Preconference Events

Viewing of 18th and 19th-Century Materials and Behind-the-Scenes Tour at the National Library of Australia

RSAA Conference delegates are invited to a preconference viewing of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century materials at the National Library of Australia (NLA) at 4:00pm on Wednesday 20 November. At this viewing, Damien Cole, Special Collections Reading Room Manager at the NLA, will introduce delegates to a wide range of manuscripts, prints, letters, maps, illustrations, pamphlets, and first editions from the Library’s special collections, showcasing materials from the early colonial period in Australia and the Pacific, as well as from Great Britain, Europe, and the Americas.

For those who are interested, the viewing of materials will be preceded by a one-hour behind-the-scenes tour of the Library, where delegates will have chance to visit the collection storage areas and learn about the inner workings of the NLA.

Admission is free for both events, however places are limited to 20. Priority will be given to postgraduate and early career researchers. To RSVP, or for more information, please contact Alexandra Hankinson (RSAA Postgraduate and Early Career Researcher Coordinator) by 13 November 2019 at


Practicalities of the day: Delegates are asked to meet in the Library main foyer, just inside the entrance, at 3:00pm on Wednesday 20 November 2019. While on the tour and looking at the display, NLA staff ask for no bags, food or drinks to be carried. Free lockers are provided on the lower ground floor for personal items.

Delegates are welcome to take photographs while in the NLA, but for display material use of flash is prohibited.

For those who wish to spend more time at the Library, the NLA has two free exhibition rooms that are open to 5:00pm daily. The Treasures Gallery is the Library’s permanent exhibition of items from the collections. There is also a temporary exhibition currently showing on Australian children’s literature titled ‘Story Time’.

There are also three public reading rooms that delegates are welcome to browse and spend time in:

Main Reading Room

Special Collections Reading Room

Asian Collections Reading Room

Getting to the library: The NLA is located at Parkes Place in the Parliamentary Triangle, Canberra. There is plenty of parking around the Library, however it is paid parking. Regular buses from the city – routes R2 and R6 – come along King Edward Terrace beside the Library building.