The Royal Geographical Society library has been housed within the State Library for over 100 years. The collection focus is Australian geography and exploration, but includes items dating back many centuries and is home to the relics of some notable explorers.
The Royal Geographical Society of South Australia Inc (RGS) was founded in Adelaide on 10 July 1885 for 'the advancement of geographical science, discovering the past, describing the present and promoting the future'.
The Society's library and meeting room is located at the southern end of the Mortlock Wing of the State Library on the mezzanine level. Although a private collection, the Society's collection is discoverable through the State Library's catalogue and is available for use by members of the Society and the general public.
The Royal Geographical Society library will close on Friday 16 December 2022 and reopen on Monday 17 January 2023.
Royal Geographical Society of South Australia (RGS) collection materials are read in the RGS Library during opening hours.
Approximately half of the RGS library is catalogued on the State Library catalogue, and consists of books designated as either a part of the Australiana or Rare Books sections of the collection. These show up as either RGS Australiana Collection or RGS Special Collection, followed by the Dewey Decimal number. These items can be requested in the RGS library during opening hours.
The balance of the book collection is accessed through a card catalogue housed in the RGS library. The books in this catalogue generally relate to exploration and travel outside of Australia but also include several hundred pamphlets relating to Australian exploration or settlement. The periodicals are uncatalogued but include the journals and proceedings of the various Australian states' historical societies, Royal Societies, and geographical societies from many parts of the world.
The RGS map collection is accessed through a card catalogue housed in the library.
The manuscript collection is indexed in a book catalogue - Catalogue of the manuscripts compiled by Phyllis Mander-Jones, copies of which are located in the State Library and in the RGS library, or alternatively through Trove: Diaries, Letters, Archives.
The Royal Geographical Society of South Australia library is the largest non-government specialist geographical collection in Australia. Its subject specialities are world exploration and discovery, travel and colonial history with particular relevance to Australia, South Australia and the Northern Territory. South Australian local histories are also a strength through the Jim Faull Local History Collection. A number of early 16th and 17th century atlases are also held. Resources include material in most formats: