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Lord Horatio Nelson's letter to Thomas Lloyd. SLSA: 941.073 N426

Real or fake: Lord Nelson's letter written in 1798

The stories that make us

For a long time, a large brown envelope with a crayoned inscription lay in the back of the special collection’s stacks. The inscription read, ‘Nelson...

Behind the scenes Biography History
Radio club badges and pins, clrc, slsa: box no. 177

Don't touch that dial! Children’s radio club badges and pins

The stories that make us

It might seem strange, but sometimes historical items are literally picked up off the ground. This collection of children’s radio club badges and pins was...

Flower painting by Rosa Fiveash, SLSA: PRG 403/3/3/32

Captured Flowers

The capture of South Australia’s wildflowers and plants in paintings and sketches began early in the colony’s history. Flower painting was considered an acceptable genteel...

Spitfire and Bomber Squadron booklet

Make your own Spitfire and Bomber squadron

The stories that make us

We’ve recreated this striking cut-out model builder booklet so you can build your own bomber squadron base and experience what it would have been like...

Dressed in their working aprons the taxidermists complete the tiger SLSA PRG 631/2/365

The tiger and the taxidermists

The stories that make us

Did you know that this photograph taken in the basement of the Mortlock Wing of the State Library shows one of the largest tigers ever...

Behind the scenes History
Passengers disembarking at Port Misery, South Australia

How our State Library began as a trunk full of donated books

The stories that make us

The story of the founding of the State Library begins in the 1830s in London, where Robert Gouger was lobbying the British Government to found...

Behind the scenes History Literature
Adelaide ‘Black Lives Matter’ Protest, King William Street [SLSA: PRG 1763/1/9]

Capturing the present for future generations

The stories that make us

“A good photograph is knowing where to stand” Ansel Adams Over the past few years the State Library of South Australia has been adding to...


A legal constraint: the case of the corset

In 1904 there were two makers of WB corsets in South Australia. The English firm William Pretty and Sons made the WB Correct Form Corset...

Art, design, fashion History
Book cover - Madam Tussauds book of victorian masks - featuring Raphael Tuck face masks

Which character will you be?

Raphael Tuck Face Masks

Here are some fun masks that are a bit more jovial than the medical ones we’ve all been using lately. The history behind the masks...

A crop of page 11 of Burton's Whaling Journal

Whaling Voyage Journal from 1830s - a significant find

The stories that make us

Little did our research librarians know that a suggested change to an item description on our Digital Collections website would lead to such a significant...

Behind the scenes History Shipping
Brewster Jones Quiz 1905

A family musical heritage

The stories that make us

When researching material for our exhibition Beyond the stage : aspects of performing arts in South Australia, 1914–1936 connections were made between the South Australia...

Art, design, fashion Biography History
Scotch Thsitle B 1544

Constables before the court

The stories that make us

The Cathedral robbed by policemen! The Cathedral Hotel that is... View the following extract as reported in The Advertiser, Thursday 17 October 1918, page 7...

Crime and infamy Hotels and pubs
SA Clubhouse Hotel, 1926

Diamonds Lost and Recovered

The stories that make us

A busy day for the publican of the SA Clubhouse Hotel at Port Adelaide in 1926. ' SAVED FROM DEATH RESCUED IN PORT RIVER Diamonds...

History Hotels and pubs
Apinya Eric Api

Apinya's letter written in Pitjantjatjara language

The stories that make us

Eric Api (Apinya) is celebrated as being the first to write a letter in Pitjantjatjara. He attended the Ernabella school where all students learnt to...

Children History
Bob, the railway dog' at Port Augusta [B 6422]


The stories that make us

In 1882 Bob, a scruffy brown German collie dog covered with thick shaggy hair, was born in Macclesfield, South Australia. He travelled the railways of...

Children History
Arthur family members SLSA BRG347/2019

Arthur Studio Collection

The stories that make us

One of the State Library’s most significant photographic collections came from ‘ Arthur and Son studio’ which operated in Mount Gambier from 1904 to 1989...

A cropped image from the book - A manual of the Mollusca: a treatise on recent and fossil shells

A borrowed book returned to the State Library over 100 years later

The stories that make us

This book has a fascinating history. It was borrowed from the Adelaide Circulating Library more than 100 years ago by a young Lawrence Bragg, who...

Behind the scenes
Park Lodge Apartments on South Terrace, Adelaide [SLSA BRG 346/29/149/6]

At the archival coalface: John S. Chappel collection

The stories that make us

One of the projects on the go in the State Library Archival Collections team is centred around the John S. Chappel Collection (BRG 346). The...

Architecture Behind the scenes
SS 'Admella'. SLSA B 41900

Admella Shipwreck reward and relief fund

The stories that make us

A shipwreck in 1859 The SS Admella was an iron-hulled ship that was on its way from Adelaide to Melbourne when it hit a reef...

Horse drawn float featured in an Australia Day Parade, Pirie Street, Adelaide 1920. SLSA: PRG 280/1/39/11

Australia Day in South Australia

The stories that make us

Public debate around the celebration of Australia Day on 26 January has continued to grow in recent times. Originally, the date of 26 January was...