Aerial photographs
Historic aerial photography allows researchers to view a landscape, town or even a building from the air, as it was at a particular point in time. The Library holds a national series of imagery of Australia, collected between 1928 and 1988. All Australian States and major regions are represented in...
GEOGRAPHY
Australian birth, death and marriage records
This guide to Australian birth, death and marriage (BDM) records provides: Links to State and Territory Registry offices and to [their] freely accessible online indexes, where available Links to Library networked BDM indexes (on eResources) Links to Library subscription resources (for access within...
FAMILY HISTORY AND GENEALOGY
Australian cemetery records
The National Library has a large collection of cemetery records for regions throughout Australia. Many records are kept on microfiche and are listed in the Family History Sources in the Newspapers and Family History zone guide. Other records are listed on the catalogue and can be found using the...
FAMILY HISTORY AND GENEALOGY
Australian companies
The National Library of Australia provides access to or holds within its collections a wide range of resources and material relating to Australian companies.  These include: company histories directories annual reports biographies interviews with prominent business men and women ephemera These...
COMPANIES
Australian electoral rolls
Electoral rolls list people who are registered to vote at federal, state, territory and local government elections and referenda. Before Federation and for some years afterwards, there were separate rolls for Commonwealth and for state elections. The Commonwealth Electoral Commission now produces...
FAMILY HISTORY AND GENEALOGY
Australian Indigenous family history
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are advised that this research guide contains the names and images of people who are now deceased. Before you begin Talk to as many family members as you can. Family members will often have valuable information such as names (including nicknames), dates...
FAMILY HISTORY AND GENEALOGY, INDIGENOUS AUSTRALIA
Australian Indigenous language collections
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers are advised that this guide contains references to collections which may be considered culturally sensitive.  The National Library's Manuscripts collection contains original written records relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and...
INDIGENOUS AUSTRALIA, LANGUAGE, MANUSCRIPTS
Australian Joint Copying Project
The Australian Joint Copying Project or AJCP is a collection of historical material relating to Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific dating from 1560 to 1984. The material has been drawn from records held in the United Kingdom and microfilmed. The microfilms in the collection are divided into two...
FAMILY HISTORY AND GENEALOGY, HISTORY, LAW, MILITARY HISTORY, PACIFIC
Australian law
If you are researching law for the first time, you may find it worthwhile reading an overview of law in Australia and Australia’s legal system: Making a law—Parliamentary Education Office factsheet Explore the law: an A-Z of key jargon and sources, ComLaw Our catalogue A basic search in our...
Australian literature
Mark Strizic, Searching for books at the State Library of Victoria, January 1967, nla.obj-140508667 How do you search the catalogue for Australian literature? Quick search Use the Catalogue standard search  to find titles, authors or subjects.  If you get too many results, use the Narrow search ...
LITERATURE
Australian maps for family historians
The Library holds a range of Australian property mapping useful to family historians and others looking for details of their ancestor’s landholdings or movements at a given time.  This guide includes details of how to find and use: Pastoral or squatting maps Parish and county maps Real estate or...
FAMILY HISTORY AND GENEALOGY, GEOGRAPHY, MAPS
Australian newspapers
Our Australian newspaper collections include digitised historic and modern newspapers accessible online, as well as newspapers in microform and paper formats. We collect or subscribe to: Australian capital city dailies, major regional city newspapers, a range of other country town newspapers,...
COMMUNICATIONS AND MEDIA, FAMILY HISTORY AND GENEALOGY, NEWSPAPERS
Australian politics and government
Introduction Government in Australia is three-tiered: Commonwealth (or Federal), State and Local. You can find information about how government works in Australia through a number of official websites, including Parliament of Australia, including The Australian system of government Australia.gov.au...
GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS
Australian shipping and passenger records
  The arrival of an ancestor in Australia is a key moment in a family's history. They may have arrived as a fare-paying passenger, as an 'assisted' migrant, a member of a ship's crew, in military or naval service, or as a convict. Your ancestor may have arrived as an individual or with family....
FAMILY HISTORY AND GENEALOGY
Australian topographic maps
What is a topographic map? A topographic map provides a visual reference to the layout of a landscape.  It represents the natural and made environment using a system of measurement (scale), grid references and symbols.  It can be used to explore the sense of a place and its relationships to other...
GEOGRAPHY, MAPS
Biography
Start with what you know Think about the person you are researching. Do you know: their full name and other names they were known by? their life dates - are they alive or dead? the names of organisations or groups they belonged to? their nationality or country of residence? any significant...
BIOGRAPHY
British and Irish maps for family historians
The Library holds a large international collection of maps that supports family history research. This guide suggests map resources to try when researching the British or Irish origins of your family.  The guide includes details of how to find and use: Gazetteers Ordnance Survey maps of Britain and...
FAMILY HISTORY AND GENEALOGY, GEOGRAPHY, MAPS
British Parliamentary publications and information
British Parliamentary publications are valuable primary sources for research into British and dominion history, including Australia. The Library has significant holdings of published British sources. These include: Parliamentary Papers and Debates, including online access (for National Library card...
GOVERNMENT PUBLICATIONS, LAW, GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS
Convicts
From January 1788, when the First Fleet of convicts arrived at Botany Bay, to the end of convict transportation 80 years later, over 160,000 convicts were transported to Australia.  Although convicts were transported to the colonies of New South Wales, Tasmania and Western Australia, many convicts...
FAMILY HISTORY AND GENEALOGY, HISTORY
Ebooks
The Library provides access to thousands of ebooks through its website, catalogue and eResources service. These include: National Library publications Digitised historical books from our collections Items published electronically and deposited by publishers under Legal Deposit Subscriptions to...
