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Monday, 5 August 2013


Trove” is the National Library of Australia’s archival website. Most often used to study old newspaper files, it has a range of other downloadable categories, including books.
Books can be accessed from sources all around the world. It’s not that easy to locate what you want, however. For a start, there are no catalogue numbers that I can list for you; you will have to locate the books yourself. You will also find that books from some sources are harder to download than others. In fact, I still haven’t figured some sources out. More annoying still are those that you think you can download until you find that you must first be a member of a certain library group, have a password or that you can only get a text-only copy, minus illustrations etc.
Nevertheless, it’s a valuable resource and well worth the effort involved. Here’s how to get started.

First bring up the home page: You should bookmark this immediately.
Click on “Books”. Now tick the “Available Online” box. You can also tick the “Australian Content” box, though this doesn’t always help. I only use it when confronted with hundreds (sometimes thousands) of items to check.

We will locate a book that was in the Parramatta High School library when I was a student there in the 1950’s. It was the book that really piqued my interest in Geology. The full title is “The Geology of Sydney and the Blue Mountains” by Rev J Milne Curran.

Now return to the web page. In the “Search” box put in what you consider are the key words. Try just with “Geology” and “Sydney” for starters. Don’t use the author’s name – you often won’t know it or you will likely get the spelling wrong. Now Click on “Search”. 

I came up with a list of 5,627 books. Too many. Try adding “Blue Mountains” in quotes. This reduces the list to 113 and this time we have hit the jackpot because the first 4 entries are all the book we are looking for. Click on the one of your choice. I chose the second and it took me to the Internet Archive of the University of Toronto, where you can read details of the book.
On the far left, click on PDF to download the file. This will take some time. It took me 7 minutes to bring down the 422 page book. Before you start exploring the book, SAVE IT! Click on “File”, then “Save page as” and then name and save the book wherever you want to put it. (Your computer may well have a different way the save the file, but be sure to do it immediately you have downloaded it. 

While this can be a frustrating process, it's worth coming to terms with it. Here are several other books which I downloaded while preparing for this Blog. You might try locating them! 
Blue Mountains Gems by Harry Phillips - undated
                                                                    You can locate an enormous amount of interesting material in Trove – photographs, newspaper articles, magazine articles etc. I hope you enjoy exploring the archives as much as I do.

See also my You Tube playlist on the Blue Mountains here . I also have playlists on gem hunting/mining, Glen Innes and New Zealand.

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