UNESCO Australian Memory of the World Register adds Historic NSW assets

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Eleven items and collections have been inscribed into the register. There are a total of nine assets from NSW including archives from the Lithgow Small Arms Factory Museum.

Australia’s first ever recorded Census (1828), the Harriet and Helena Scott Collection of meticulous scientific butterfly and moth artworks (1850) and Ethel Turner’s handwritten Seven Little Australians manuscript (1893) are among the items and collections inscribed into the Register at a ceremony hosted by the State Library of NSW.

“From the most important Census ever conducted in NSW, to a unique study of natural history and a manuscript from one of the country’s most beloved children’s authors, each of these records is a valuable part of Australia’s enduring history,” he said. The Census, which will soon tour NSW, is the first and most detailed ever taken in the State, and the only surviving of its kind.

“Whether studying Australian history, convict transportation and administration, British Imperial expansion and colonial settlements, or a particular individual, family or local area, the 1828 Census is a fundamental resource from the State Archives Collection that continues to prove its value 190 years later,” Mr Lindsay said.

Australian Museum Director & CEO Kim McKay AO said the Harriet and Helena Scott Collection of 100 minutely-detailed butterfly and moth paintings is the most comprehensive Australian nineteenth century natural science and natural history art archive in the country.

“The Scott sisters were incredibly talented and determined to make a difference. They were prohibited from studying at Sydney University because of their gender and yet their work was so remarkable that their 150-year-old illustrations are still used by scientists today,” she said.

According to State Librarian John Vallance, “Ethel Turner gave many young readers a first authentic portrayal of everyday urban life in Australia. It is rare for manuscripts of works such as this to survive, and we are delighted that UNESCO has decided to recognise this unique part of our literary history in such an imaginative way.”

“Visitors will be able to see the Seven Little Australians manuscript not only on the Library’s website, but in person as part of our special UNESCO exhibition which is open until the 5th May,” said Dr Vallance.

NSW State Archives’ Executive Director Adam Lindsay said that the assets from the NSW State Archives, Australian Museum and State Library of NSW respectively, hold significant cultural importance worthy of preservation.

Visit through the online register.

Image: Lithgow Small Arms Factory (Australia’s first precision mass production factory 1912).

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