Special Collections

Rare and unique collections to support research and teaching

Special Collections' main themes are Rare materials, Australian Literature, Indian Ocean Maritime History, Literature and Theatre and the University. Materials from the collection can be found in OneSearch and must be viewed in the Special Collections reading room.

Special Collections is located on the 2nd Floor in the Reid Library and may be consulted on request by anyone with an interest in the material. Photographic ID is required and the material can only be photographed. Some collection materials may have access restrictions or other conditions, so we recommend that you plan in advance and contact us prior to your visit to facilitate your research.

Giving to the Library

The Library welcomes gifts and donations as an important and valuable means of enhancing and enriching the University's Collections in the following areas:

  • UWA publications
  • The Indian Ocean Region
  • Australian Literature
  • Manuscripts and rare books published pre 1900

Conditions of acceptance

  • Gifts are accepted on the understanding that items not selected for inclusion in the collection will be disposed of at the Library's discretion.
  • Donated material is integrated into the existing collection, and is subject to the same conditions of use. Gifts are not normally accepted if the donor wishes to place any limitations or restrictions on their use or disposal.
  • Donations become the property of the UWA Library, and may not be claimed back at a later date. We do not normally accept items or collections on long-term loan.
  • Special treatment of significant collections or items may be considered with the approval of the University Librarian.
  • A UWA Gift Agreement must be completed for donations of significant collections or items.


Where appropriate, bookplates with the donor’s name can be added to gift items.

Donations and tax benefits

The Federal Government offers a tax deduction for significant cultural donations to libraries and archives.

How to donate

If you wish to donate, please contact the Special Collections and Archives Team.


Reid Library Display Cases

Unique items from the Library’s Special Collections are exhibited in two display cases located on the Ground Floor of the Reid Library. The Library thanks the Friends of the Library for their generous donation of one of the display cases.

The Reformation in Print - A UWA Library Special Collections and Centre of Medieval and Early Modern Studies online exhibition

On 31 October 1517, Martin Luther sent his Ninety-Five Theses to Cardinal Albrecht of Brandenburg, the Archbishop of Mainz, criticising the Roman Catholic Church’s sale of indulgences. On the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Protestant Reformation, this online exhibition is designed to help students explore how the reformation unfolded through the emerging phenomenon of print culture, through examples from the UWA Library Special Collections. Scholars from the Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Studies consider how the lives, images and thought of Luther, other Reformers and Catholic Reformation leaders were expressed in print, at a time when this fledgling media for communication was in rapid development.

Text written by Susan BroomhallKirk EssarySusanne Meurer and Arvi Wattel.

Photography by Kate McVey and Rosie Inglis, UWA Library.

Contact the Special Collections team

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By appointment only