Crommelin Collection

Library staff working with Rare Books & Special Collections are invited to blog about significant items and interesting discoveries. When Theresia Sandjaja was cataloguing for Rare Books & Special Collections, she found an envelope addressed simply to “Miss M. Crommelin, Pearl Beach via Woy Woy”. Theresia tells the story of her find:

Working on the Crommelin Collection, I encountered the envelope pictured above without a full address. I supposed that she must have been a very prominent person during her time. Further research concluded that she was the first Post Mistress in Woy Woy (1906-1910)!

Minard Fannie Crommelin was born on 29 June 1881 at Aston station, near Bombala, New South Wales. Her experience working in the post office started as early as 12 when she assisted the postmistress at Burrawong. Minard continued learning at the Sydney Church of England Grammar School for Girls then worked as an assistant in the post office at Moss Vale. In 1906, she became the acting postmistress in Woy Woy, where she stayed until 1910. During the rest of her working life, she was relieving postmistress in over 150 towns. 

Minard Crommelin often explored local bushland for walks and picnics with friends. When visiting Pearl beach, near Woy Woy, she spotted a lyrebird for the first time, which encouraged her to retire there. Pearl Beach has the best of both worlds: tranquil bush, full of birds & crickets chirping, and a short walk to a gentle rolling wave beach.

At the end of her working life in the mid-1930s, Crommelin visited England, Ireland and Europe to learn about her family history. She was also active in many conservation and natural history societies and began purchasing antique furniture and rare books on Australia and its natural history. Books owned by her have a bookplate designed by Neave Parker (1910-1961), an English natural history artist. The bookplate contains the Crommelin arms with three merlettes and a chevron, and illustrations of the Australian bush with native animals such as koalas, a kangaroo, and a lyrebird.

After returning to Australia, Crommelin purchased around seven acres of land adjoining a sanctuary at Pearl Beach. She named the main residence and library “Warrah”, an Aboriginal word meaning “a wide view” or “seen from a long way”. In 1946, Crommelin gave the property along with all other assets to the University of Sydney, with the provision that she would still be able to stay and live there for the rest of her life. The original copy of the deed of gift is archived at Mitchell Library.

Her legacy still lives to present day. The University named the Crommelin Biological Research Station in her honour, which is now used by our visiting scholars. The books previously held in Warrah were transferred to Fisher Library’s Rare Books and Special Collections .

In addition to her invaluable contribution to the University of Sydney, Crommelin was also active in assisting local communities. Crommelin Place in Canberra, Crommelin Crescent in St Helens Park, NSW, and Crommelin Native Arboretum, Pearl Beach (shown below), are all named in her honour.

For more information on Minard Crommelin and Neave Parker:
Neave parker

Are you Exam Ready? It’s ok, we’ve got your back!

person looking at laptop screen

We’ve always looked after you during exam times and our Exam Ready fun has just begun!

The first 500 who sign up for our Exam Ready Planner will have it mailed out to you! Get in early so you receive it ASAP 😊 (Australian addresses only). We also have the planner as a download you can print for yourself.

Check out all of the activities we have in store to keep you healthy of mind and body. From stretching to baking, study support and your daily dose of positivity. Exam Ready is here for you – online.

Stay safe and stay in touch.

PeerConnect – Video chat with a Peer Learning Advisor

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With everyone studying from home there are a lot of us feeling isolated and alone, so it’s more important than ever before to stay connected with your tribe.  Some of us didn’t even have the chance to meet our classmates this year! We have a solution 😊

We’re really proud to introduce PeerConnect – video chat with PLAs!

Who are Peer Learning Advisors (PLAs)? We are students who have been there and are doing it! We know how to help you because we share your interests and challenges in University life.

You can drop in to PeerConnect for a virtual social chat, share stories on how you’re dealing with things or ask for advice. While you’re there maybe we can also help you navigate the resources available to you for study and research or connect you to people who can help you. If you need support in other areas of your life we can also put you in touch with the best services to help you.

We’re looking forward to meeting you online!

Stay safe and stay connected,

From your friendly PLAs.

Free access to online reading material from SUP!

book covers

Sydney University Press have compiled some of their favourite free reading material from their own open access collection and from around the world. There is history, Australian poetry, classic children’s picture books and much more to choose from!


