Sydney Architecture Images- Central Business District

State Library of NSW


Cobden Parkes (Government Architect)


Shakespeare Place and Macquarie Street




Inter-War Academic Classical




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Elegant sandstone building overlooking the Botanic Gardens. Its research collections are unsurpassed throughout the southern hemisphere. Displays of manuscript material can be seen in several locations, while the first floor of the Mitchell Wing has a temporary exhibition programme devoted to aspects of Australian art and history. The adjoining Picture Gallery offers the only opportunity in Sydney to view a collection of early colonial art and is well worth a visit. The shop also carries a wide range of books on Australiana.

About the collections

The State Library's major subject strengths are Australian history, culture and literature, including Aboriginal studies, Antarctic exploration, family history and genealogy, business and management, social sciences, applied science, biography, health and law.

The Library's collection is now valued as an asset, with a valuation of $1.883 billion.

The collections comprise:

  • Mitchell Library and Sir William Dixson Research Library printed books collections
    The printed books collections of the Mitchell and Dixson Libraries form an extensive research collection relating to Australia with special emphasis on New South Wales, Antarctica and the South West Pacific.
  • Manuscript collections
    The manuscripts collection of the Mitchell and Dixson Libraries has extensive holdings of personal papers of individuals, including literary manuscripts, and the archives of private organisations, relating to Australia and the Pacific, and dating from the seventeenth century to the present day.
  • Pictures collections
    The State Library of New South Wales pictures collection contains over 100 000 watercolours, prints and drawings, approximately 2000 paintings, over 75 000 architectural plans, over one million photographs (see Photographic collections), and 2300 museum objects.
  • Photographic collections
    The Library's photographic collection is one of the nation's largest and most important, comprising over one million images. The collection dates from the earliest known photograph taken in Australia, a daguerreotype of Dr William Bland (1789–1868) probably produced between November 1844 and January 1845.
  • Map collections
    The State Library of New South Wales maps collection is one of the most important in Australia, containing 200 000 maps of New South Wales, Australia, the Pacific region, Antarctica, and the rest of the world. Maps date from the fifteenth century to the present day.
  • Oral history and sound recording collections
    Oral history is a record of information —usually on tape — as the result of a planned interview. Where there is no dedicated interview, the record is described as a sound recording. Both are part of the Library's original materials collections.
  • The State Reference Library collection
    The State Reference Library collection contains over two million items providing an extensive range of Australian and International research material including printed books, journals, government reports, statistics, audio-visual and electronic resources.
  • Rare Books and Special collections
    Rare Books and Special Collections contains over 30 000 valuable and rare items acquired by the Library since 1826. Areas of particular strength are incunabula, sixteenth century printing, history, geography and illustrated bird and flower books.
  • Newspaper collection
    The State Reference Library holds about 1700 newspapers published in Australia and overseas, specialising in collecting newspapers published in New South Wales.
  • Online collections
    The Library has an ongoing digitisation program to improve access to significant parts of its extensive collections. Over 300 000 digital images are currently available through records in the PICMAN database and, to a lesser extent, WEBCAT and approximately 10 000 new images are being added each year. For more information about the collections below, search the title in PICMAN.
  • Microform Collections
    The State Library of New South Wales holds extensive collections of microfilms (140,000 reels) and microfiche (over 1 million fiche). The microform collections mainly comprise preservation copies of State Library materials, or copies of materials held in other institutions, organizations and in private hands (including overseas locations).