Special Collections

Charles Darwin University Library collects, manages and provides access to a number of special collections dealing with the Northern Territory, northern Australia and contiguous land areas, including East Timor. Special collections are held in the Casuarina, Palmerston and Alice Springs Libraries and can be located using Library Search. Some materials have been digitised and can be viewed on CDU eSpace, the University's institutional repository.

The Arafura Research Archive is a separate collection of significant historical material also managed by the Library.


East Timor Collection: consists of 1640 titles covering the Portuguese period in East Timor. The core of the collection contains books, articles and conference papers published in Portuguese during the Salazarist dictatorship from 1926 to 1974. A small component of the collection has been digitised and forms part of the Arafura Digital Archive (AraDA) East Timor Collection. This collection is located in the Casuarina Library.

Kevin Sherlock Timor Collection: a unique collection of East Timor resources, including archives, monographs and bibliographical records collated over some forty years by Kevin Sherlock.  It was bequeathed to Charles Darwin University by Mr Sherlock and was received in 2015. Located in the Palmerston Library.

Rare books: old and/or unique publications located in Casuarina Library.

Photographic collections: includes the historically significant Shewring and Vestey Collections, and photographs documenting the history of Charles Darwin University. Located in the Casuarina Library.

Centralian Collection: includes materials relating to Indigenous cultures, pioneering and regional development in Alice Springs and the wider central Australian region. Located in the Alice Springs Library.

The Living Archive of Aboriginal Languages: a digital archive of literature in Indigenous languages of the Northern Territory.


Access to physical materials:

Members of the community are welcome to visit the Library and use resources on the premises.

Please note that special collection items may only be used on the Library premises and are not available for interlibrary loan. Access to fragile, damaged or sensitive material may be restricted. Special collection materials are mostly listed on the catalogue and can be requested via the Service Desk or online. Twenty four hours notice is generally required and retrieval is on weekdays only.

Access to digital materials:

Digitised special collection items can be viewed in CDU eSpace the University's institutional digital repository.

ARAda: Arafura digital archive

LAAL:Living Archive of Aboriginal Languages