18th Century and before

All well & good

Twenty-first-century notions of wellness have a long lineage.

Mutiny & murder

The horrific tale of the Batavia shipwreck became one of the first true crime bestsellers.

Voyages of discovery

Europeans had been searching for rich new lands in the Southern Hemisphere long before Captain James Cook arrived on the east coast of Australia in 1770. Explore the State Library's incredible maps, journals, drawings and books.

The Art of the Title page

A title page has always told readers what the book is about, but sometimes with an artistic flourish.

The world in a book: the first atlases

In the Golden Age of Cartography, the first atlases combined the skills of the mapmaker with the ingenuity of the publisher.

Eight Days in Kamay

On 29 April 1770, the Gweagal people of Kamay (Botany Bay) discovered James Cook and his crew. 250 years later, those eight days and their impact are still being debated, contested, felt.

The real secret river: exploring Dyarubbin

A list of Aboriginal placenames was a trigger for seeking the ‘real secret river’.

19th Century

The writer & the archivist

Rose de Freycinet, a nineteenth-century French woman, stowaway and diarist, unites a writer and an archivist 200 years later.

How to colour in a ghost

The challenges of bringing a hangman known as ‘Nosey Bob’ back to life.

Reimagining the Pacific

While the Pacific has loomed large in Australia’s history, there is a riddle at the heart of our relationship with the region.

Shanty town

A recent online boom in sea shanties is a welcome surprise for longtime converts.

Finding Charlotte

Two writers’ search for their mysterious and talented forebear was full of archival riches.

Deeper history

Science and history come together in conserving the swamplands of southern Sydney.

20th Century onward

Send for Nellie

Singer, performer, toast of the town.

The Flying Pieman of Sydney, en pointe

Rediscovering costume drawings for a ballet that never was.

Billycart boys

A researcher finds that the catalogue doesn’t always get it right.

I feel like a Tooheys ... or two

Research in the Library’s manuscripts collection can be thirsty work.

Fit for a queen

A luncheon inspired by the Queen’s 1954 visit.

The long history of the power of positive thinking

Self-help enterprises that advise how to be you — but better — aren’t as new as you might think.

Calling the Koori Knockout

One of the most important sporting and cultural events on the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander calendar returns.