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Main collection

Searching for books

Search the online catalogue for material in the main collection.

Search the card catalogue if you cannot find what you want in the online catalogue .

The card catalogue is located in the Rare Books and Special Collections Library reading room on level 1 of Fisher Library and level 5 of Fisher Library. You can only search the card catalogue by Author or Title.


About the main collection

  • approximately 56,000 books printed in Europe from the late 15th century to 1801
  • one of the largest Short Title Catalogue and Wing collections (material printed between 1475 and 1700) in Australia
  • first and early editions of 17th and 18th century English literature, literary criticism and philosophy, particularly works by John Dryden and Thomas Hobbes (Macdonald Collection)
  • early Australiana, including books about Australia and voyages of exploration in the Pacific published before European settlement
  • 19th and early 20th century Australian literary and historical works, with an emphasis on New South Wales publications
  • early American, Asian, New Zealand, Pacific Island and USSR publications
  • original editions of 19th century fiction, particularly English "three-decker" novels
  • first and important editions of books by 20th century English and American authors
  • occult sciences, demonology and witchcraft
  • history of science, particularly works on the pure sciences, astronomy and thermodynamics
  • works by specific authors: William Blake, Aleister Crowley, Lewis Carroll, Charles Darwin, Charles Dickens, Thomas Eliot, Henry Havelock Ellis, John Galsworthy, Mary Gilmore, John Gould, Aldous Huxley, James Joyce, D.H. Lawrence, Henry Lawson, Norman Lindsay, Georgiana McCrae, Hugh McCrae, Katherine Mansfield, Henry Miller, George Moore, William Morris, Isaac Newton, Joseph Priestly, Oscar Wilde, W.B. Yeats.
  • modern limited editions, fine binding and printing

Bibliographies of holdings in the Rare Books and Special Collections Library

Manu~scripta: a bibliography of holdings of original manuscripts to 1603 A.D.

Bibliography of holdings in the Occult sciences, demonology & witchcraft

Index to the Cosme Colony collection
See also Sydney eScholarship Repository for images from this collection (in progress)


Indexes of early printed books

  • An Index of Early Printed Books in the British Museum: from the Invention of Printing to the Year 1500
    Compiled by Robert Proctor
    RB Ref 093, held in the Rare Books and Special Collections Reading Room.
  • Short-Title Catalogue of Books Printed in England, Scotland and Ireland and of English Books Printed Abroad, 1475-1640. First compiled by A.W. Pollard and G.R. Redgrave.
    RB Ref 015.41 11A
  • Short-Title Catalogue of Books Printed in England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales and British America and of English Books Printed in Other Countries, 1641-1700. Compiled by Donald Wing.
    RB Ref 015.42 12
  • Bibliography of Australia, 1784-1900. Compiled by John Alexander Ferguson.
    RB Ref 016.994


Finding materials outside the Rare Books and Special Collections Library