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Prized Australian history heads to Port Macquarie

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Captain Cook’s shoe buckle and a rare convict letter are among the extraordinary items from the State Library’s world-renowned collection heading to primary schools in Port Macquarie Wauchope from 25 to 27 July.

Deputy Premier of NSW and Minister for the Arts, Troy Grant said that the State Library’s valuable FAR Out! Treasures to the Bush initiative has reached over 22,500 students in regional areas across the state.

“Since 2012, over 350 schools have enjoyed the Library’s popular FAR Out! Treasures to the Bush initiative, and I’m thrilled it is heading to Port Macquarie for the first time to show primary school students these amazing items relating to the discovery and exploration of our nation,” Mr Grant said.

The FAR Out! program is just one of the unique learning services the Library offers students and teachers, with extensive online services and learning resources available to all on the Library’s website.

“We’re adding more and more riches to our website every day, and providing remote access to our extensive heritage material through digitisation, online resources and video conferencing, but actually seeing these original and unique historic items has a special appeal!” said NSW State Librarian & Chief Executive, Alex Byrne.

“The State Library is committed to giving regional and remote communities of NSW the opportunity to experience some of the original documents of our nation, and hopefully inspire their interest in Australian history,” Dr Byrne said.

From 25 to 27 July the State Library’s Learning team will run fun and interactive activities with students and teachers around a selection of landmark Australian treasures including:

  • a letter written by convict Mary Reibey in 1792 who became Australia’s first business woman;
  • a sketch by Indigenous Australian artist, Tommy McRae, Sketch of Squatters, 1864;
  • local Indigenous Australian word lists from 1899-1903; and
  • Captain Cook’s shoe buckle

“The State Library is the home of Australia's history and taking artefacts and manuscripts to schools in rural and regional NSW allows students and teachers to connect with our past in a very real way,” said Megan Perry, Learning Manager.

The State Library has developed learning resources for the NSW Syllabus for the Australian curriculum. Some of the historic items we’re taking to Port Macquarie will be part of our contribution to that national initiative, demonstrating the significance of the Library to the understanding of our national story,” said Ms Perry.

For more information about FAR Out! Treasures to the Bush, please contact Learning Services, State Library of NSW, on (02) 9273 1778 or

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