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5.5 Appendix E: Notable Acquisitions


In 2018–19, notable Australian and overseas publications acquisitions included:

  • ephemera and websites relating to the 2019 federal election. The Library collected print materials from registered political parties, candidates, and lobby and special interest groups. More than 980 election-related websites were collected, including party and candidate websites; media, commentary and video websites; lobby and special interest group websites; and electoral study and research websites. Collecting for the 2019 federal election included a greater focus on Twitter accounts, which proved an excellent way to document the daily events of the campaign. Selected accounts included those of: betting agencies Ladbrokes and Sportsbet, who documented the daily odds; the high profile, satirical Captain GetUp!; political cartoonists David Rowe and David Pope, who tweeted daily cartoons; Prime Minister Scott Morrison; and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten. The Library also documented the Chinese social media platform WeChat’s role in the election.
  • ephemera and websites relating to Asian and Pacific elections. The Library collected election websites for national elections held in Thailand, Indonesia, India, Fiji and the Solomon Islands. The Library selected websites that were highly vulnerable, including those of political parties and non-government and research organisations. Indonesian collecting was supplemented by the collection of ephemera, sourced by staff at the Jakarta office (see page 21)
  • titles that reflect Indigenous and culturally and linguistically diverse communities. These included Living in Hope: A Memoir, which tells the story of the late Frank Byrne, a member of the Stolen Generations. It won the Small Press Network’s 2018 Most Underrated Book Award and was described by the judges as an ‘important story of survival and hope’. The Library also collected The Missing Man: From the Outback to Tarakan, the story of Len Waters, the Royal Australian Air Force’s only Second World War Aboriginal fighter pilot; and Ninu Grandmother’s Law, the autobiography of Nura Nungalka Ward, a Yankunytjatjara woman from the Central Desert. New electronic publications included Australian Macedonian Today—Awstralisko Makedonski Denes, The Australian Panorama Arabic Newspaper and a Chinese–English bilingual monthly magazine CBRLife—堪生活
  • bestselling adult and children’s authors in translation. Many Australian works—including, increasingly, children’s books—are republished in translation by Asian publishers. This year, the Library collected translated editions of Andy Griffiths’ Treehouse series and Richard Flanagan’s The Narrow Road to the Deep North, winner of the 2014 Man Booker Prize. It also collected several Chinese versions of Kaz Cooke’s bestselling advice books, including Kid-wrangling, Girl Stuff and The Little Book of Stress. It also acquired the Chinese version of a title from the Library’s own publishing arm: NLA Publishing’s Have You Seen My Egg? written by Penny Olsen and illustrated by Rhonda N. Garward. This children’s title won an award for China’s National Popular Science Books of Excellence 2017.


In 2018–19, notable map acquisitions included:

  • a Map of the Third Military District, Showing Battalion and Training Areas under Defence Act 1903–18. Adding to the Library’s strong collection of First World War recruitment materials, the map is unique to Australian libraries. It was issued in 1917 as the Australian Government’s focus on recruitment entered a more systematic and concentrated phase.
  • items associated with the merchant mariner Benjamin Francis (Frank) Helpman. The Library acquired a small but significant formed collection of seven items. Helpman made a number of intercolonial voyages between South Australia, Western Australia and Victoria in the 1840s to 1860s. He was also aboard the HMS Beagle in 1837–1840, and published an account of the famous voyage. The maps and calculations appear to be connected to a voyage in August 1848 to bring the Right Reverend Augustus Short, Anglican Bishop of Adelaide, to Fremantle.
  • an important topographical map of Java, Kaart van het eiland Java (Map of the Island of Java) published by German naturalist, ethnographer and explorer Franz Wilhelm Junghuhn in 1855. The limited print edition was acquired with a related publication signed by pioneer American naturalist of Indonesia Dr Thomas Horsfield, whose manuscript map of Indonesia is also held by the Library. Junghuhn’s map is a large-scale topographical map of the island, with known holdings limited to a few research libraries in the Netherlands and Germany. The acquisition bridges a gap in the Library’s cartographic account of Indonesia, with excellent early detail of Java.
  • Uranographia Britannica, an unpublished celestial atlas created by British astronomer John Bevis in 1748. The star maps represent many years of astronomical observation and
    computation for establishing the configuration and scale of the solar system at a time when accurate measurement of longitude was of key importance.


In 2018–19, notable picture acquisitions included:

  • the Robert McFarlane photographic archive, a large archive from one of Australia’s leading photographers of the second half of the twentieth century. McFarlane’s archive comprises thousands of negatives, slides, transparencies, contact sheets and black-andwhite prints. The works span a period of over 50 years; they cover social issues and politics, and depict street scenes and portraits of significant Australians (with a particular focus on actors and writers).
  • works from the Thomas Balcombe family collection 1851–1857, with highlights including the artist’s only known self-portrait, a sketchbook and artwork Gundaroo Natives. The enduring value of Balcombe’s style lies in his ‘honest’ rendering of the people he encountered, especially Aboriginal people. The acquisition is representative of Balcombe’s output, capturing Indigenous life and culture, as well as colonial life and practices, and mining. It provides an important counterpoint to representations of Australian life by S.T. Gill and others in the Library’s collection.
  • 6,850 black-and-white photographic prints by Fairfax photographers. Capturing a significant slice of Aboriginal life across the twentieth century, the photographs include well-known personalities and community leaders. The strong coverage of the east coast and urban areas provides geographical balance to the Library’s existing photographic holdings (which have a Northern Territory and South Australian regional focus).
  • photographic material of the Murray and Thursday Island communities, 1989–1992, acquired from filmmaker and photographer Dr Trevor Graham. Graham produced the acclaimed biographical documentary Mabo: Life of an Island Man (1997). The images were taken during Graham’s location scouting and throughout the Mabo case. The material features plaintiffs and witnesses for the case, as well as island culture and life at that time, and complements the papers of Edward Koiki Mabo.


