Treasure trove of Australian history returns home

NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell and Minister for the Arts George Souris today unveiled to the public an extraordinarily rare collection of 210-year-old natural history drawings, which will shortly go on display at the State Library of NSW.

The collection of 741 exquisite natural history drawings and watercolours – many previously unknown and created during the earliest years of British settlement - remained in private hands for 200 years.

“The NSW Government was determined to return these extraordinary, historically significant works to their rightful home at the State Library of NSW, the nation’s leading repository of Australia’s colonial history,” Mr O’Farrell said.

 “It is one of only two surviving comprehensive natural history collections of such substance from this period - the other major collection resides in London’s Natural History Museum.

“This collection is of enormous historical significance to NSW and the entire nation – the acquisition brings it into public ownership for future generations a collection which is at the very heart of the European settlement of this nation.”

 Minister for Arts George Souris said the unveiling was a wonderful moment in the history of Australia and NSW.

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