We are now officially in summer and the beach season. The importance of the beach in our national self-image the theme of a new book by Robert Drewe: The Beach-An Australian Passion. Published by the National Library of Australia, it is richly illustrated with over 190 images by our most celebrated photographers. Drewe’s text and the marvelous illustrations capture the Australian beach experience: a place of health and happiness but sometimes danger.
The National Library has an active and effective publishing arm producing 20 or so books a year while maintaining a current catalogue of over 150 publications which help to interpret the Library’s amazing collection. Another recent publication is John Olsen’s My Salute to Five Bells derived from the art manuscript in the Library’s collection of his Opera House Journal which Olsen created in parallel with his painting of the mural masterpiece in the northern foyer.
Initially part of the Parliamentary Library from 1901, the National Library was formally separated in 1960; the very handsome building on the lake shore was opened in 1968. Although the Library was one of the great initiatives of the Menzies Government, subsequent coalition governments seem to have treated the Library rather warily. Be that as it may, the Library is a wonderful, multi-faceted institution. The Publications catalogue is easily reached at publishing.nla.gov.au Really good for Christmas shopping.
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