Newsflash:

Public holiday: the Library will be open on 3 October. View opening hours

Stories from our exhibitions

Current exhibitions

All well & good

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

A changing world

Children’s picture books reflect the world that makes them, but must try to remake that world too.

The graphic design of Donald Fish

Boxes filled with artwork, illustrations, posters, photographs and advertisements mark an acclaimed designer's life.

Grand vistas

Sixteen panoramas will displayed in the inaugural exhibition of the Library’s new Drawings, Watercolours and Prints Gallery.

Paintings from the Collection More than 300 original artworks from the Library’s unique collection of landscape and portrait paintings on permanent public display.

Americans on campus: part of the Works in Focus series

Sydney Teacher’s College was co-located on the grounds of Sydney University where American Military Police units were billeted, describing the impact of the Americans on campus. Part of the Works in Focus series.

A hint of eccentricity: a beautifully rendered, somewhat playful portrait

One of Australia’s most influential artists, George Washington Lambert (1873–1930), as part of the Works in Focus series.

After life: Maurice Felton’s portrait of 21-year-old Sophia

Looking at the portrait of this young woman, so full of life, you would never think it was painted after her death. But we know the sitter, posed so serenely in this picture, had died six months before it was exhibited at the artist’s Sydney studio. Part of the Works in Focus series.

‘A degree of neatness & regularity’: part of the Works in Focus series

Sydney — Capital New South Wales was painted around 1800 — its solid buildings and carefully laid out gardens refute the idea that it was a cesspit of depravity at a time when the city was associated with 'the awful depravity of human nature'.

Arresting gaze

A compelling portrait of a young colonial woman has been given new life. 

Behind the scenes in our new galleries

We’ve almost doubled our gallery space to show more of the Library’s collection and give exhibition visitors a chance to make their own connections.

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 Works in Focus series.

Past exhibitions

Following the river

Darug people share a deeper story of Dyarubbin, the Hawkesbury River.

Tricks in the mirror

Generations of magicians visited Australia or began their careers here at a time when ‘wonder workers’ were a dominant force in the entertainment industry.

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.

Curating Eight Days in Kamay

In 1770 the Gweagal people of Kamay (Botany Bay) discovered James Cook and the Endeavour. The Library’s new exhibition explores the eight days that followed.

Eight days in Kamay

On 29 April 1770, the Gweagal people of Kamay (Botany Bay) discovered James Cook and his crew as they sailed into the bay and came ashore. The eight days that followed changed the course of Australia’s history. 250 years later the events of those eight days and their continuing impact are still being debated, contested, felt.

'Demonstrations were our internet'

Fifty years after the first gay rights organisation was founded in NSW, the activism of the 1970s still resonates.

Coming Out in the 70s

Gay and lesbian life went public in the 70s. Speaking up and standing out, gay men and women took to the streets proudly demanding to be seen, heard and accepted.  

These chapters draw from stories and records in the Library’s collection to explore how the gay and lesbian rights movement emerged in NSW in the 1970s.  

Mythical country: Vietnam in 1950s posters

Looking through Vietnamese art posters collected in the 1950s elicits complicated feelings all these years later.

Reclaiming our story

A contributor to the Library’s Living Language exhibition reflects on Indigenous resistance, survival, and the New England linguicide.

Stories in the sun

The Library holds vast collections on Australian children’s book publishing in the ‘golden age’ of the 1970s and 80s.

Electric image: 1980s poster art and one Sydney band

An eye-catching poster got the message out for an emerging Sydney band in 1980.

Living language: Aboriginal languages in New South Wales

A major exhibition opening in July at the Library will celebrate UNESCO’s International Year of Indigenous Languages.