Rare Bites!

28 March, 2017

Our next Rare Bites will be delivered by one of Australia's most awesome science communicators, Dr Karl Kruszelnicki who will talk about the first edition of Isaac Newton's Principia (1687).

Tuesday, 23 May, 2017 1-1.30pm
Seminar Room, Level 2, Fisher Library

Bring your lunch and be entertained, informed and inspired. Everyone welcome but please let us know you're coming.

Register here.


Rare Bites is a series of informal and entertaining 30 minute lunchtime talks held monthly during semester in 2017 and beyond. If you want to learn about some of the treasures and lesser-known gems within Rare Books & Special Collections at the University Library, this is your opportunity. Audience attendance is free and fascinating facts are guaranteed!

Find our semester program here:
Rare Bites in Semester 1, 2017

If the stress of Christmas becomes too much, or if you're looking for a different way to relax over the summer break, why not try our crowd sourcing project?




Before the discovery of oxygen, a substance called phlogiston was thought to exist. As scientists experimented on the substances of air, they published their accounts and theories. Some of these publications are now on display at the SciTech Library. Works by the brilliant Robert Boyle; “Hard Luck” Scheele; the philogistically faithful Richard Kirwan; and the first to publish on oxygen, Joseph Priestley and Antoine Lavoisier. By 1789 oxygen was firmly placed on the basic table of elements.

Where: SciTech Library exhibition space

When: during SciTech opening hours

New post on the Striking Chords blog:

Striking Chords invite.jpg

This exhibition is a celebration of the University Library’s Rare Music Collection, on the occasion of its relocation from the Conservatorium Library to Fisher Rare Books & Special Collections.

When the NSW State Conservatorium of Music was officially opened on 6 May 1915, its stated aims were “providing tuition of a standard at least equal to that of the leading European Conservatoriums”. It would seem logical then that the Rare Music collection of Australia’s first dedicated music education institution be concentrated around two main cultural waypoints: the European classical music tradition that the Conservatorium sought to transmit, and the Australian musical culture that developed from this foundation.

These two areas of strength provide natural entry points for exploring this varied and intriguing collection. They provide the framework for this exhibition, the aim of which is to showcase not only the objects themselves, but the continuation of their stories through ongoing scholarship and engagement.

For images, articles, discussion and commentary, please visit our Striking Chords blog:

This is the fifth in a series of companion posts to the current Fisher Library exhibition Circumstances of Interest: Travel Diaries, Journals and Logs from Rare Books & Special Collections.

On December 30th 1871, Louisa Jenner wrote an account of Christmas on board the Asia, the ship on which she, her husband and two young children had spent the past three months. By the time she wrote this entry, she had already reached her final destination of Melbourne, where they were met by relatives.

Louisa's account of Christmas on board the ship is characteristically humorous; she describes early-morning carol singing, and a Christmas tree which delighted her children. Particularly amusing is her recounting of the antics of the young ladies on board; apparently the captain was the recipient of several kisses under the mistletoe.

From Diary of a voyage from England to Australia on the ship 'Asia', 1871-1872 / Louisa Jenner (RB Add. Ms. 393 Deane)

This is the fourth in a series of companion posts to the current Fisher Library exhibition Circumstances of Interest: Travel Diaries, Journals and Logs from Rare Books & Special Collections.

The book of watercolours that forms part of Evelyn and Charles Nicholson's record of their honeymoon journey to
Australia includes many illustrations of Australian landscapes.This week's (mostly pictorial) post features some early views of Sydney, as captured by Evelyn and Charles in 1897.




From book of watercolour paintings / Evelyn and Charles Nicholson, accompanying Diary of a trip to Australia, c.1897 / Evelyn Nicholson (RB Supp. Ms. 28).