What we collect

The Northern Territory Library holds some of the world’s most significant collections relating to the history, development and culture of Australia’s Northern Territory.

Since its establishment in 1980, the Northern Territory Library has collected, preserved and provided access to historic and contemporary materials relating to the Northern Territory. This mission is supported by Legal Deposit which enables us to comprehensively collect all items in the Northern Territory.

It now holds over 300,000 images, books, manuscripts, maps, newspapers, ephemera and audiovisual materials, making it one of the most significant collections of its kind in the world.

Goyder stereoscopic apparatus

The Library is particularly focused on collecting items that are:

  • about, related or significant to the Northern Territory
  • written by Northern Territorians
  • published or produced in the Northern Territory
Types of collections
Audiovisual materials

Featuring recordings of local bands, rare historic footage, films, documentaries and radio programs, the Library’s audio-visual collection is a feast for the eyes and ears. More than 4000 items are available for access during the Library’s opening hours.


From posters to election pamphlets, menus to event programs, invitations to junk mail, this collection offers a unique insight into the communicative trends underpinning Northern Territory social and cultural life.

ImagesThe Library houses more than 100,000 [AB1] historic photographs, postcards, illustrations and albums relating to life in the Northern Territory from the 1800s onwards.
ManuscriptsThe Library’s manuscript collection includes personal papers, letters, diaries and notebooks providing an intimate record of life in northern Australia.
MapsView history from above: explore more than 3000 rare maps documenting the Northern Territory’s cultural history, exploration, borders, settlements, industry and geology.
Published materials

Our book, periodical, report and newspaper collection features over 80,000 historic and modern, regional and national publications, available in the library, online and via microfilm.


To celebrate our 30th birthday, Northern Territory Library exhibited 30 internationally significant treasures from our special collections. Explore them online here.