National Library of Australia

Innovation and Industry

Australians have a talent for ingenuity and creative thinking, and many of our inventions have been world firsts.

‘Innovation and Industry’ documents the way our nation has prospered through our resourcefulness and originality, whether addressing the tyranny of distance, solving problems, or expressing creativity.

W.A. Crowder’s 1872 diary details the incredible challenges of completing the Overland Telegraph Line, so news could travel between Australia and England within 24 hours instead of three months.

The founding of Qantas further reduced the barriers of distance. The oldest airline in the English-speaking world, Qantas has a well-earned reputation for safety and innovation.

Charles Kingsford Smith and Charles Ulm extended Australia’s aviation successes. Breaking dozens of records, and achieving the first trans-Pacific flight, they brought the rest of the world still closer.

The Hills Hoist and the Holden motor car—so visible in the urban landscape—show contrasting aspects of Australian innovation.

Australian libraries document many great innovations by Australians since European settlement. These collections certainly support Australia’s claim to being the ‘clever country’.