Manuscripts are unpublished papers of people and organisations. The Library holds the personal papers of many Australian writers.

Examples are:

Correspondence may appear in the papers of other manuscript collections.

Examples (see under 'summary) are:

See the Library web page Using the Mauscripts collection for information about accessing manuscripts


The Whelan Collection contains about 1050 books by Australian authors, nearly all of them autographed and many containing lengthy annotations.

The Palmer Collection contains about 2500 books and pamphlets. Most are Australian works published in the period 1900–60 and many of them are inscribed by the authors.

A guide to finding Australian literature resources

Searching for booksMark Strizic, Searching for books at the State Library of Victoria, January 1967, nla.obj-140508667

How do you search the catalogue for Australian literature?

Quick search

Use the Catalogue standard search  to find titles or authors.

  • If you get too many results, use the Narrow search options (at the right of the page of the search results page) to display only the items you’re interested in
  • If you need to widen your search, click on subject headings in an item’s Catalogue record to find other material related to that subject.

Are there any online resources for Australian literature?

There are a number of free websites and subscription databases containing online material, some full-text, for Australian literature works, biographies and criticism. Key items are:

  • AustLit: the resource for Australian literature - a key resource for information about Australian writers and writing covering the 1780s to the present. You can find AustLit by visiting our eResources portal and searching for this database under the Browse eResources tab. It is available to registered users of the National Library of Australia, Australian State Libraries and the Northern Territory Library.  AustLit is also freely available to staff and students of all Australian schools. See the AustLit help page when using the database for the first time.
Tags: Literature


Macquarie PEN anthology of Australian literature,

Jose, Nicolas (ed),  Macquarie PEN anthology of Australian literature, Crows Nest, N.S.W. : Allen & Unwin, 2009.

This rich, informative and entertaining collection charts the formation of an Australian voice that draws inventively on Indigenous words, migrant speech and slang, with a cheeky, subversive humour always to the fore (publisher's note).

Find this book in a library near you.


Not sure where to start?