Tag Archives: State Library Of New South Wales


A visit to the State Library used to take about an hour when one visited an exhibition that took up the two main original galleries with space going to the Shakespeare Place entrance to the Level One Galleries. However when I attended the newly expanded Gallery spaces it took me several hours to view the exhibitions and even then I could not get to the ground and lower ground exhibition spaces. Accordingly the Gallery now has up to seven exhibition spaces.

My main aim to visit the Library was to see somewhat harrowing and graphic photos of the Canon World Press Photo Awards. These were held in a brand new gallery called the Martin Crouch Gallery. I was told by one of the Security Guards that this beautiful new space with hand painted drapes by Wendy Sharpe was a result of the freeing up of office and administration spaces.                             Continue reading NEW GALLERY SPACES @ THE STATE LIBRARY OF NEW SOUTH WALES


To coincide with the arrival of Spring and to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Botanical Gardens the State Library Of New South Wales has mounted a comprehensive exhibition devoted to Australian garden design. The exhibition is in two parts – the history of garden design through the Library’s’ Collection, and  photos of innovative gardens of public parkland created since 1980.

In the history section there are beautiful detailed nineteen century drawings of Australian native plants, Botanic Garden plans, and multi-media images of the suburban gardens in the 1950s. Continue reading PLANTING DREAMS : A NEW EXHIBITION @ THE STATE LIBRARY


Laughter in the Library! Yes it is possible! Warm up this wintry month with digital restorations of  four comedy gems from 1931-1949.

The Front Page- Chaplin’s masterpiece Modern Times in its 80th anniversary year- English comic genius blooms in Whisky Galore and Passport to Pimlico.

Front Page

Sunday July 3 at 2pm   The Front Page (1931) Digitally restored edition with soundtrack.

“Raucous, irreverent, and remarkably funny, THE FRONT PAGE is a landmark in cinema history; a brilliantly orchestrated, high-speed satire that set the standard for the countless screwball comedies that followed in its wake. But few films can match the risqué flavor and the relentless pace of the masterpiece that spawned an entire genre, earning Academy Award

nominations for Best Picture, Best Actor (Adolphe Menjou), and Best Director (Lewis Milestone), as well as a spot on the esteemed National Film Registry. Based on the wildly successful (and controversial) play by Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur, THE FRONT PAGE follows hard-boiled crime reporter Hildy Johnson (Pat O’Brien) who has vowed to quit the business and marry his new sweetheart (Mary Brian). But when a political radical (George E. Stone) escapes from custody on the eve of his hanging, the reporter’s room is plunged into comedic chaos, and Hildy’s brash editor (Menjou) sees it as an opportunity to manipulate the reporter into staying.” Kino Lorber.


Sunday July 10 at 2pm  Modern Times (1936) Digitally restored edition with soundtrack. 2016 marks the 80th Anniversary of MODERN TIMES.

“Modern Times, Charlie Chaplin’s last outing as the Little Tramp, puts the iconic character to work as a giddily inept factory employee who becomes smitten with a gorgeous gamine (Paulette Goddard). With its barrage of unforgettable gags and sly commentary on class struggle during the Great Depression, Modern Times—though made almost a decade into the talkie era and containing moments of sound (even song!)—is a timeless showcase of Chaplin’s untouchable genius as a director of silent comedy.” Criterion

Park Circus notes: “In Modern Times, one of Charles Chaplin’s most popular films, the Tramp struggles to live in a modern industrial society with the help of a young, homeless woman, played by Paulette Goddard. The film is both the last of the Tramp films and the last silent film Chaplin made and is another masterful mix of drama, social comment and wonderful comedy.”


Sunday July 17 at 2pm   Whisky Galore (1949)  Digitally restored edition with soundtrack.

“Based on a true story. The name of the real ship, that sunk Feb 5 1941 – during WWII – was S/S Politician. Having left Liverpool two days earlier, heading for Jamaica, it sank outside Eriskay, The Outer Hebrides, Scotland, in bad weather, containing 250,000 bottles of whisky. The locals gathered as many bottles as they could, before the proper authorities arrived, and even today, bottles are found in the sand or in the sea every other year.” Bluray.com.


Sunday July 24 at 2pm   Passport to Pimlico (1949)  Digitally restored edition with soundtrack

The story of “Passport to Pimlico” is one of those inventive comedies of classic British cinema. Pimlico is a small area of central London, and in it is a leftover WWII German bomb that explodes, uncovering an underground cave containing treasures and a scroll from the Duke of Burgundy. The scroll is translated and it turns out that Pimlico is not part of England, but still a part of Burgundy, France. The first thing the citizens do is tear up their English ration books, and go hogwild buying as much food and clothes as they want. Londoners start flooding into this “foreign land” to buy some of these items, until the government of England sets up roadblocks going in and out. The highjinks continue as the new Burgandians fight for their rights.  Sporting an impressive British cast of Stanley Holloway, Margaret Rutherford, and Hermione Baddeley, laughs come often in this witty black-and-white film from 1948, one of the first of Ealing Studios classic comedies.  “  Bluray.com

Australia’s Silent Film Festival is screening Sundays at 2pm on July 3, 10, 17 at 2pm. State Library NSW. Tickets $20/ $15 per session at Festival website or by phone – 0419 267 318. The price for a discounted Pass to all four sessions $70/ $50 (concession).




A Town Named War Boy @ The Metcalfe Auditorium, The State Library

A Town Named War Boy 2 - Inset image by Tracey Schramm
Production pics by Tracey Schramm

Australian playwright Ross Mueller has crafted this play-on commission- after going through the State Library’s very significant collection of First World War diaries, photographs  and letters. That is one helluva a brief!

The  approach that Mueller has taken is to structure his piece as a four-hander. We follow the lives of four young men from their enlistment in Sydney to the long boat ride that takes them to Cairo, from where they are then thrown into the war zone, into a town named war boy. Continue reading A Town Named War Boy @ The Metcalfe Auditorium, The State Library