Collection Scope

The collections consist of three shelved kilometres of manuscript materials, rare books, audiovisual material and realia, as well as digital formats. These are housed in a purpose-built repository on campus, itemised as 13,000 books and 6,000 manuscript boxes (approximately 3 million items). 

Our collection strengths in order of extent are:

  1. Australian literature, film and performance
  2. The history of armed conflict and military history
  3. 20th century Australian political history

Our contemporary manuscript holdings in Australian literature, film and performance, collected with a strategic focus on writers of the past forty years, are among the best of their kind in the world. We support these with a collection of rare Australiana books, many on permanent loan from the Bridges Library, Duntroon. Our collections in military history and armed conflict include manuscript materials and rare books of unique and lasting value—dating from the late medieval period through to recent conflicts. The third area is a recently acquired strength, centred on UNSW Canberra’s custodianship of the parliamentary papers of former Prime Minister John Howard, through an ongoing agreement with the National Archives of Australia.