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State Library secures rare historical archive

14 Aug 2012

The State Government has acquired a rare historical archive of letters, memoirs and diaries associated with pioneer Resident Magistrate Robert Fairbairn (1841-1922) in the colony of Western Australia.

 The State Library of Western Australia this week acquired the collection at auction.

Culture and the Arts Minister John Day said the archive might shed new light on WA’s colonial past and would be of particular interest to researchers and historians.

“I am extremely pleased the State Library has secured this valuable archive ensuring it stays in WA in a publicly accessible collection,” Mr Day said.

“This archive will add to the story of our State’s unique history and be one of the gems in the heritage collection at the State Library.”

There are more than 3,000 items in the archive, some of which include:

  • Robert Fairbairn’s memoirs and letters
  • letters and replies from social friends, acquaintances, families and colleagues
  • numerous studio and family photographs, including fine-painted miniatures of early settlers
  • diaries and other personal items associated with the Fairbairn, Bussell and other WA families.

The Minister said the collection would be preserved on behalf of the community.