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Something to warm the cockles in the depths of winter. Three presenters put three quirky topics under the spotlight to reveal the diversity of State Library collections.

The concept of the debutante ball when upper class young women were presented to the Queen began in 1870s England, but it was largely outdated by 1914. Curiously, the 570 photographs of South Australian debutantes in State Library collections date from 1915 to 1992. The Library holds some 50 other items on debutantes from academic texts,  magazine articles, theatre programs, posters, oral histories and ebooks that tell the story of the debs.

In Australian Rules Football, the fun of kicking a footy around, rather than playing an organised game, used to be called ‘having dobs’. Using scrapbooks, newspapers and magazines, and memorabilia from the collections of the State Library, we look at the less serious side of South Australia’s favourite winter pastime. Take a punt on the amusing side of football.

Most of us have idly doodled while on the telephone or waiting for something to happen. But beware – it may reveal something about you ­- according to a book on graphology (handwriting) in the State Library’s collection. This is one of nearly 30 entries in the Library catalogue relating to doodling. An 1881 diary has some doodles – known as marginalia, as are JM Skipper’s more artistic efforts. For the creatives Photoshop software has a doodling option.


This presentation was recorded as part of the State Library's Live and Learn program on 18 July 2023.

Presenters: Carolyn Spooner, Engagement Librarian, Mark Gilbert, Exhibitions, Media and Marketing Librarian, and Isabel Story, Engagement Librarian

Image: JM Skipper doodle in SA Almanac 1841, SLSA: PRG 72/13/1/121