History of Special Collections

  • Our Special Collections were established in 1986, when the Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA) campus of UNSW was created in Canberra.
  • We are physically located in a purpose-built wing of the Academy Library on the UNSW Canberra campus.
  • The Duntroon Rare Book Collection, on permanent loan to UNSW Canberra, seeded the collection.
  • The Special Collections reputation for excellence was established in the early years, growing the collection through strategic acquisition.
  • We opened the John Howard Reading Room in 2015, formed a partnership with the National Archives of Australia (NAA) for custody and access to the John Howard Collection, focused on collection management, refurbished the Special Collections wing, and created a new repository.
  • In 2018 Special Collections separated as an organisational unit from the Academy Library. Access to most manuscript collections was opened. We continue to make more manuscript collections discoverable and encourage self-service digitisation.