Rhoda Barr Collection

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Australian authors, fiction and biographies

The Rhoda Barr Collection, established by retired lecturer Mr Bill Barr, exists to entertain its readers with a stunning array of Australian Literature. Established in 1994 and originally intended as a delightful break from mechanically geared agricultural texts, the collection contains a wide range of different Australian authors and literature.

Mr Bill Barr was an agronomist and mechanics lecturer at Hawkesbury Agricultural College from 1958 to 1978. As a commemorative tribute to his late wife Rhoda, Mr Bill Barr commenced his generous donation to the Library to enrich the teaching institution that he was strongly connected to as well as an ongoing way to reflect on Rhoda’s life.

New books are added to this collection annually, showcasing a range of subjects including historical accounts, biographies, popular Australian culture, periodic lifestyle pieces, indigenous works and fiction.

To explore this collection, view the Rhoda Barr collection online or browse the shelves in person at the Graham Swain Library, Hawkesbury Campus.

Collection themes: Biographies ; Indigenous Australian ; Historical Fiction

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Staff recommendation

Recommended by Suzanne Robinson, Library Client and Collections Officer

Black River by Matthew Spencer

Yet another strong and viable debut from a new Australian author. This was a page turning and thrilling ride surrounding the murder of a girl on the grounds of an elite boarding school. Black River is a gritty and palpable police procedural, set around the corner from where I grew up in Western Sydney.

Full of all the usual Aussie colloquialisms, the book has down to earth writing matched well with an interesting and unique storyline.

Suburbs from Breakfast Point, to St Marys, Mt Druitt, Toongabbie, Pemulwuy, Blayney and Orange are mentioned, so for Sydney siders and those living in the west this adds an extra layer.

The vibrant Parramatta River ties this all together with wonderfully evocative, well-drawn and likeable characters, this is a series to keep an eye on.

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Interesting facts

1930s - 2020s

Range of Publication Years

This collection grows each year due to funding from the Barr family


Number of titles in the collection

Common Collection questions

Why is the collection significant?

The Rhoda Barr collection is a collection of Australian literature and authors. It provides a refreshing selection of Australian materials that can be enjoyed recreationally or as an additional study aid.

Can I borrow a book from the Barr collection?

Yes, items in this collection are available for loan by WSU Library members. If you are not a current WSU student or staff member, see Membership details.

How do I browse what’s available in the collection?

You can virtually browse the collection via  the Library search box and also search for a particular title and check holdings.

Lastly, you can visit the Hawkesbury campus Library during open hours to browse titles on the shelves.

Where is the Rhoda Barr collection?

The Rhoda Barr collection is a collection of Australian literature and authors housed within the Hawkesbury campus Library.

Does the collection only contain fiction?

Rhoda Barr Collection comprises a diverse selection of novels, biographies and other texts by Australian authors and those with connections to Australia ranges from 1930s to 2020s.

Can I suggest an Australian title or author for the collection?

Yes, suggestions for purchase can be submitted online via the Library Order Request form

Can I request an intercampus loan?

Yes, items in the Rhoda Barr Collection can be requested to be picked up at another campus. Instructions are here https://answers.library.westernsydney.edu.au/faq/39995

Is the collection available online?

The funding received for this collection is only for print items. The Library does hold many other interesting ebooks which you can browse for in the Library Search Box