Other sport collections

Robert de Castella winning a race
Jensen, Michael. (1982). Robert de Castella winning the gold medal at the Commonwealth Games Marathon, Brisbane, 1982 http://nla.gov.au/nla.obj-136995791

Many galleries, libraries, museums, and archives across Australia hold rich and diverse collections relating to sport.

Highlights include:

State Library of New South Wales Sport Collections research guide

State Library of Victoria’s research guides on Australian Rules football and Horse racing and the Melbourne Cup.

State Library of Western Australia Storylines website contains images, oral histories and documents relating to Aboriginal Australian’s participation in sport.

The Australian Sports Museum holds the nation’s largest sporting collection as well as being home to the Sport Australia Hall of Fame which currently holds nearly 600 members.

The National Museum of Australia’s collection includes over 200,000 items reflecting Australian history and culture. Visit the Museum’s Glorious Days: Sport and leisure page so find some of their highlighted sporting stories.

Australian Sports Commission - established in 1985, the Australian Sports Commission (ASC) is the Australian Government agency responsible for supporting and investing in sport at all levels.

Sports & Recreation – Australian Web Archive - find archived websites and snap shots for over 500 Australian sports organisations and 220 sports events on the Australian Web Archive in Trove.

Cultural advisory

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are advised that this resource contains a range of material which may be considered culturally sensitive, including the images and records of people who have passed away.

Some material in our collections contains terms that reflect author’s views, or those of the period in which the item was written or recorded but may not be considered appropriate today. These views are not necessarily the views of the National Library of Australia. While the information may not reflect current understanding, it is provided in an historical context.

The reputation of Australia as a great sporting nation has long been established. Sport holds a significant place in the Australian way of life and its complex portrayal is both subject to change and strongly linked to contemporary perceptions of national identity. Although not all Australians share a passion for sport, its cultural impact is an essential consideration in any comprehensive analysis of Australian culture.

This guide will help you find resources and information on the history and role of sport in Australian society, and its unique place in the Australian cultural landscape.

You will also find answers on frequently asked questions, including how to find scores and results of sporting events, and how to trace the sporting history of a family member or sporting figure.

The National Library of Australia provides access to a wide range of material relating to sport in Australia.

This includes:

  • Printed material - general works, histories, biographies, newsletters and journals
  • Manuscripts – papers and records of sporting figures and organisations
  • Pictures – photographs, artwork, and posters
  • Oral histories – interviews, including the Sport oral history project and the Australian Centre for Paralympic Studies oral history project
  • Ephemera – programs, brochures, and related materials relating to sports, major sporting events, and organisations.
  • Music – sheet music of theme tunes to sporting TV programs
  • Newspapers – in print and online
  • Online resources – our eResources provides access to millions of online journal articles and ebooks.

Major unique collections include:

The Sport oral history project, a collection of 94 interviews conducted by the Library and the Australian Sports Commission,

The Australian Centre for Paralympic Studies oral history project, conducted jointly by the Library and the Australian Paralympic Committee.

Using the catalogue

Quick search

Use the catalogue standard search to find titles, authors, or subjects.

  • If you get too many results, use the Limit your search options (at the right of the results page) to display only the items of interest. e.g. audio (oral histories) or manuscripts
  • 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.

Examples of subject searches you can try include:

Sports – Australia – history

Sports – Australia- history – 20th century  

Sports – social aspects – Australia

Sports records – Australia

Athletes – Australia - biography

In addition to searching on subject headings, you can use different search terms alone or combined to identify a wide variety or location-specific items.

Selected resources

Newspapers & magazines

Sporting news has been reported in newspapers since colonial times.  The Library holds a large collection of newspapers and magazines, including titles dedicated to sport.  You can find these by searching our catalogue.

Early historical Australian newspapers between 1803 and 1955 are freely available online through the Trove database.

Some current newspapers and magazines post 1990 are available online.  You can explore many online newspapers in our eResources. Major newspaper databases which the Library subscribe to include:

You will need a National Library login to access these licenced eResources from home.

Online learning resources

Digital Classroom - Sport and Australian Culture

The National Library’s Digital Classroom is aligned to the Australian Curriculum and supports a variety of classroom contexts and learning styles. Suitable for high school students, this module uses the Library’s vast collections to explore sport and Australian culture.