Events & Talks

Throughout the year the State Library organises a range of exciting events, most of them free. For events at a glance, check out the events calendar.

From stimulating lectures and talks inspired by our exhibitions and collections to films and concerts – there is something to interest everyone. All venues at the library are wheelchair accessible.

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The Seymour Biography Lecture, + Our Love Affair with the Beach, Sunday 14 February

Join one of our favourite authors and The West Australian’s weekly columnist Robert Drewe at the State Library for his presentation of The Seymour Biography Lecture. The Lecture is supported by Dr John and Mrs Heather Seymour AO, in association with the National Library of Australia. The Seymours have been long-time friends and supporters of the National Library of Australia and also the literary forms of biography, autobiography and memoir. Following the Lecture, join in the discussion along with special guests.

11:00am: The Seymour Biography Lecture in the Library. Robert Drewe is one of Australia’s most prominent literary authors. Although born in Melbourne his writing has been shaped by the Swan River and the Indian Ocean coast. The Seymour Biography Lecture is titled “Who, Me?” and reflects on the Memoir in Literature.

12:30pm: Robert recently released his latest book “The Beach: An Australian Passion” (NLA Publishing). Brett McCarthy (editor of The West Australian, member of Cottesloe Surf Lifesaving Club and Rottnest Channel Soloist) and Gemma Tognini (board member Surf Lifesaving WA and 2014 WA Telstra Businesswoman of the Year) will join Robert and MC Colleen Egan (Walkley Award winner and journalist) to discuss “How much does the beach influence the lives of West Australians?”

From the ugliness of shark attacks, drownings and large doses of UV rays to the joy of sandcastles, surfing, families and first love.

1:45pm: Robert Drewe joins The West Australian’s renowned and popular cartoonist and sandgroper, Dean Alston to draw and talk “The Passion of the Beach” – turning some of our most memorable beach moments into sketches that simply say it all.

2:45pm: Bringing your Ancestor to Life. Robert Drewe and the audience will join the discussion with the State Library’s Family History subject specialists Leonie Hayes and Tricia Fairweather. Ideas, resources, places to look and details that will help put colour into the story of a life.

All Day and FREE – Our Love Affair with the Beach an extraordinary display of images that show how we have played and stayed at the beach across the decades and from sun-up to sun-down.

Ticket holders for The Seymour Lecture will have priority seating at the subsequent activities.

The Seymour Biography Lecture is $20 per person; Subscribers to The West Australian/The Weekend West $15pp; Members of Surf Lifesaving WA $15pp; Concessions $15pp.

Reservations are essential. Purchase tickets

Preferential attendance at all sessions will be given to those who have purchased a ticket to the Seymour Lecture.

The Seymour Biography Lecture is supported by the National Library of Australia, endowed by Dr John and Mrs Heather Seymour AO.

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Our Love Affair with the Beach – Images from our Collection, Sunday 14 February to Thursday 31 March

From Sunday 14 February to Thursday 31 March Our Love Affair with the Beach will be depicted in Images from our Collection.

This is an extraordinary presentation of beautiful photographs reproduced on beach chairs and displayed in the Ground Floor Gallery.

The images show how we have played and stayed at the beach across the decades, from sun-up to sun-down.

Robert Drewe’s books, including his latest publication The Beach: An Australian Passion, are available at the State Library Bookshop.

Other titles featuring West Australian beaches and landscapes are also available.

Live @ the Library: Western Australian New Music Archive Performance Series

As part of the ongoing Live @ the Library event series the State Library of Western Australia is delighted to announce the second series of performances promoting the Western Australian New Music Archive. The archive is a joint project between SLWA, the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts and Tura New Music, and aims to celebrate the history and heritage of new music in Western Australia through the development of an online web portal that connects to materials included in the state library’s catalogues.

From classical art music and avant-garde composition, including the fusion of jazz, rock, electronica and world music elements, to experimental noise and sound art, new music has a long-running history in Western Australia, often connected to the music departments at both the University of Western Australia and the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts, and supported by Tura New Music as the state’s primary promoter and advocate for new music practice. This event series draws from these long-running institutional affiliations by presenting performances by WAAPA and UWA staff and students that capture the breadth and diversity of experimental music practice in the state. Featuring an array of different approaches to composition, the series will include a myriad of styles that all galvanise the listener through their boundary-pushing approach to sound creation and performance. Events in this series are:

Friday February 26 – Michael Terren – solo electronics
Friday March 18 – Bonetet – trombone quartet
Friday April 15 – Live @ the Library
Friday May 13 – Greywing Trio – harp, saxophone and guitar
Friday June 3 – iMprov Collective – multi-instrument improvisations

All performances start at 1pm

Where: various spaces in the State Library

For more information about the archive visit:

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Page last updated: Tuesday 9 February 2016

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