Cultural Advice

Aboriginal Peoples are advised the Library Collection contains images, voices and names of deceased people in physical and online resources.

The Library recognises the significance of the traditional cultural knowledges contained within its Collection. The Library acknowledge some materials contain language that may not reflect current attitudes, was published without consent or recognition, or, is offensive. These materials reflect the views of the authors and/or the period in which they were produced and do not represent the views of the Library.

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Banner for Special Collections with images of Gregor Ramsey, Sir Eric Neal, Dr Basil Hetzel, Colin Thiele, Gavin Walkley, Bob Hawke, Rosemary Crowley, Alexander Downer, Christopher Pyne, Lowitja O'Donoghue, Chris Hurford with Paul Keating, Lillian de Lissa

The University of South Australia Library has diverse Special Collections that contribute to a rich political, social and public health history of Australia, with a particular focus on South Australia and prominent South Australians. Our Special Collections support the University’s education and research themes and contain rare, fragile, vulnerable, archival and culturally sensitive material. They include published and unpublished material in print, audiovisual and digital formats.  

Some of our Special Collections are predominantly published material such as books, journals and audio visual material collected around a topic or theme. Others have been collected by a person or organisation, often predominantly containing unpublished material.

Banner images: Gregor Ramsey, UniSA -- History of Primary Education in South Australia Collection books, UniSA Library -- Sir Eric Neal, UniSA Library -- Basil Hetzel, 2003, UniSA Library -- College handbooks, de Lissa Association Collection DL/B29/1 -- Colin Thiele, 1972, Colin Thiele Collection CT/12 -- Photograph of Gavin Walkley portrait, Gavin Walkley Collection -- Artists books on display, UniSA Library -- Bob Hawke speaking, Bob Hawke Collection (crop of NAA A6180, 28/7/86/9) -- Rosemary Crowley, 2008, UniSA Library -- Book stack, Colin Thiele Collection -- Alexander Downer, 2003, Dept of Foreign Affairs and Trade, CC BY 3.0 -- Christopher Pyne, 2015, Dept of Education and Training, CC BY 3.0 -- Page from Student workbook by WH Thomas, 1855, History of Primary Education in South Australia Collection -- Lowitja O'Donoghue, UniSA -- Chris Hurford and Paul Keating, Bob Hawke Collection (crop of NAA A6180, 28/7/86/32) -- Letters and cards, Colin Thiele Collection -- Lillian de Lissa, de Lissa Association Collection DL/B36/4

How can I explore and access the Collections?

Special Collections can be explored through the individual Collection pages on this guide, through targeted searching of Special Collections or serendipitous browsing through Collection Discovery.

To search across the Collections, type in keywords relating to the collection of interest.

To explore a specific Collection, first select the ‘search’ link under the Collection name on the Special Collections home page. 

Results can be filtered using the 'Refine my results' menu on the left of the results screen.  

Some useful refinement suggestions: 

  • Publication date 
  • Collection 
  • Subject 
  • Show Only > Full Text Online (to view material that has been digitised) 

Accessing Collections

While some material has been digitised and is available online, most material is in a physical form.

The University Pub                            lications Collection and the History of Primary Education in South Australia Collection are available for loan by UniSA staff and students. All other Collections are only available by appointment within the Library. Members of the public can also arrange to see material in our Collections by appointment.

To arrange an appointment, contact Ask the Library.

Individual Collection pages contain more specific information about their access and location.

Stack of papers from the Bob Hawke Collection, UniSA Library 2020

Researching with Archival Collections

Some of our Special Collections contain archival material.

Archives are records collected over a period of time by a person or organisation. They are usually arranged into series of related records housed in boxes that respect the order they were originally collected in.  

Finding aids are often created to help navigate archival records and can include series and box lists. 

  • Series List – A list of the series within a Collection and their descriptions 
  • Box lists – A detailed list of what is in every box within each series 

Most of our Collections for people or organisations have associated series or box lists. They provide an overview of what’s in a Collection and are a good way to start exploring a Collection. They can also help you find which part of a Collection can aid your research before making an appointment to view the items.

Want more information about using archives for your research?  See our Archival Research Guide.

Link to the Archival Research Guide