Our UNESCO World Heritage collections are displayed together for the very first time in our beautiful new galleries. These items of international significance include our unrivalled collection of First Fleet journals, personal diaries from the First World War and the world’s largest glass-plate negatives of Sydney Harbour taken in 1875.

Saturday 6 October 2018 to Sunday 5 May 2019
Admission: Free
UNESCO SIX Exhibition Guide



Displayed here together for the first time are the six State Library collections on the UNESCO Memory of the World registers. 

The Australian Memory of the World program is one of 60 worldwide. It recognises and protects heritage documents that are significant for Australia and the world. On the list are our First Fleet journals, World War 1 diaries, the Holtermann photographic collection, Dorothea Mackellar’s poetry notebook, and papers of ‘enemy aliens’ interned in Australia from 1914 to 1919.

In 2017, three giant glass-plate negatives from the Holtermann photographic collection were successfully nominated as the Library’s first listing on the UNESCO Memory of the World international register, joining only five other inscriptions from Australia.

Core of my heart - poem
Dorothea Mackellar
Digital ID: 
View collection item detail
Worn old book with bound leather spine.

For full transcripts go to Journals of the First Fleet

The Journals of the First Fleet
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For full transcripts go to Journals of the First Fleet

Restored panorama of Sydney from the Holtermann collection.
Giant Glass Plate Negatives of Sydney Harbour
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Photograph of leather bound journals and diaries
World War I diaries
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Holtermann photographic collection
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Black and white photograph of men sitting around a table playing chess, in a make shift shelter.

For a seclection of English transcripts go to the Papers of  World War I internees

First World War, German and Austro-Hungarian Internee Papers
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For a seclection of English transcripts go to the Papers of  World War I internees



Meet the curators

A smiling man poses for the camera.

Geoffrey Barker

Geoff has worked as a photography curator at the Macleay Museum, at the University of Sydney, and at the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences. He has managed museums and archives in Parramatta and Hurstville and completed his Master’s Degree on nineteenth century photography in the Pacific. Currently he is Senior Curator, Research and Discovery, State Library of New South Wales. Current research interests: Wikipedia citations, Henry Beaufoy Merlin and Freeman Brothers photographic studios.
A smiling man poses for the camera against a bright orange backdrop.

Ronald Briggs

Ronald (Gamilaroi) is originally from Moree in central north-western NSW. Trained as a schoolteacher before beginning work as Indigenous Services Librarian at the State Library of New South Wales since 1991, Ronald is a keen family historian and has also worked with the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies.
A smiling woman poses for the camera.

Anna Corkhill

Anna has worked as a curator in the Library’s Research and Discovery team since 2015. Prior to this she held curatorial positions at Sydney Living Museums (Historic Houses Trust), the Victorian Parliamentary Library and the State Library of Victoria. Anna works across a range of subject areas, but specialises in the Library’s architectural collections.
Photographic portrait of a smiling blonde woman wearing a white jacket.

Elise Edmonds

Elise is a senior curator at the State Library of New South Wales. With a background in Australian history and Museum Studies, Elise has worked with the Library’s maps, pictures and manuscript collections; acquiring, writing and promoting these to a variety of audiences. In 2009 she received a staff fellowship to research and scope the Library’s First World War collections. This led to curating several exhibitions highlighting the Library’s nationally significant First World War collections; Life Interrupted: personal diaries from World War I in 2014 and Colour in Darkness: images from the First World War in 2016. She is currently working on a final World War I exhibition examining children’s experiences during the war, planned for early 2019.
A smiling woman with brown hair poses for the camera.

Sarah Morley

Sarah has worked extensively across the Library’s archival and printed collections, in particular manuscripts and rare books, promoting their access and interpretation. She has curated a number of displays and exhibitions featuring the Library’s collections. Sarah has a passion for libraries, the history of the book, and interpretations of Australia from the earliest records to the present day.
A smiling woman poses for the camera against a white backdrop.

Maggie Patton

Maggie is the Manager, Research & Discovery at the State Library of New South Wales. She is responsible for leading the curatorial team. Maggie provides expert advice on activities that develop, interpret, and promote discovery and engagement with the significant and unique State Library’s collections. Maggie also undertakes research on the collections for exhibitions and publication. Since joining the Library Maggie has held a number of positions in reference and information services, collection management, online curation and digitisation projects. Maggie has a particular interest in maps and rare books and is working on a range of projects to enhance discovery online through digitisation and digital channels, using emerging technologies to build a range of digital experiences connecting researchers with both contemporary and heritage collections.
Photographic portrait of a red haired smiling woman, wearing glasses.

Margot Riley

Margot has curated numerous exhibitions and displays for the Library and contributes expertise across a variety of collection functions including research, acquisition and interpretation. She is a cultural historian with a special interest in popular culture, photography and dress and has written and lectured extensively about the Library's collections.
A smiling woman poses for the camera.

Alison Wishart

Before coming to the State Library of NSW in 2015, Alison worked as a curator or collections manager with the National Museum of Australia, the Australian War Memorial, the State Library of Queensland, and Museum of Tropical Queensland. She has a BA (Hons) from the University of Queensland and a Masters in Cultural Heritage (majoring in Museum Studies) from Deakin University. She is passionate about public history and has curated social history exhibitions on a diverse range of topics from football (soccer), to long distance love, to the stolen generations.

The Holtermann Collection: photographic documentation of goldfields life in Australia

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

Armistice and peace: 'now that the war is over we realise what we’ve been through'

‘The Armistice – agreeing to cease hostilities’ was signed between Germany, France and Britain at 5 am on the morning of 11 November.

Internee collections: diaries of ‘enemy aliens’

During the First World War nearly 7000 ‘enemy aliens’, mainly of German and Austro-Hungarian origin, were interned in camps in Australia. The Library’s collection of papers of ‘enemy aliens’ interned in Australia during WW1 contains around 40 handwritten diaries written by internees.

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