions was an improved hand-piece for sheep-shearing which was patented in 1909.
He also anticipated the concept of a helicopter by applying the principle of the boomerang. During 1924 - 1925, David Unaipon journeyed through southern Australia compiling what became Legendary Tales of the Australian Aborigines. The manuscript was submitted for publication, but ended up being sold to William Ramsay Smith, a physician who published a slightly edited version, with a different title, under his own name in 1930. The book was finally published in Unaipon's name in 2001. His original manuscript, along with his personal correspondence and designs are part of the State Library’s collection.
William Bligh's Logbooks
Perhaps the most famous, most notorious, most written about mutiny in history occurred on a small ship with a scratch crew, captained by William Bligh.
It occurred during a relatively insignificant voyage to transport breadfruit from Tahiti to the West Indies. For reasons unknown to this day, Bligh’s mentee Christian Fletcher instigated the mutiny on the HMS Bounty on 28 April 1789. Bligh and 18 men were forced onto a seven-metre open longboat with a make-shift sail.
For 47 days – 20 of which were hailing – the men lived on a pittance of food, sailing the 6710-kilometre journey to Timor. Bligh continued to write in his logbook during the longboat voyage, making sure the books were kept secure and dry. It is the only record written at the time of this infamous event in our history! This most sought-after maritime log was presented to the Library in 1902 by Bligh’s grandson, and has been kept safe in our collection ever since!
Follow the discussion on the Library's Twitter page using the hashtag #UNESCOpitch.