NSW State Archives eNewsletter - ISSUE 117 June 2022

Digitisation Bonanza!

July brings an end to our 18-month long Collection Digitisation Stimulus Capital project.  We’ve been letting you know about some of the fantastic initiatives coming out of this project along the way however, it is only now that it is over that its significance can be appreciated.

This project has been a phenomenal undertaking resulting in the digitisation of 2,000 Audio-visual records, 500,000 acetate/photographic negatives, 20,000 glass plate negatives and 350,000 pages of selected paper-based material. The project has significantly increased the accessibility and discoverability of the collection and we will be seeing the benefits for many years to come.

Some specific examples of work from the project include: We'll keep you updated with all our digitisation work.

Image: NRS-22489-1_CN00003 Inside of buffet car - Waitress serving three people [State Rail]

Sydney Snapshots 1900s-1940s

A new exhibition developed in partnership with Sydney Living MuseumsSydney Snapshots, showcases images from a treasure-trove of images taken by the NSW Government Printing Office (GPO) Photographic Branch.

The images in series NRS 4481 cover a diverse range of subjects: roadworks and wharf construction, fleet visits, suburban soldier settlements, factory workshops, tourist sites, opening ceremonies for departmental buildings and significant state events. 

Discover the people, places and events that shaped our city in the first half of the 20th century, through the lens of GPO photographers, open now at the Museum of Sydney.


Walls and ceilings designs, 1907

Are you an art nouveau style lover?

The Caroline Simpson Library & Research Collection has uploaded a digitised copy of Dodd and Oulton's Walls and ceilings for the modern house from c.1907, featuring the work of artist and designer, Max Joseph Gradl, across 24 plates.

View the online catalogue here.

History Reflected

History Reflected is a collaboration between Sydney Living Museums and NSW State Archives that takes visitors on an unexpected journey through pivotal moments in our history.

The exhibition profiles 25 of the most iconic, treasured and curious items from the NSW State Archives Collection alongside bold contemporary reflections from artists, writers, curators and commentators.

Challenging, emotionally arresting and surprising, History Reflected invites audiences to contemplate the past, present and future and will change the way we look at history.

See History Reflected at Museum of Sydney before it closes on 17 July 2022.


Reading Room update


Those of you who have visited our Reading Room at the Western Sydney Records Centre recently may have noticed that we have been moving the furniture again! However, it’s all in a good cause.

We have created a dedicated imaging hub for self-copying of archives, a defined area for the viewing, collection and return of archives, and a fantastic new and expanded work area for our volunteers!

Come and see for yourself!

Stories from the archives

Made in Chinatown delves into a little-known aspect of Australia’s past: its hundreds of Chinese furniture factories.

These businesses thrived in the post-gold rush era, becoming an important economic activity for Chinese immigrants and their descendants and a vital part of Australia’s furniture industry. Yet, owing to an exclusionary vision for Australia as a bastion of ‘white’ industry and labour, these factories were targeted by anti-Chinese political campaigns and legislative restrictions.

Historian Peter Gibson uses previously untapped archival sources (including many from our Collection) to investigate the local and international factors that boosted the industry, and the business and labour practices associated with factory operation. He explores the strategies employed in efforts to resist injustice, and the place of Chinese furniture factories within the contexts of Australian enterprise, work and consumerism more broadly.

Stock brand cards digitised

We have recently added digitised copies of the series NRS 122 Large stock brand registration cards to our online catalogue, Collection Search.

This series consists of cancelled stock brand registration cards. The cards cover New South Wales brands, and are arranged alphabetically, according to name of owner of brand. Details are given of holding, location, brand application number, date of registration and the actual brand.

Search them today!


A wedding present for Princess Elizabeth

The engagement of Princess Elizabeth to Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten was officially announced on 9th July 1947.

Congratulations were quickly dispatched. On 10th July NSW Governor Lieutenant General Northcott, on the behalf of the NSW Government forwarded ‘felicitations and good wishes to the Princess Elizabeth on the occasion of her engagement to Lt. Philip Mountbatten.

Buckingham Palace announced on 31st July 1947 that a date for the wedding had been fixed. By the end of August, discussions were underway within the NSW Government as to a suitable wedding present for Princess Elizabeth.

A correspondence file held in the NSW State Archives collection reveals the drama that ensued and the story behind the gift.

Pre-order before visiting

Do you know how to pre-order records before you visit our Reading Room?

We recommend you pre-order records at least 2 working days before your visit - it gives us time to process your request and have the records ready before you arrive.

Read more on how to pre-order in our guide to using our online catalogue (Collection Search).

CSU Regional Archives online


The Charles Sturt University Regional Archives has a new Facebook page up and running.

You can also follow their blog, search their collection, and more from their website.


Upcoming webinar

There is growing realisation about the variety of records that reveal details of NSW Aboriginal lives in the 19th century, including those in our Collection.

Historian Michael Bennett will be speaking about the hundreds of men and potentially more than a few women who worked as trackers for the police, performing a variety of tasks. Their lives and careers are revealed from police records including salary registers and diaries of duties and occurrences.

Tragically, personal details of Aboriginal people are found in gaol records including photograph description books which often record the only depictions of Aboriginal people born in the early 19th century.

At a time when efforts are underway to understand the complex and heartbreaking history of Aboriginal interactions with law enforcement, Michael will highlight records that Aboriginal people can access to discover more about their own family history on the colonial frontier.

Aboriginal trackers and gaol photographs webinar
Friday 8 July 2022

Register for more of our webinars!


Our address:
Museums of History NSW
Western Sydney Records Centre
161 O'Connell Street
Kingswood, NSW 2747

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