Sport Collections

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All users should be aware that some topics or historical content may be culturally sensitive, offensive or distressing, and that some images may contain nudity or are of people not yet identified. Certain words, terms or descriptions may reflect the author's/creator's attitude or that of the period in which they were written, but are now considered inappropriate in today's context.

Key to library resources

Access anywhere with a library card In the Library (or anywhere with a Library card for NSW residents)
Available to access in the library Only in the Library
Publicly available online Publicly available

Other Institutions

Local studies collections in public libraries

The vital community services provided by NSW public libraries include their local studies departments. Just as the State Library of NSW collects to broaden understanding of the state and country’s unique history and culture, public libraries fulfil this role at a local, community level.

In 2019, Andy Carr from the State Library of NSW presented a paper at the 22nd Sporting Traditions conference. Titled ‘From Broken Bay to Broken Hill: Discovering Sports Archives in the Public Libraries of New South Wales’, it was the culmination of a State Library of NSW initiative to survey sports holdings in public libraries throughout the state. The presentation can be accessed here.

The project showed that many local studies collections can contain a goldmine of sporting records, images, ephemera and memorabilia. Many have been catalogued and can be searched on Trove. In other cases, it is worthwhile contacting a public library and asking for more information.

Local treasures discovered during the project include:

Galleries, Libraries, Museums & Archives (GLAM)

National & State Libraries

Across the country, you’ll find other National and State libraries of Australia (NSLA) with rich and diverse collections. 

Sporting highlights include: 

Search tip: To find collection items, search via NSLA library catalogues. To find stories, event details and other research resources, search NSLA library websites.

Australian Sports Museum

The Australian Sports Museum at the Melbourne Cricket Ground is home to the nation’s largest sporting collection, which includes objects, pictures, printed material and ephemera. The museum also hosts the Sport Australia Hall of Fame.
Discover more on the Australian Sports Museum catalogue.

National Museum of Australia

The National Museum of Australia’s collection includes over 200,000 items reflecting Australian history and culture. Sporting stories are highlighted through its events and exhibitions and captured on the Museum’s Glorious Days: Sport and leisure page.
Discover more on the NMA catalogue.

Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences (MAAS)

The Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences is a multifaceted institution whose venues include the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney Observatory and the Museums Discovery Centre. The collection includes over 500,000 items, with many sporting highlights, including equipment, clothing, memorabilia and other objects relating to the 2000 Sydney Olympics
Discover more on the MAAS catalogue.

Collection highlight: Lauren Jackson at Albury LibraryMuseum

Search tip: Researching local studies collections

As well as holding manuscripts, memorabilia and other original materials, local studies collections can be a valuable source of information for sports research. Local studies collections at public libraries typically include resources such as newspapers and local publications, clipping/ephemera files, council records, and house/building information.

Find a NSW public library here.