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Rare books and special collections: Collection Summaries


Collection Summaries

These books are a bequest from the personal library of the University's first Vice-Chancellor, Professor James Auchmuty. Professor Auchmuty's special interest in Irish history and biography is reflected in the Collection.

Auchmuty's private collection was added to through a donation by Convocation in honour of Professor Auchmuty. This includes reprint series named the English Experience and comprising facsimile editions of some 964 works printed in England between 1475 and 1640. The second is a reprint series entitled Calendar of the State Papers of the Public Record Office of Great Britain. Click here

Marcel Aurousseau was a geographer and noted for his edition of Leichhardt's letters. His collection of 240 volumes, many pre-1860, comprise of First Fleet material, first editions of the foremost Australian explorers by land and sea, as well as other significant late 18th century and early 19th century Australiana.

The Library of the Catholic Diocese of Maitland and Newcastle is a collection of books dating from 1584 and was established by the second Bishop of Maitland, Dr. James Murray (1865-1909) and substantially augmented by his successor, Dr. P.V. Dwyer (1909-1931). Additionally, we hold the Collection of books formerly located at the Redemptionist Monastery in Mayfield.

This is the personal library of local identity Ben Champion, dentist and local historian. The Champion Collection is mainly of local historical interest and includes a manuscript copy of the history of Newcastle Hospital.

The personal library of William Coleborne, author of the first Ph.D. thesis at the University of Newcastle October 1965.

Book Donated by In honour of
Journal of a voyage to New South Wales, 1790, by John White Gwendoline and M. H. Ellis first conferring of degrees in 1966
The Bigge Report, 1822 Gwendoline and M. H. Ellis installation of the first Chancellor, Sir Alister McMullin
Gatherings of a naturalist in Australia, 1860, by George Bennett Laurie and Heath Architects opening of the Auchmuty Library, 1968
The History of New Holland, 1787, by William Eden Friends of the University 500,000th book, 1984

Melbourne writer Robert Dessaix, following a visit to Newcastle in 2000, donated a significant collection of some eighty books of Australian gay and lesbian literature and poetry.

The personal library of Jess Dyce, poet, teacher and author. She received the Newton-John Award in 1981 for her substantial contribution to teaching in New South Wales.

In addition to the commemorative volumes mentioned above, Mr. and Mrs. Ellis donated 97 additional volumes in the fields of Australian history, including First Fleet material, a 1773 edition of Hawkesworth's Voyages, and London and its environs, published in 1820.

The Cornell and Hartley collections consist of bequests of French language volumes from the personal libraries of Emeritus Professor James Gladstone Cornell and Professor Kelver Hartley.

A small collection comprising of 18 volumes that formed part of the law library of the Fitzgerald White Talbot Legal Practice of Muswellbrook established in 1879. It consists primarily of pre-1900 legal texts, from S. Toller's Law of Crimes and Misdemeanours (1827), through to Bythewood and Jarman's System of Conveyancing (1884-1890).

This is a collection of some 2,200 pamphlets acquired from the late Nancy Gray of Scone. The Collection comprises mainly of regional material published in this century, with some items dating back to the mid-19th century.

The collections of the Cox, Glennie and Wyndham and the Windeyer and Traill families comprise of the libraries of early Hunter pioneering families.. The books in the Collections reflect what wealthy, educated individuals were reading in the 19th century.

The University's collection of James Joyce material is the strongest in Australia. It was begun in the 1960s at the behest of the internationally distinguished James Joyce scholar, Professor Clive Hart.

This collection comprises of 640 volumes from the original Lambton Mechanics Institute Library, a subscription-based library that was a pre-cursor to modern public libraries. Membership cost three shillings a quarter. The Institute was opened in 1867 and by 1893 and had 2,300+ volumes.

A collection of poetry, prose, literature and pamphlets purchased with the Reta Light bequest funding. Most are first editions printed in the nineteenth century.

This is a collection of 2,700+ volumes from St. John's College Morpeth, donated by the Anglican Diocese of Newcastle, and includes editions of major theological and philosophical works printed in the 16th-18th centuries.

Donated in November 2004 by Dr Jean Talbot, in memory of her husband. Norman Talbot was a scholar of the life and work of William Morris (1834-1896) author, poet, artist, manufacturer, and founder of the arts and crafts movement. It consists of two complete sets of William Morris' Collected Works. A facsimile version of the Kelmscott Chaucer was later purchased as a complement to this collection.

This collection is the personal library of Captain Taylor who was stationed at Orpheus Island, one of a small group of Islands in the Great Barrier Reef about 80 kilometres north of Townsville.

This is the personal library of Alderman Frank Purdue former Lord Mayor of Newcastle and strong supporter of the University. The Purdue Collection comprises material presented to him when acting in his official capacity.

Our Renaissance Collection comprises of volumes drawn from the Morpeth Collection, existing Auchmuty Library collections and items purchased through the Reta Light Fund.

Donated to the University from the estate of the late Miss E.M. Seaward, whose father, the collection includes a number of interesting pamphlets relating to the First World War and its aftermath including the League of Nations.

Distinctive serial titles include: The Annual Register, 1748-1809; Almanac de Gotha, 1811- 1941; The Naval Chronicle, vols 1-4, 22, 1799-1818; Transactions of the Royal Irish Academy, vols 1-33, 1787-1907;The Art Journal, 1851-1910 and New South Wales Government Gazette.

Distinctive serial titles include: The Annual Register, 1748-1809; Almanac de Gotha, 1811- 1941; The Naval Chronicle, vols 1-4, 22, 1799-1818; Transactions of the Royal Irish Academy, vols 1-33, 1787-1907;The Art Journal, 1851-1910 and New South Wales Government Gazette.

The Tanner Library is the personal collection of 6,000+ works belonging to the late Professor Godfrey Tanner (1927-2002). It is an eclectic collection containing volumes on texts and commentaries on Latin and Greek classics, the Classical Tradition, the Christian tradition in antiquity, histories of the ancient world, its literature and ideas - religious, philosophical, social, political - studies in the form and development of ancient languages, commentaries on texts in English, French and German and more.

This is the private library of the lateBrian Tomson. He was a lecturer in the English Department teaching in the fields of Old and Middle English studies as well as being an accomplished chess player.

The personal library of the late Dr John Turner (1933 - 1998), local historian and lecturer. The library is rich in Australian history and local studies.

This is the personal library of Mr Allan Watkins, author and journalist on the Newcastle Herald. The collection includes a complete collection of his articles, novels, and short stories. Included are his "Letters for Home" written in Darwin during World War II.