The Mendi Photographs collection contains 565 cards, captured and compiled by D’Arcy Ryan in the Mendi Valley, Papua New Guinea. The collection is held in three albums, with 316 records, and covers the years 1954–1964. The albums contain prints affixed to index cards, arranged by Subject and Title, including Mendi artefacts, buildings, people and activities.
D’Arcy Ryan travelled to New Guinea in 1954 as a representative of the University of Sydney where he conducted early contact research on the Mendi Valley in the Southern Highlands.
Previous European contact with the Mendi occurred in 1936 and 1938 through exploratory patrols. An Australian administered district office was established in 1950, and the Methodist missionaries arrived soon after.
Ryan completed his PhD in 1961, titled: Gift exchange in the Mendi Valley: an examination of the socio-political implications of the ceremonial exchange of wealth among the people of the Mendi Valley, Southern Highlands District, Papua. Ryan’s work on the Mendi is a significant record of early contact history. He lectured for 25 years at the University of Western Australia until 1988.
Urban Research Unit Working Papers
The Australian National University's Urban Research Unit was established in 1965. In July 1990, the Unit changed its name to the Urban Research Program. Its Working Paper series (1987-1999) covered national, state and local issues surrounding housing, the environmental quality of urban areas, social indicators, land policy, transport, infrastructure investment and planning, and employment towards the end of the 20th century in Australia. There are 66 working papers that have been digitised and made available in the ANU Open Research repository.
Documents on University site plan
The ANU Archives has digitised an early National Capital Planning and Development Committee file on the University’s site in Acton. The file begins in July 1938 when Sir Robert Garran, as President of the University Association of Canberra, wrote to the Secretary of the Department of the Interior urging the government to take ‘immediate steps to reserve and dedicate an adequate and suitable area and to place it under a trust for University purposes.’
The file contains a number of plans of the proposed University site, as well as sketches of other university sites such as Sydney, Oxford, Cambridge, Berkley and Columbia, in order to calculate what would be an adequate area for the University. After being sent proposed plans in April 1940, Garran sends a strongly worded reply to the Secretary of the Department of the Interior: ‘The feeling of this council is that it would be a grave mistake to regard the investigation that has been made as a complete investigation, and consequently it would be premature to define finally as the site for University purposes the area that has been suggested. The association has collected much material information, and enquiries that are of distinct relevance to the definition of a site for those purposes are still being pursued by this Council, and I am desired to ask, therefore, that, representative of this Association be afforded an interview with the Minister or the Minister and yourself.’ The digital copy is available in the ANU Open Research repository, the original file is held by the ACT Territory Records Office.
ANU Photographs – portraits
A series of portraits of people associated with ANU, ranging from the 1950s through 2001, including lecturers and prominent people.
Chifley Library building plans
To coincide with Chifley’s 50th birthday, eight building plans of Chifley Library, dating back to the 1960’s, have been digitised and are on display in the Menzies Library foyer.