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Newsflash:

Due to essential maintenance, access to some online services including the viewing of digitised items will be temporarily unavailable between 5 pm AEST on Sunday, 17 November and 8 am AEDT on Monday, 18 November 2019. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.

History

18th Century and before

Captain Cook’s voyages of discovery

Terra Australis Incognita – the unknown southern land. The existence (or not) of this mysterious, mythical place had been puzzled over since it was first hypothesised by the ancient Greeks and Romans

The Spanish quest for Terra Australis

Spanish explorer Pedro Fernandes de Queirós' quest to discover Terra Australis is documented in a number of rare 'memorials' held by the Library.

Magna Carta

The Library holds a rare manuscript version of the 1297 statute of the Magna Carta that was signed by King John at Runnymede.

An unknown warrior: mysterious portrait of an unknown, handsome young Aboriginal man

This mysterious portrait of an unknown, handsome young Aboriginal man is believed to have belonged to Governor Lachlan Macquarie, described as ‘One of the NSW Aborigines befriended by Governor Macquarie’. Part of the 10 Works in Focus series.

Power and influence on the Cumberland Plain

Sydney’s colonial gentry built mansions, held lavish parties and amassed fortunes beyond the imagination of their English relations.

The Sydney Cove Medallion

An interest by British arrivals in the quality of Sydney clay led to the making of the Sydney Cove Medallion by noted English ceramicist, Josiah Wedgwood.

19th Century

Bushrangers of New South Wales

The stories and songs of the bushrangers shine a light on Australia’s early attitude to crime, family, race and justice.

Felons

With its convict beginnings, it’s hardly surprising that New South Wales has produced more than its fair share of villains.

The Tichborne case: a Victorian melodrama

The Tichborne Case has everything; a shipwreck, a massive reward, an English inheritance, a grieving mother and an outlandish butcher from Wagga Wagga.

Convict artists in the time of Governor Macquarie

Many used their art to record and interpret the landscape and people of the early settlement.

Eureka! The rush for gold

The gold rushes and the diggers who worked the goldfields are etched into Australian folklore. Follow the story of the people who sought the glittering prize.

Thomas Sutcliffe Mort

Sydney Harbour's natural beauty has always enticed residents to settle on its foreshores.

Love letters

In the current era of instant digital communication, letters between long-distance lovers have a particular poignancy.

20th Century

David Unaipon

A great inventor, an Indigenous rights advocate and Australia's first published Aboriginal writer.

The story of May Gibbs

May Gibbs, author, illustrator and cartoonist, has captured the hearts and imaginations of generations of Australians with her lovable bush characters and fairytale landscapes.

Harry Seidler collection

Designs and photographs from Australia's best known modernist architect.

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.

Architect of the screen

Eric Thompson’s career as an architect, artist and filmmaker highlights the close connection between architecture and design in the development of the film industry.

Architecture: arrival of modernism

Architectural modernism was a revolutionary rejection of past styles and the use of architectural ornament.

Writing at Gallipoli

First hand accounts of the ANZAC landing at Gallipoli on 25 April 1915.