Rare pieces of Australian history head to Bellingen primary schools

Explorer Matthew Flinders' naval badge and a portrait of Bungaree, the first Australian to circumnavigate the continent with Flinders, are among the extraordinary items from the State Library's collection heading to the Bellingen area from Monday.

State Librarian John Vallance said this will be the first time these rare pieces of Australian history will be shown in Bellingen, as part of the State Library's FAR Out! Treasures to the Bush initiative.

"The valuable FAR Out! program has reached nearly 30,000 students in regional areas across NSW. I am thrilled that hundreds of students and their teachers from across eight schools in the Bellingen area will get to benefit from it," Dr Vallance said.

"I am delighted that this program continues to be supported by the State Library of NSW's Foundation."

From March 2 to 5, the State Library's learning team will run immersive learning activities with students and teachers around a selection of landmark Australian treasures including:

  • Matthew Flinders' naval sash badge and a list of equipment for his HMS Investigator voyage, sent to his patron Joseph Banks;
  • 'A new terrestrial globe' of 1754 by globe maker Nathanial Hill; and
  • Portrait of King Bungaree, 1829, the first Australian to circumnavigate Australia

The team will visit primary schools in Dorrigo, Bellingen, Repton and Bonville.

As well as explaining the significance of objects they bring with them, there will be an interactive activity that involves dressing up in period costumes.

The team will also be available to speak to the general public at Dorrigo Public Library on Tuesday from 10am-10.30am, with the artefacts on display.

"The State Library of NSW is the home of Australia's history," said Pauline Fitzgerald, Acting Manager, Learning Services. "We're thrilled to be able to give students the opportunity to get 'up close' to the original historical material and hear the stories behind these iconic items."

FAR Out! connects students and teachers to the amazing resources and unique learning services the State Library has to offer onsite, online and in the community. In the past 10 years over 70 per cent of NSW schools have participated in State Library learning programs.

For more information about the State Library's Learning services and programs, visit www.sl.nsw.gov.au/learning