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Australian libraries, archives and museums

Library, archive and museum directories and gateways

Australian Libraries Gateway>
Directory of Australian libraries, with links to their Websites, catalogues and services. Part of the Australian Cultural Network

Australian Museums Online
Museum information. Includes directory of Australia's museum collections and associated resources. Part of Australian Cultural Network.

Museums Australia Performing Arts Special Interest Group
Organisation of Australian libraries, archives and museums dedicated to the preservation of and provision of access to performing arts material.

A searchable database of images of historical and contemporary Australiana held by participating Australian cultural institutions.

Library, archive and museum collections and services

Adelaide Festival Centre Performing Arts Collection of South Australia
Holdings include Colin Ballantyne collection of theatre photographs 1936-72, John Tasker collection, Judith Anderson collection, La Mama Theatre (Hindmarsh) collection, Agnes Dobson collection, Adelaide Q Theatre collection, Tanya Moiseiwitsch's Oedipus costumes, masks and shoes, Vietnamese Water Puppets (Adelaide Festival of Art 2000), John Trinder papers 1960-1985, Loudon Sainthill collection of 5 costume designs, Wally Speed magic collection, the dance collection of South Australian dancers and choreographers and a costume collection representing theatre, dance, musical theatre and film.

Australian playscripts
Among collections of original playscripts and prompt books are the Eunice Hanger collection at the University of Queensland Library, the Campbell Howard Collection at the University of New England Library and William Anderson collections of Australian playscripts at the State Library of Victoria and State Library of New South Wales. An index of Australian Drama, compiled by the Dennis Wolanski Library of the Performing Arts, is held by the University of New South Wales Library

Australian Script Centre

Community Arts Resource Collection
A national collection of information on community arts, community cultural development, cultural policy and related topics.

His Majesty's Theatre, Perth, Performing Arts Museum
Established by Ivan King in 1980 as the Perth Theatre Trust Archive. Holds Western Australian performing arts records and memorabilia, including collections re His Majesty's Theatre, National Theatre Company 1956-1984, Perth Theatre Trust and Repertory Club, 1919-1956.

Library and Information Service of  Western Australia
Maintains a specialist performing arts and music library. A library of Western Australian history, the JS Battye Library, includes oral history tapes on theatre.

Monash University Library
Holds Jenny Fischer's scrapbooks of her writings on theatre in Sydney 1879-1882.

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Repository for records of federal government departments and agencies such as the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Patent and copyright records from the 1870s to 1969 include 100 metres of theatrical, film and radio scripts, sheet music, photographs, posters and other material. The collection includes plays and other scripts by William Anderson, Bert Bailey, Marcus Clarke, Edmund, Duggan, Edward Dyson, Kate Howard, William Moore, Betty Roland, Steele Rudd, Louis Stone and George Wallace, and manuscript copies of historical plays and operettas such as Struck Oil and Collits' Inn.

National Library of Australia
Holds records re JC Williamson Theatres, Arts Council of Australia Australian Elizabethan Theatre Trust, Australian National Playwrights Conference. Individuals whose papers are represented include Robyn Archer, Albert Arlen, Bert Bailey, John Bell, John Bell, Alex Buzo, Edmund Duggan, Louis Esson, Robert Helpmann, Dorothy Hewett, Jack Hibberd, Bland Holt, Ray Mathew, Rodney Milgate, Harry M. Miller, Gladys Moncrieff, Vance Palmer, Betty Roland, Dinah Shearing, Douglas Stewart, Nellie Stewart and David Williamson. The library also has extensive oral history interviews with Australian actors, critics designers, directors and writers. Guides to the library's PROMPT collection of theatre and concert programs are available from the its Website. The National Library's national coordination activities include management of Kinetica, a database of bibliographic resources in Australian libraries and the Register of Australian Archives & Manuscripts, a searchable database of Australian material in more than 100 contributing libraries

Performing Arts Multimedia Library
A pilot project jointly funded by the Australian and Victorian Governments through the Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts and Cinemedia, exploring legal issues surrounding the production of digital projects with the long-term aim of creating a digital collection of significant performing arts material, particularly performances.

Powerhouse Museum
Holds major collection of musical instruments, film, radio and television equipment, costume and collections relating to the performing arts and popular culture in Australia.  Producer of exhibitions and multimedia relating to Australian rock music and circus. Recipient of selected material from the Dennis Wolanski Library of the Performing Arts.

