Basser Library and Fenner Archives

The Academy is currently working to preserve the historically significant holdings of the Basser Library (books and journals) and Fenner Archives . This work is based on the recommendations of an expert Task Force which provided advice to the Council of the Academy on future options for the library and archives.

The Basser Library was established in February 1960 with a gift from Sir Adolph Basser. Its main objectives were to collect materials documenting the history of science in Australia and to conduct and promote related historical research.

The manuscripts collection was established in 1962, and manuscript or archival collections have since been donated to the Fenner Archives by numerous Fellows of the Academy, other prominent scientists, and scientific organisations.

The 233 manuscript collections of Fellows and other leading scientists, in particular, are valuable original sources of information on the history of Australian science. The collections, although in good condition, require improved conservation management, findability and accessibility to ensure their longevity and maximise their benefit to Australian and international science history researchers.

Based on the recommendations of the Task Force, the Academy will relocate historically significant items with publicly focused libraries, museums or other appropriate institutions where feasible, where they can be better cared for and be more readily accessible. Specifically, the Academy will:

  • close the Basser Library
  • prepare the collections in the Fenner Archives using best practice standards of archival preservation to make them findable and accessible
  • manage relocation of manuscript collections from the Fenner Archives to other archival centres.

The Academy is not accepting any new manuscript collections or additions to existing collections.

If you have a connection to a personal collection in the Fenner Archives, either as a relative or professional associate, and if you would like to be consulted on the relocation of that collection, please contact the Academy (details below). If your organisation’s collection is housed in the archives, contact the Academy to discuss relocation options.

The Academy will retain collections until an appropriate location is determined.

Contact for the library and archives project


© 2018 Australian Academy of Science