In our Sydney Open Library, you’ll find all of SUP’s open access books, including history, biography, politics, literary criticism, public health and more, all free to read.


Created by the University of Sydney and the Australian Copyright Agency, the Australian Poetry Library hosts tens of thousands of poems by Australian writers, plus recordings of poets reading their work.


Several books in our Indigenous Music of Australia series have companion websites, where you can learn about the music of Indigenous communities and stream audio and video recordings of musicians performing their songs

Book cover: Fighting Nature by Peta Tait

From Sydney Open Library:

Throughout the 19th century, animals were integrated into staged scenarios of confrontation, ranging from lion acts in small cages to large-scale re-enactments of war. Fighting Nature is an insightful analysis of the historical legacy of 19th-century colonialism, war, animal acquisition and transportation.

Book Cover: Singing Bones - ancestral Creativity and Collaboration by Samuel Curkpatrick

From Indigenous Music of Australia:

Manikay are the ancestral songs of Arnhem Land, passed down over generations and containing vital cultural knowledge.

Singing Bones foregrounds the voices of manikay singers from Ngukurr in southeastern Arnhem Land, and charts their critically acclaimed collaboration with jazz musicians from the Australian Art Orchestra, Crossing Roper Bar. It offers an overview of Wägilak manikay narratives and style, including their social, ceremonial and linguistic aspects, and explores the Crossing Roper Bar project as an example of creative intercultural collaboration and a continuation of the manikay tradition.

Studying from home? The Library’s got your back.

student studying online

The shift to online learning has happened pretty quickly, and you might be wondering where you can get help and support. Well don’t worry – Academic Liaison Librarians continue to be available to help with your research.

We already have a huge bank of resources to help you prepare for assessments, whether that’s for finding information or referencing. You can check out our Subject Guides for starter resources and top tips for university research. If you’re an international student, you might want to check out our special guide.

The Library’s youTube channel also has great introductory skills videos – and if you’re looking for a way to take a break from your studies, why not check out some of our Rare Bites talks? (Dr Karl’s talk on Principia is a classic!)

Many of our in-person workshops are now being offered via Zoom. If you want to tune in for a class experience and learn with other students, head over to the Workshops page on the Library website and join in from the comfort of your couch or bed or breakfast table! Over the next month we’ll be adding even more opportunities to learn about research, so keep an eye on the Library’s social media channels and check in on the workshop calendar.

You’ll probably find that your faculty or school Academic Liaison Librarian already has some presence in Canvas, but you can also reach out by email by visiting our Meet with a Librarian page. And if you can’t find an answer by email, we can arrange a one-on-one consult via Zoom.

And if you’re a Higher Degree by Research student or a member of academic staff, we’re here to help you with research metrics, publication, reference management and more.

So while we’re staying physically distant, there’s no reason to be socially distant – your Academic Liaison Librarians are here for you!

student studying online

The Library is your safe space.

The world may be in lockdown but our LGBTQIA+ community spirit and support is not! While we are in physical isolation it’s even more important to reach out.

The University of Sydney Library is dedicated to providing a safe, inclusive environment for people who identify as LGBTQIA+ and our Liaison Officer is here to offer support to staff and students who need help.

We are working with the University’s Pride Network and can ensure those who need help are able to identify and access the services they require.

  • Be referred to support services including counselling services
  • Connect with supportive communities within the University including the Pride Network and Queer Action Collective

If you need support contact your Library LGBTQIA+ Liaison Officer Sam Farrell at Sam has had extensive experience working in various support roles for the LGBTQIA+ community including her role as a crisis counsellor with Lifeline Newcastle and Hunter, event facilitator with ACON Newcastle coordinating Wear It Purple Day events and facilitating anti-discrimination workshops in high schools.

The Library is also proud to be part of the Welcome Here Project. The Welcome Here Project supports businesses/organisations throughout Australia to create and promote environments that are visibly welcoming and inclusive of Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Trans, Intersex and Queer (LGBTIQ) communities. You may notice Welcome Here Project stickers at the entries of all our Library sites.


Contact your Library LGBTQIA+ Liaison Officer at