In 2018–19, notable manuscripts acquisitions included:

  • the papers of A.B. ‘Banjo’ Paterson. Held by four generations of the Paterson family, this collection represents the last remaining tranche of material not already held in a public institution. The collection of diaries, notebooks, drafts of poems and other writings, correspondence, scrapbooks, ephemera, photographs and realia provides insight into Paterson’s daily activities, intellectual endeavours and many professional roles: lawyer, poet, horseman, soldier, writer, station owner and journalist. There is significant draft material, invaluable in what it reveals about Paterson’s writing processes, including an early version of Waltzing Matilda and several chapters of Paterson’s unpublished manuscript memoir. A feature of the correspondence is letters from Paterson to his wife, Alice, and his children, Hugh and Grace. The papers complement the letters of Paterson’s mother, Rose Paterson, and the Waltzing Matilda music manuscript notated by Christina Macpherson, also held in the Library
  • papers of author Helen Garner, adding to her existing archive. This tranche comprises material from 2005–2014 relating to Garner’s multi–award winning non-fiction book This House of Grief (2014) about the trials of Robert Farquharson. There are trial transcripts, heavily annotated by Garner, interviews, correspondence, literary drafts, detailed journals kept by Garner while researching and writing the book, and press clippings. This material richly demonstrates Garner’s meticulous working process, revealing her insights and observations and illustrating her connections with subjects, friends and her readers
  • papers of internationally acclaimed composer Bruce Smeaton, covering the period from the 1970s to the 2000s. Donated by Smeaton, they include original Australian and international film and television scores, draft material and related papers. Highlights include Smeaton’s scores for Picnic at Hanging Rock, The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith, the Ringo Starr film Iceman, the Steve Martin comedy Roxanne and the Meryl Streep film Plenty, as well as works for television including Seven Little Australians, Ben Hall, A Town like Alice and The Eureka Stockade
  • a letter from social reformer Florence Nightingale to Robert Selby Esq. concerning Selby’s manuscript Aborigines of New South Wales (1864). The letter demonstrates Nightingale’s influence, providing context for her activities and the development of her opinions about Indigenous Australians. In the letter she refers to one of her lectures, subsequently published as Note on the Aboriginal Races of Australia: A Paper Read at the Annual Meeting of the National Association for the Promotion of Science (1865), which the Library holds as part of the Ferguson Collection
  • other notable manuscripts, including the papers of: feminist theologian Dr Barbara Thiering; historian Professor Jenny Hocking; academics Professor Libby Robin and Professor Tom Griffiths; scriptwriter Ian Davidson; the Walter Burley Griffin Society; Arena founding editor Geoff Sharp; economist Professor Peter Groenewegen; historian Emeritus Professor Jim Griffin; the Australian Greens National Office; author Anne Henderson AM; folklorist Danny Spooner; musicologist Professor Allan Marett; environmentalist Margaret Blakers; musician Peter Gelling; and senior public servant Sue Vardon AO.


In 2018–19, notable oral history and folklore acquisitions included:

  • interviews conducted by Peter Read for the Seven Years On—Continuing Life Histories of Aboriginal Leaders project, highlighting the contribution of many Indigenous leaders from diverse spheres, including Jackie Huggins and Julia Torpey Hurst
  • interviews and recordings of songs and Yawuru language as part of the Yawuru Deep History project. These are particularly pertinent in 2019, the International Year of Indigenous Languages. The Yawuru Deep History project includes an interview with Virginia Albert by Professor Ann McGrath in which Albert discusses the personal significance of speaking Yawuru. In an interview with Naomi Appleby, Dianne Appleby reflects on the way the Yawuru community engages in activities that foster a deep connection to Yawuru culture and history. The Yawuru community was also recorded singing a number of songs in language, including I Am Australian
  • an oral history interview with Alison Harcourt AO by Nikki Henningham. The interview draws attention to a pioneering Australian mathematician, statistician and academic and highlights the often-unacknowledged role of women in these fields
  • an oral history interview with Dr David Royds OAM by Rob Linn. Royds speaks of his rich career as a forensic expert and police detective, including investigations into the Bali Bombings and Lindy Chamberlain case. This interview provides fresh perspectives on two major crimes, decades apart, which deeply affected the fabric of this country
  • interviews conducted for the Australia-China Council Oral History project. The interviews show how Australians have connected with China and enrich our understanding of Australia’s place in the region. Jade Little, a mining engineer and executive director of the Australia-China Youth Dialogue, was interviewed by Michelle Potter, while Geoff Raby (who served as the Australian Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China from 2007 to 2011) and writer Thomas Keneally were interviewed by Garry Sturgess
  • interviews with Tony Sukkar AM and Josephine Sukkar AM as part of the Australian Lebanese Historical Society Oral History project. The Sukkars were interviewed by Rob Linn. Eminent Australians who are well known for their contribution to philanthropy, sports and culture, as well as their success in the construction industry, the Sukkars reflect in the interviews on their individual and shared lives.