Queensland Performing Arts Centre. Museum and Gladys Moncrieff Library of the Performing Arts
Holds collections relating to the performing arts in Brisbane and Queensland including collections re Gladys Moncrieff, Cremorne Theatre, Queensland Theatre Company and La Boite Theatre Company. Also holds a collection of scores, scripts, and professional performing rights for The Sentimental Bloke and other musicals by Albert Arlen.

Seaborn Broughton and Walford Foundation
A charitable trust supporting the performing arts, located at the National Institute of Dramatic Art.  Owns the Independent Theatre and Stables Theatre. Its Library and Archives includes extensive program collection donated by broadcaster and author John West as well as some holdings formerly held by the Dennis Wolanski Library of the Performing Arts.  

State Library New South Wales
The Mitchell Library holds the earliest documents relating to theatre in Australia including playbills for The Recruiting Officer, 1800, and Black-eyed Susan, 1832. Collections include: JC Williamson Sydney Office records from about 1895-1970,  John Alden papers circa 1943-1951, William Anderson collection of Australian playscripts 1894-1921, Drama League of Australia records, Doris Fitton papers 1933-1942, Lazar theatrical papers 1849-1880, Duncan MacDougall collection; Marionette Theatre of Australia records, Mary Marlowe papers 1875-1958, Phillip Theatre records, Pocket Playhouse records 1957-76, Hal Porter papers 1924-1983, James Smith papers, and Turret Theatre Limited papers. Major holdings transferred from the Dennis Wolanski Library of the Performing Arts include the Nimrod Theatre Collection, New Theatre collection, Independent Theatre collection, Annette Kellermann collection, Tivoli Theatre collection and Royce Rees collection of Australian theatre photographs.

State Library of Queensland
The John Oxley Library holds theatre programs

State Library of Victoria
The La Trobe Australiana section holds a William Anderson collection of Australian playscripts, original papers of George Coppin and Bland Holt 1819-1910, papers of Irene Mitchell and Dolia Ribush, original material performed by the goldfields balladeer Charles Thatcher,  the autobiography of Allan Wilkie and records of the Australian Children's Theatre, Australian Performing Group at the Pram Factory, Melbourne Repertory Theatre, Melbourne Tivoli Theatre. Other holdings include excellent collections of 19th and 20th century posters and theatre and programs.

State Library of South Australia
The State Library of South Australia in the collections of the Mortlock Library of South Australiana holds more than 20,000 South Australian theatre programs dating from the nineteenth century. The collection is an outstanding source of material relating to the Adelaide Festival of  Arts from the first Festival in 1960. Also in the Mortlock collections are examples of early SA theatre magazines, such as The Green-room and The Entr'acte. Two archival record groups of interest are the papers of actor Jean Robertson and records of the Red Shed Theatre Company.

State Library of Tasmania
Holdings include the JWB Murphy collection of Tasmanian Theatre posters, 1896-1920.

University of Adelaide Barr Smith Library

Holdings include Adelaide University Drama Society Records 1869-72, Mrs Patrick Campbell prompt books and programs, Desiree Long scrapbooks on Allan Wilkie Shakespearean Company and Shakespeare performance 1922-1970, Allan Wilkie papers 1878-1970, Marie-Louise (Marlis) Thiersch papers 1961-1985.

University of New England
The Dixson Library holds the Campbell Howard collection of unpublished Australian plays performed between 1920 and 1955 and Gordon Athol Anderson Music Collection.

University of Newcastle Department of Drama
Theatre Collection of Professor Michael R Booth, including posters, playbills, paintings and costume design relating to British Theatre from the 18th century to the Edwardian period.

University of Queensland Library
The Fryer Library holds the Hanger Collection of the Australian Stage and radio plays and an extensive index to Australian literature including drama.

University of Sydney
The Fisher Library holds theatre programs from 1930 to the present, mainly from Sydney theatres.

University of Western Australia
The Reid Library holds scripts from The Playhouse.

Victorian Arts Centre Performing Arts Museum
Holds collections re Ashton's Circus, Australian Performing Group, Emerald Hill Theatre, Melbourne Little Theatre Company, St Martin's Theatre, National Theatre Movement and JC Williamson. Other named collections include Dame Nellie Melba correspondence, programs, photographs 1880-1930, the Almost Managing Company collection, Barbara Angell collection, Holden Brothers Circus collection, the Barry Humphries collection, Harry Jay photographic collection, Les Levante collection, George Upward collection of Australian scenic design, Angus Winneke collection of costume designs, and Fowler’s Australian Dramatic Players.



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Page last updated: 30 July 2005