It is the oldest library in Australia, being the first library established in New South Wales. The library started as the Australian Subscription Library in 1826. It was then purchased for £5100 by the New South Wales Government in 1869 and became the Sydney Free Public Library. In 1895 it was renamed the Public Library of New South Wales until its most recent name change in 1975, when it became the State Library of New South Wales.
Southern Cross glass sculpture created by Jon Hawley
Mitchell reading room
Opened in 1910, the Mitchell Library houses unsurpassed collections of Australiana bequeathed to the people of New South Wales by David Scott Mitchell. The Mitchell Library holds Australia’s greatest documentary record of cultural heritage. It also holds the world’s most significant collections of Australian and Pacific material, including the original journals of Abel Tasman, James Cook and Matthew Flinders.
Abel Tasman Map
The map combines the results of Tasman’s first (1642-43) and second (1644) voyages with those of earlier Dutch navigators. It shows a surprisingly accurate general outline of Australia. Princess George of Greece presented the original Tasman Map to the Library in 1931. The origins of the map are uncertain. Once thought to have been drawn under Tasman’s personal supervision – possibly by his chief pilot, Franz Jabobszoon Visscher – it now seems likely that the map was created c. 1695, derived from an imperfect original map, itself compiled in 1644 from authentic original maps, including those of Tasman’s two voyages. In recognition of the Tasman Map’s significance, a marble mosaic reproduction forms part of the floor of the Mitchell Wing vestibule at the State Library of New South Wales.