State Library of South Australia

Who’s been visiting the State Library recently?

Date: 3 June 2015

Visitors from Japan, UK, China, Germany, France, Korea, Iran, Canada, NSW, Queensland and Adelaide unearthed the dark side of South Australian history when they joined a recent tour at the State Library.

Our friendly ambassadors Anne Leonie Aileen and Kevin
Our friendly ambassadors – Anne, Leonie, Aileen and Kevin

'The Good, the Bad, and the Barely Believable' unravels the myth that South Australia was founded on fine God-fearing gentlemen when in fact the men who came up with the plan for the colony had both spent time in English prisons. From bleak tales of hangings to the bizarre escapades of a diminutive Irish bushranger with a penchant for gold, the tour was a romp through the unexpected, with a good dash of black humour thrown in. One of our Korean guests summed up the flavour of the tour in his comment: "This is a very Australian tour - I like the humour - it is good fun".

The tour was one of a special series of five free guided experiences on offer during May as part of our celebration of History SA's 'About Time' festival. From 'Salt in your eyes' with stories of shipboard life, light-houses, and new beginnings in the colony, to going behind the scenes and meeting conservators working with state of the art techniques to save your precious South Australian heritage, there was something for everyone, whether local or from the far flung corners of the world.

With the global reach of social media and sites such as TripAdvisor, the State Library has found its way on to the itineraries of growing numbers of visitors from all around the world. It is a rare day that a tour group doesn't include overseas visitors, who go away happy to spread the word about how much they enjoyed their time with us. Many express their appreciation of the warm and friendly welcome waiting for them when they arrive. An Iranian guest commented: "Australians are very kind and the library is very impressive - nothing like this in Iran."

The opportunity to enjoy, explore, laugh and learn continues at the Library through winter, with 'Make yourself at home' daily tours. Or choose from a range of themed tours available for groups of four to 25 people. The weather might be cold but the history is hot on our 'Your history heartlands' tour. From stories of destitution and loss, to a celebration of art and learning - brave the elements and join your guide for an easy stroll around the buildings that border the State Library. Trace how this cluster of colonial institutions grew to become the cultural heart of South Australia. And then warm up with a free cuppa on us in Aroma Café.

So don't stay at home this winter, come in and find out why we are so popular on the international traveller 'must do' list and why the world is talking about your State Library.

Story by: Jo Chesher

Back to e-xtra Winter 2015 stories

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