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University of Newcastle Library Guides

Benefactors: About our benefactors

Our benefactors

Over the past years the people of Newcastle and the Hunter Valley have shown confidence in their University, and have been generous in depositing archives and manuscripts for permanent preservation and for research use. Individuals have also endowed the University with large amounts of money (from $1.5m up to $5m) to support specific University activities. Our most significant benefactors to date are:

Miss Reta Light (1898 - 1989)

Reta Light

The Auchmuty Library's greatest benefactor Miss Reta Light (1898 - 1989) in September 1989 left the Auchmuty Library a staggering $1.5 million. The Light Memorial Trust, which was formed to administer the endowment, has from 1991 to 1999 financed $597,172 worth of acquisitions of books, periodicals, microfilms and musical scores. Please click for a biographical piece on Reta and the Light Family or visit the The Reta Light Australian Poetry Collection site. Click here for Reta Light Memorial Trust: Catalogue of Acquisitions 1991 - 2002 Compiled by Katie Smith and Marion Wilson (1.15 MB PDF).


Friends of the University

The Friends of the University have generated and donated financial support to the Library as well as the University in general. To thank the Friends of the University for their special support over many years , the University dedicated the Friends of the University Reading Room in the Special Collections Unit at a special ceremony held on Thursday 2 April, 1998.

Emeritus Professor Godfrey Tanner

Godfrey Tanner

We warmly thank the late Professor Emeritus Godfrey Tanner, Foundation Professor in Classics, here pictured with the oldest book in the collection, Eusebius ,Ecclesiasticae Historiae, published in Paris in 1544. He generously assisted in financing the restoration of this volume and also in the restoration of three other treasures from the Renaissance Collection, John Calvin's Two and Twenty Lectures upon the First Five Chapters of Jeremiah. London : Imprinted by Felix Kyngston, for Nathanael Newbery, 1620., Bishop Hugh Latimer's Frutefull sermons London : Printed by John Daye, 1584, and Nicholas Culpeper [Herbal] Physicall Directory ; or, A translation of the London Dispensatory Made by the Colledge [sic] of Physicians in London: Printed for Peter Cole, 1649.


Mrs Winsome Pender

We thank Mrs Winsome Pender, wife of the late Ian Walter Pender (1923-1988) for placing custodianship of the Pender Archive to the University of Newcastle's Special Collections Unit. The Archive consists of 2,562 individual architectural projects and includes many beautiful original water colour drawings of private and public buildings across northern NSW. The collection comprises the achievements of three generations of the Pender family as architects in Maitland, spanning 125 years from the 1860s to the 1980s and represents the archive of the longest surviving architectural firm in the English speaking world.

The Most Reverend Michael Malone, Catholic Bishop of Maitland and The Right Reverend Roger Herft, Anglican Bishop of Newcastle

We thank the Most Reverend Michael Malone, Catholic Bishop of Maitland (here pictured with the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Newcastle Roger Holmes) and the The Right Reverend Roger Herft, Anglican Bishop of Newcastle, for allowing the Special Collections Unit to house one of the largest and most comprehensive regional collections of Anglican and Catholic theological and philosophical works in Australia. We are fortunate to have the Bishop's Library Collection compiled by Catholic Bishops James Murray and Patrick Dwyer, as well as the Morpeth Collection compiled by Anglican Bishop William Tyrrell. The collections date back to 1544 and include many rare folio volumes, as well as parish registers, working papers and historical materials of the churches.

Vera Deacon Regional History Fund

Vera Deacon


The Vera Deacon Regional History Fund was set up in order to recognise and build on the generous donations provided by Stockton resident, author and historian, Vera Deacon. Vera has contributed to date over $20,000 of her own funds since 2001 to Special Collections in the University Library allowing Archives staff to conserve and catalogue a rich variety of historical materials. The purpose of this fund is to support and encourage regional history through the acquisition, preservation and study of valuable regional historical archival resources.

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