History of our nation | State Library of New South Wales

History of our nation

The Library's unrivalled collections provide a fascinating insight into the first encounters with the original inhabitants and amazing insights into how European explorers discovered, charted and settled this vast land.


Australian agricultural and rural life

Discover more about early Australian agriculture and our rural past from the collections of the State Library of NSW.

Aviation in Australia

Aviation in Australia traces the history of flight from its infancy through to the twentieth century. The European dreamers and experimenters of the 1780s influenced Australia's first balloonists.

Dixson map collection

The Dixson map collection digitisation project has enabled the digitisation of over a thousand rare and valuable maps from the bequest of Sir William Dixson.

Eureka! The rush for gold

Discover more about the Australian goldrushes of the 19th century and the lives of those who worked the goldfields

Exploration - trailblazing the Australian interior

Discover more about early exploration of Australia's interior through the Library's collections of original journals, pictures and maps.

Indigenous Australians

Discover and explore interpretations of Aboriginal culture, history, language and art through selections from the Library's stunning collections of manuscripts, artworks, photographs and printed books.

Law & justice in Australia

From the earliest days of colonisation our Australian identity has been influenced by government policy, landmark legal decisions and the powerful personalities who shape our complex political landscape.

Macquarie era

Governor Lachlan Macquarie, the fifth governor of New South Wales, was a man with great vision for a great nation.

Religion, church & missions in Australia

Religion, Church & Missions examines the fascinating history and impact of religious beliefs, practices and institutions on the development of Australian society.

From Terra Australis to Australia

Explore the journals, logbooks, letters, paintings, drawings and books documenting the adventures of the first British settlers in Australia, including the Library's priceless collection of First Fleet documents.

Sir Thomas Mitchell: mapmaker

With thanks to the generous support of The Institution of Surveyors NSW Inc - Seniors Group, we have been able to digitise the Library's collection of maps created by Sir Thomas Mitchell.

Voyages of discovery - the Great South Land

Discover more about early navigation and voyages of discovery in search of the 'Great South Land'

The Spanish quest for Terra Australis

Pedro Fernandes de Queirós was a navigator best known for his voyages of discovery in search of the great south land.

The Wallis album

Discovered in Ontario, Canada, as part of a deceased estate, the beautiful Wallis Album was purchased at auction by the State Library of NSW in October 2011.

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The Library Visionaries is a new group of supporters who are keen to make a difference to our children's educational future through digital learning.