Society, Art & Culture | State Library of New South Wales

Society, Art & Culture

Through the Library's significant collections, these stories trace the development of a unique Australian culture, enriched by immigration from all over the world. 

The creative arts and sporting fields have produced internationally reknowned photographers and architects, distinguished authors, playwrights, and accomplished visual artists, dancers and sportspeople. 



From early colonial influences to a uniquely contemporary style, Australian architecture expresses a strong sense of place.

Australian Jewish community and culture

Australian Jewish Community and Culture explores the journeys, activities and contribution of Jewish people to Australia, and their influence on Australian culture, from the arrival of the First Fleet to the present day.

Cricket in Australia

Australians love cricket but as with all sports, competing against ourselves is just the beginning. Being selected to play for your country is the ultimate goal.

Day at the races: the horse in Australia

Discover more about the history of horse-racing in Australia and the importance of the horse in colonial life

French in Australia

The history of the French in Australia dates from the arrival of the La Perouse expedition at Botany Bay in January 1788, just days after the landing of the First Fleet.

Harry Seidler collection

Any shortlist of great Australian architects would be incomplete without one name: Harry Seidler. Born in Vienna in 1923, he arrived in Australia at the age of 25 and began his architectural practice, becoming famous for his modernist designs.

Henry Lawson

Find out more about Henry Lawson, the man, his work and the legend, through the rich collections of the State Library of NSW.

May Gibbs

Discover more about May Gibbs (1877-1969), children's author and illustrator, who captured the hearts of generations of Australians

Papua New Guinea (PNG): Forty Years of Independence

Papua New Guinea has been an independent country for 40 years on September 16, 2015.


Photographs represent tangible and direct links with the past. Each image is an intriguing record of technological, social and artistic change.

Shipboard: the nineteenth century emigrant experience

Discover more about the onboard experiences of 19th century immigrants to Australia from the UK through diaries, images and letters dealing with life at sea.

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