Significance of the Library Collection
Our Library collection began with the purchase of 26 botanical & horticultural works in 1852 by Director, Charles Moore. He had originally requested funding from the Colonial Secretary for both a library and a small boat, but was only granted money for the former. The Library now has two branch libraries and numerous working collections.
Today the Library collection includes the Rare Book Collection, of books - some from the 16th century - journals, maps, photographs, botanical illustrations, artworks manuscripts and archives. It is Australia’s primary resource for Australian botanical, taxonomic, conservation and horticultural publications. Some of these works are unique and our Library is the only place you can see a particular edition or early image of colonial Australia.
The Library collection including the Rare Book Collection, along with the 1.2 million preserved plants in the National Herbarium of New South Wales, the living collections in our three wonderful botanic gardens and the seedbank at the Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan, is a key resource for botanists and natural resource managers the world over.
Our Library Treasures project is to fund cataloguing, conservation and digitisation of the Rare Book Collection. Our vision is a virtual library, abuzz with people accessing electronic journals and databases, linking effortlessly to images from Curtis’ Botanical Magazine from the 18th century, or perhaps the gorgeous prints from Banks’ Florilegium.
The Library Treasures are presented in 6 stories:
- Botanical and Scientific History
- The Age of Exploration
- Generations of Gardening
- History of the Royal Botanic Garden
- Plant Hunters and Flora
- The World of Margaret Flockton