BIBLIOGRAPHIC TOOLS, BOOK TRADE, LITERATURE, MULTIDISCIPLINARY
eResources at the National Library
Our eResources portal has been designed with easy access in mind, combining previous functionality with new features that enhance discoverability and make searching easier, more flexible, and more efficient. You can do full-text searches of most of our online content, rather than having to enter...
Family history
The Library's collections offer a wealth of resources to the Australian family historian. Many family history sources are now available electronically. Check our eResources for titles under the subject of Genealogy (visit the eResources portal, click the Browse eResources tab and then click...
FAMILY HISTORY AND GENEALOGY
Federation
On 1 January 1901, the six existing self-governing British colonies of New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, Tasmania, South Australia and Western Australia, came together in union to create the Commonwealth of Australia. This was what was known as Federation and was the culmination of a decades-...
GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS, HISTORY
First World War
The National Library of Australia has extensive holdings of material concerning Australia's involvement in the First World War.  These cover all formats, including: printed works newspapers manuscripts pictorial oral history realia online This guide aims to introduce researchers to key collections...
HISTORY, MILITARY HISTORY
Government gazettes
What is a gazette? A gazette is an official publication for the purpose of notifying the actions and decisions of the government. All Australian governments (Commonwealth, State and Territory) publish official gazettes. Notices published in government gazettes cover all aspects of government...
GOVERNMENT PUBLICATIONS, LAW, COMMUNICATIONS AND MEDIA
Indian emigration passes to Fiji 1879-1916
The Library acknowledges the National Archives of Fiji as custodians of the original collection material. The passes have been digitised and are freely available online through the National Library of Australia. They can be consulted in several ways including Acces by arrival date, Acess by ship's...
FAMILY HISTORY AND GENEALOGY, PACIFIC
League of Nations
Introduction The League of Nations was the forerunner to the present United Nations. The Treaty of Versailles, including the Covenant of the League of Nations was signed on 28 June 1919 and was the first political treaty signed by Australian officials since Federation. A history of the signing,...
LAW, INTERNATIONAL ORGANISATIONS AND RELATIONS, GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS
Music
  The National Library of Australia has the largest collection of sheet music in the country, comprising of over 300,000 items. The bulk of the collection relates to Australian composers, performers and music publishing houses.   You can find:   Australian published and unpublished sheet music...
MUSIC
Overseas Newspapers
Our overseas newspaper collections include digitised historic and modern newspapers accessible online, as well as newspapers in microform and paper formats. We collect: Overseas newspapers—we have the largest collection of overseas newspapers in Australia. Our newspaper collections from Asia and...
NEWSPAPERS
Overseas series mapping
The National Library holds mapping not only for Australia, but for every country and ocean in the world and also for all the planets. These maps may be standard topographic maps (showing terrain features), or may cover one or more themes, such as tourist information, roads, railways, geology,...
GEOGRAPHY, MAPS
Pacific
The Library's Pacific Collections webpage provides a general description of the Pacific-related materials held in our collections and highlights some of our treasures in this area. The Library's catalogue can be searched to locate other materials on the Pacific Island Region. Select Browse Subjects...
PACIFIC
Standards
What information do you need? Standards can be identified in three main ways: Standard number,  e.g. AS/NZS 2032: 2006 (prefix + number: year) Standard title, e.g. Installation of PVC pipe systems Keyword: e.g. PVC pipe You only need to know one of these elements to start planning your search....
STANDARDS
Statistics
The Macquarie Dictionary defines statistics as the 'science which deals with the collection, classification, and use of numerical facts or data.' It may be necessary to obtain statistical data to support or illustrate your research. This guide is intended to help you with this. What the Library...
HISTORY, SOCIAL SCIENCES, STATISTICS
The 1967 Referendum
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are advised that this research guide contains names and images of deceased people. All users of this research guide should also be aware that certain words, terms, or descriptions may be culturally sensitive and are considered inappropriate today, but...
INDIGENOUS AUSTRALIA
Torres Strait Islands Collection
Old TI ‘Old TI’ is a phrase used by Torres Strait Islanders to describe a time on Thursday Island between 1890 to 1980. This period saw many outsiders (notably from Samoa, Niue, Rotuma, Lifou, Malaysia, the Philippines, Japan, China, Jamaica and Spain) make the Torres Strait their home. Old TI is...
INDIGENOUS AUSTRALIA, MANUSCRIPTS
United Nations
Background The United Nations (UN) was established on 24 October 1945 by 51 countries, with the stated goal of organising to: 'preserve peace through international cooperation and collective security'. 193 countries are now member states of the UN, all of which are listed on their Member States...
INTERNATIONAL ORGANISATIONS AND RELATIONS
United States Congressional publications and information
United States Congressional publications are of interest as primary sources for students of United States history for United States foreign and economic policy other public affairs issues of interest to other countries (US foreign policy) Background to the National Library collection The National...
LAW, GOVERNMENT PUBLICATIONS, GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS
Using the Special Collections Reading Room
  The National Library of Australia’s special collections include rare books and journals, artworks, photographs, maps, sheet music, oral history recordings, manuscript papers, ephemera and more. This material can be accessed in the Special Collections Reading Room on level 1 of the Library...
About the guides
Use our guides to explore the depths of our rich collections. You will find research advice, key resources, featured collection items, selected websites and research case studies.
We also have a number of other related resources to assist you in your research, including:
eResources
Published guides and bibliographies
Videos
Learning program
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF COUNTRY
The National Library of Australia (NLA) acknowledges Australia’s First Nations Peoples – the First Australians – as the Traditional Owners and Custodians of this land and gives respect to the Elders – past and present – and through them to all Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
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