Books and literature

Shakespeare - his birthplace, home and grave

In 1864 the Reverend John M. Jephson published his book on the birthplace, home, and grave of Shakespeare. Nestled within the pages of text are a series of photographs of sites relating to Shakespeare’s life in Stratford-on-Avon.

Splendid Species

The Library is delighted to announce the complete digitisation of its renowned "pattern" set of 681 folio-sized plates for  'The Birds of Australia' by John Gould. 

Catching a cab

A surprise bestseller in 1886, Fergus Hume’s The Mystery of a Hansom Cab continues to intrigue.

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.

Ethel Turner's Seven Little Australians

"We have decided to go to Lindfield. It will be like being buried alive to live in a quiet little country place after the bustle and excitement of town life."

A distant paradise for Dickens

Charles Dickens saw Australia as a utopia for the working class — and his wayward sons.

Dorothea Mackellar's My Country

"I love a sunburnt country": Learn the history of one of Australia's best loved poems.

Andre Breton: early Surrealist publications

Between 1919 and 1930  Andre Breton published experimental texts that defined the Surrealist movement.

Henry Lawson: poet of the people

A writer wrote of the hearts of men, and he followed their tracks afar;

For his was a spirit that forced his pen to write of the things that are.

The enjoyment of a good story: 19th-century children's books

From tales of colonial adventure to moralising educational tracts, children’s literature in nineteenth-century Australia played a significant role in educating children as the nation’s future citizens. 

Through Darwin's eyes

Australia played an important role in Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.

Decoration and Glass magazine

Decoration and Glass, a magazine for home builders, architects and decorators has been digitised in colour as part of the Library’s Digital Excellence Program. 

Illuminated manuscripts

Illuminated manuscripts are some of the most beautiful written works ever produced.

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.

Shakespeare at the Library

Discover the fascinating story behind Shakespeare's First Folio and other stories featuring Shakespeare in the Library.