The Library’s collections contain a wealth of information for the garden and plant historian and enthusiast. Books, paintings, photographs and other materials on botanical and horticultural subjects from the Middle Ages to the present and from Europe, Asia and Australia form an extensive collection.
The collection of illustrated botanical works is one on the most important in Australia and includes Robert John Thornton’s The temple of flora, and Carolo Ludovico Blume’s Flora Javae nec non insularum adjacentium.
Illustrated botanical works about Australian plants include Ferdinand Bauer’s Illustrationes florae Novae Hollandiae, 1813; Fanny Anne Charsley’s The wildflowers around Melbourne, 1867; James Sowerby’s Specimen of the botany of New Holland, 1793; and Flora Australasica, or a selection of handsome and curious plants (1827–28).
The nursery and seed industry is well represented, with large holdings in Australian Manuscripts and book, journal and pamphlet collections. The papers and records of William Sangster and Thomas Lang, who were instrumental in bringing out a large variety of plants to Australia, are of particular note.
The Library holds the work of significant landscape architects, designers and gardeners like Jean Galbraith, Edna Walling, Ellis Stones, Gordon Ford and Glen Wilson, as well as an extensive collection of photographs and illustrations of gardens from the past 200 years.