Pacific Manuscripts Bureau (Pambu)

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander visitors are kindly advised that this website includes images, sounds and names of people who have passed.

All users should be aware that some topics or historical content may be culturally sensitive, offensive or distressing, and that some images may contain nudity or are of people not yet identified.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

Finding items in the Pambu Collections

Pacific Manuscripts Bureau catalogue

Basic Search

  1. Click on Search box and select ‘Global’ search
    • If you are searching for a phrase place it in quotation marks, for example:  “New Hebrides”
    • If you know the specific reel number place it in quotes, for example:  “PMB MS 386” or “PMB DOC 386”  ( PMB MS are unpublished items and PMB DOC are published items)
    • You can further refine your search using the options in the column on the left of the Pambu global search screen. For example: narrow by place or by type of material (image or text)

Advanced Search

  1. Click in the search box
  2. Select ‘Advanced’ search
  3. Refine your search by:
    • Combining or excluding search terms (by using the terms AND, OR and NOT)
    • Searching by creator (including people and organisations)
    • Searching by Date range
    • Search by Place: In the 'Narrow your results by' column on the left of the Advanced screen select the country
    • Phrase searching - ie using double quotation marks gets more relevant results eg “London Missionary Society”
    • Using Wildcards (*) used to replace missing letters eg mission* will find mission, missions, missionary, missionaries
    • Searching by format ('General material designation'), such as graphic material (eg photographs), textual records (printed and unpublished documents)
    • Search by media type:  In the 'Narrow you results by' column on the left of the Advanced screen Search by image or text. 
    • Searching for digitised material (Note: You can search and view digitised images from home.   The Digitised documents are available to view at a member library such as the State Library of NSW).


  • The results will display below the Advanced Search box so you need to scroll down to see them.
  • To return to the home screen click on the Pacific Manuscripts Bureau at the top of the page:

  • You can save your searches to the clipboard on the right of the screen
  • Download more search tips from the Pacific Manuscripts Bureau