Sydney Rare Book Week (25 to 29 October)
Showcasing some of our archives made from threads and fabrics. Non-paper materials are not common in our collection and the wonderful details, colours and textures captured in these items are a beautiful sight to see. Threads are woven; they link and connect just as these 'threaded' archives link and connect us to history.
An artist's impression of Griffith and Leeton (along with plans, not shown here) was originally commissioned by the Department of Water Resources - Lands Administration Branch - Water Conservation and Irrigation Commission in 1913.
These plans were designed by architect Walter Burley Griffin, famous for his design of the Australian capital, Canberra. The drawings were prepared by his brother-in-law, Roy Alstan Lippincott and Walter's wife Marion Mahony Griffin prepared coloured sketches on silk for both towns.
The key landscape effect was to be achieved by the main irrigation channel, which Griffin saw as: 'a sweeping curve round the central portion of the city and by two enlargements of the waterway'. The plan envisaged Griffith as a significant railway focal point... The railway station was to be a prominent feature at the centre of the town and the yards were to be designed to achieve a minimum of switching and re-handling.
From the Walter Burley Griffin Society website.
From the catalogue of The Great Collection Exhibition, 2008. More information on the towns of Griffith and Leeton can be found on the Walter Burley Griffin Society website
- The Silkscreen Plan of Leeton, 1913 [Document No 224] is a design for a central plaza and shows large buildings surrounding a spacious, beautiful garden area complete with trees and a fountain.
- The Silkscreen Plan of Griffith, 1913 [Document No 225] shows the design for the whole layout of the city of Griffith.
These sewing samples were found in school files and were done by students at Auburn North Girls School in 1939. The samples show several styles of needlework, titles include: decorative stitchery, cut-work, feather stitching and whipping-lace. Needlework was an important component to the school curriculum. This subject was practical not to mention providing many students with hours of entertainment before the days of television and X-box!
Many of you may remember making some of these samples (some of our staff do). The samples were found in NRS 3829, School Files Auburn North, 1939 [5/14733.1]
You can see how fashion has changed over the years with this cap worn by women working in the Leeton cannery, 1925. The cap was found in a Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area file - NRS 14511, [17/633]
Message Goodwill from China
From the Republic of China to the State of New South Wales on the occasion of the 150th Anniversary of the Commonwealth of Australia, 1938 - NRS 12061, Australia's one hundred and fiftieth Anniversary file [7/1522]
Here is the literal translation:
1st Line - The Continent of Australia is beautiful
2nd Line - The climate is amiable
3rd Line - Australian people are charming, friendly and courageous.
4th Line - Her natural resources are abundant.
5th Line - For the past 150 years, her history is a record of achievement.
6th Line - The present condition of the Commonwealth is of marvellous prosperity.
7th Line - Sino-Australian relations are growing closer.
8th Line - May this cordial relationship be widespreading and everlasting.
Sample of fabric for Fire Brigade Uniform material, 1949 and 1952 [20/14738-39]. This sample was attached to a letter sent to the Board of Fire Commissioners from Federal Woolen Mills Ltd in Geelong as part of a quotation for the supply of material.
Sample of fabric for Border Police Uniforms 1841, from NRS 905, Colonial Secretary’s correspondence, letter No 41/7241[4/2525]
The letter describes the type of material to be used to make the border police uniforms dated 1841. The material is very thick and must have been extremely uncomfortable during the warmer months (perhaps not the most practical option).
NRS 9590, Plans of Licensed Premises: Hotel Plans, 1884-1959.
The below hotel plans are on drafting linen (link to Wikipedia) which was commonly used during the 19th and 20th Century for technical drawings.
Plan of proposed Hotel at Newcastle corner of Hunter and Market Streets, Elevations, 1903 (?) [Plan 63818]
Note: the colours where painted on the back of the plan.