Thousands of children (and more than a few adults) have looked at the Mitchell Library with awe: what is that place, alive with the vistas, whispers and magic of books? It’s the library that all libraries lead to, in New South Wales.
So it seems entirely appropriate that the person who grew up to become an emeritus curator at the State Library of New South Wales found his passion for books as a nine-year-old in his local suburban library. Continue reading →
Paul is well known for his talks. He has a natural gift for telling history so vividly that the characters seem to burst free from their letters and journals, suddenly alive in the room, brushing page, ink and the ages from their clothes.
‘I’m flattered and honoured when people comment on it,’ he says, ‘but I’m not conscious of doing it.
‘My parents influenced me in my love of history. They seemed to know a lot when not a lot of Australian history was really known.
As one who’s been so close to the many magnificent collections in the State Library, does Paul have a favourite item, that’s stayed a favourite through his career? The 18th-century specialist doesn’t hesitate.
Our interview closes with a discussion about Paul’s current role. What are the emeritus curator’s responsibilities?
‘I offer advice and assistance, where required,’ he says, ‘or I’ll be involved in specific projects, if needed. I’ll be continuing my research, and publicising the library through talks and lectures, which I’ve done on the Queen Mary 2, and will be doing more of these. And if the library needs my help, I’ll be involved and help with acquisitions.’ Continue reading →