Alice Springs Collection

The Alice Springs Collection is unique in its focus on Central Australia - its history, geography and cultural, scientific and economic development. The collection is a record of both the area's heritage and of change, encompassing the movement of Europeans into the area, economic activities such as pastoralism, mining and indigenous art movements, and the area's many active local organisations.

The Collection is located in the south wing of the Library, named the Joy Brucek wing in honour of Alice Springs' first librarian. Beginning as a resource solely for academic researchers, the Collection has evolved into a reading room for the general public. People are welcome to browse, read or study during the weekday library opening hours. All materials in the Collection are not for loan, and therefore can only be accessed in the Collection Room.

We provide study tables and chairs, a photocopier, computers and a pleasant atmosphere for you to work or browse in.

The collection includes

  • Books & periodicals
  • Reports and magazines
  • Photographs including copies of the Laver and Old Timers collections
  • The entire set of the Centralian Advocate on computer
  • Many out of print and rare books
  • Map collections including 30 year-old 1:250,000 scale maps of Central Australia
  • Vertical files

Examples of subjects covered within the collection are

  • Local history of buildings
  • The Ghan
  • Explorers
  • Settlers
  • Missionaries
  • Aboriginal Mythology, History and Art
  • Land rights
  • Anthropological Studies


Centralian Advocate

The Centralian Advocate is Alice Springs' longest running newspaper, first published on 24 May 1947, and still in circulation today. The years 1947 - 1955 have been indexed, making finding particular articles or topics easier. Soon it will be possible to search the full text of editions after 1955 using key words.

All editions of the Centralian Advocate newspaper are available on computer in the Alice Springs Collection.

Digital Repository

The Library has received a number of donations in electronic format - photographs, diaries, DVDs of events and celebrations in the town - and is building the means to making these available to the public.

An example of the material we have received is an index for a database of photographs put together by local historians Barry Allwright and Geoff Purdie. Barry and Geoff have collected photographs taken by a number of people, from early last century until recently, digitised them, created an index of these images and presented a copy of the index to the library. They have confirmed with the photographers that the images will be made generally available and that copies can be made. This is a major quality undertaking and demonstrates their commitment to preserving photographs so as to make them permanently and publicly available. It is also an ongoing project and will grow as Barry and Geoff source more photographs.

The index is available in the Alice Springs Collection reading room; people wanting copies of images can then contact Barry Allwright on 8952 1726; or email him on

Additional information

The Alice Springs Collection is open on weekdays, during normal Library hours.

All materials contained in the Collection are classified as reference, and therefore can only be accessed in the Collection Room

For further information, please contact Special Collections Librarian - Kathryn Bailey on (08) 8950 0507 or email