Hon John Day BSc BDSc MLA

Hon John Day BSc BDSc MLA

Former Minister for Health; Culture and the Arts

    Digital future marks historic library anniversary

    15/12/2016 7:30 AM
    • Rare Batavia mutiny book now online
    • 60th anniversary of the J.S. Battye Library of WA History
    • Appeal for donation of further heritage materials 

    A rare book detailing a grisly chapter in West Australian history is now available online, as the State's oldest and most significant collection of heritage documents and records, the J.S. Battye Library of WA History, celebrates its diamond anniversary.


    Culture and the Arts Minister John Day announced the digitisation of Francisco Pelseart's account of the 1629 voyage and mutiny of the Batavia, as he marked the library's 60th birthday and launched a publication for tourists and visitors featuring some of the library's treasures.


    "This is the digital age making history more accessible and relevant to new generations," Mr Day said.


    "The State Library benefits all West Australians by preserving and promoting our unique WA stories.


    "Sixty years after the State's Public Library was renamed the State Library of Western Australia, incorporating the J. S. Battye Library of West Australian History, it has become a vital source of primary materials for researchers, authors, family historians and students."


    Images from the Battye Library's extraordinary collection have been used to create a 27 metre-long decal installed on the ground floor windows of the State Library.


    Highlights of the Battye Library collection include: 

    • The earliest known chart of the Swan River drawn by midshipman Francoise Boniface Heirisson in 1801
    • A late 1800s image of Kunmunya Mission women spinning string from plant fibre
    • Heritage food and drink labels from WA brands that are no longer produced
    • A WWII prisoner of war diary written on a toilet roll by Lieutenant Raymond Stewart
    • WA beach culture depicted by a 1962 photograph at Cottesloe
    • A 1992 photograph of prospector Cecil Mitchell in his humpy at Spargoville. 

    The Minister appealed to West Australians to provide additional valuable materials for consideration by the Battye Library.


    "Though the library's collection is extensive, there are undoubtedly additional precious and distinctively West Australian materials around the State that should be included for safekeeping for future generations," Mr Day said.


    People with WA heritage books, documents, images, film or other materials should contact the library at http://www.slwa.wa.gov.au  


    Fact File

    • The Battye Library was named to honour Dr James Sykes Battye, who started as the public librarian in 1894
    • Dr Battye died aged 83, having been in charge of the library for 60 years, and was instrumental in assembling the collection of WA heritage materials
    • The adjective West in the Battye Library's name was chosen instead of Western to indicate the focus of the collections predated 1829, when Western Australia officially came into existence
    • The Battye Library collections include 108,000 book titles, 1,000 newspaper titles, 25,000 magazine titles, 34,000 maps and more than 100,000 pieces of ephemera
    • Archival collections include 4,200 metres of private archives (the records of clubs, associations, businesses, churches and individuals), more than 700,000 pictorial images, more than 7,500 oral history interviews (comprising nearly 17,000 hours of tape) and more than 12,000 films, videos and DVDs
    • Pelseart's book can be viewed at http://purl.slwa.wa.gov.au/slwa_b1660729_7 

    Minister's office - 6552 6200


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