- 25 November: MyLoans replaces MyLibrary
The Library has listened to feedback from clients and decided to change its MyLibrary service to MyLoans. It is a new name but with the same functionality.
If you have any questions or comments please contact the Web Services Developing Manager
The new name will make it clearer what the service provides to our clients and remove any possible confusion to new clients.
- 21 November: Camouflaging Australia (New title from SUP)
In the West cloister of the Quadrangle, behind the Great Hall, there is a bronze plaque with 1939-1945 Roll of Honour, listing members of the staff, graduates and undergraduates of the University of Sydney who gave their lives during the Second World War.
You can borrow Camouflage Australia: art, nature, science and war via the University sydney Library.
While those that died at the front are fittingly remembered and recognised, others who contributed to the war effort away from the front lines are often forgotten. Such has been the fate of the camoufleurs who worked together to camouflage Australia during the Second World War. In a new book from Sydney University Press, Camouflage Australia: art, nature, science and war, Ann Elias tells the story of camouflage artists and explores the reasons for their invisibility in the historical record.
Through the involvement of two staff: William Dakin and Leslie Wilkinson, Sydney University played a significant role in the efforts to camouflage Australia - the grounds of the Camperdown Campus were used to test concealment and deception methods, while the Zoology Department housed a camouflage laboratory.
William Dakin, a professor of zoology at the University of Sydney, was the most prominent figure in the development of camouflage at the beginning of the Second World War. Using his research into the behaviours and colours of animals, he developed a theoretical basis for his camouflage work. During the war, he waged a campaign in Australia to protect the nation and empire through advancements in camouflage defence.
Dakin was instrumental in starting the Sydney Camouflage Group on 3 September 1939. Apart from Dakin and Wilkinson (an architect), the group included other outstanding individuals from the arts and sciences such as Frank Hinder (an artist), Max Dupain (a photographer), Sydney Ure Smith (an art patron) and many others.
After July 1941, the majority of the Sydney Camouflage Group’s members became official camoufleurs with the Department of Home Security. But their position remained tenuous. The artists and designers deployed by the DHS to work in camouflage - a list comprising just over one hundred men and one woman - were not enlisted soldiers. As civilians working for the armed forces but not part of them, camoufleurs spent the first years of the war looking highly conspicuous in civilian clothes. It was not until May 1943 that the camoufleurs were given uniforms and received accreditation with the airforce, which allowed them to blend in with military life, though they never received the respect and recognition they deserved.
Professor William Dakin died in 1955. Unfortunately, he never in his lifetime received proper recognition for his work as Technical Director of Camouflage for Australia in the Second World War. As Ann Elias wrote, it is time to commemorate ‘a group of people and an episode in Australia’s past that have gone unnoticed among the otherwise heroic histories of the war’.
Camouflage Australia: art, nature, science and war will be launched byProfessor Stephen Garton, Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor, the University of Sydney on 22 November 2011 at 5:30 for 6 PM.
You can buy Camouflage Australia: art, nature, science and war via Sydney University Press.
- 7 November: Recognising a Nobel Laureate: Sir Robert Robinson
The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1947, awarded to Sir Robert Robinson, "for his work on plant products of biological importance, especially the alkaloids" is on display in Rare Books and Special Collections, Fisher Library.
Find out more at our current exhibitions
- 5 November: Fisher Library Saturday late opening
Apologies to Fisher Library visitors for the late opening of the Library on Saturday 5 November. There was an unfortunate delay in getting services back online after construction works earlier in the morning. Work methods have been reviewed so delays do not occur in the future.
- 2 November: Medical Library closed
The Medical Library is closed until Thursday 3 November due to smoke entering through air-conditioning vents.