Special Collections

About the Special Collections

Formed in 2006, the LRC's Special Collections initially housed materials related to the subjects offered by the Institute. Over the past years, the collection has become more focused on Australian culinary history and culture, building its strength in collecting materials such as books, newspapers journals, manuscripts, personal collections and artefacts pertaining to culinary arts. Our rare culinary collections offers all staff, students and visitors to the Institute the opportunity to explore and to connect with archival material. The collections offer unique research and cultural value.

Our Collections Strengths

• Pre 1900 cookbooks, both Australian and English materials
• 1900-1960 Australian cookbooks
• Pre 1900 – 1940 community cookbooks and advertising materials
• Unique and rare ephemera, e.g. menus, personal recipe cards
• Vintage culinary artefacts
• Materials related to William Angliss Institute

The Research Room

The Special Collections Research Room located in the Learning Resource Centre near the Training Room, provides secure and easy access to the major collections. The room is open to our students, staff, and visitors from Monday to Friday 10 am - 3 pm by appointment. It offers a Mac, a scanner, and a reading area for researching. It also offers a wonderful nexus of the meeting of technology with content. Through numerous digitisation projects, the research room will expand its digital representation of materials.


Exhibitions and Gallery

There are two exhibition areas, one is located at the LRC's main entrance and the other one is located in the Research Room. The Special Collections holds exhibitions four times a year and each exhibition will have different themes and topics to give our students and staff an opportunity to experience some hidden treasures from our Special Collection.
Occasionally, Special Collections holds exhibitions incorporated with the Institute's events around the Institute.





Preservation & Digitisation Project: Frans Sundstrom International Menus Collection C1900-1930

The scrapbook containing over 1000 menus was donated in 2012 by David Hall, a previous member of the WAI teaching staff. The menus are glued onto acidic pages which have become very discoloured, spotted brittle and weak. The book pages are highly acidic and chemically unstable.

The book pages which number over 500 make up a very thick volume and as a result of the weight and stresses on the binding, it has become broken and not usable.
The primary purpose of the preservation project is to extend the life of the menus and make them accessible to the public both physically and digitally.
The outcomes are professionally preserved menus and a webpage featuring the digital format menus accessible to the public.

Digital Collection

Digitisation Project  

Project Aim

The LRC’s digitisation project aims to improve the Special Collections’ accessibility and facilitate better learning resources for the TAFE community and wider research community. The project also aims to reduce the handling of fragile and valuable materials.

Background Information

The project focus on two Special Collections: the Menu Collection and the Zimmerman Book Collection. Each collection’s background information is listed below:

  • Menu Collection

The Menu Collection initially started with around 500 menus donated by WAI staff during the 1990’s to 2000’s. The collection later became very popular for research and over the years the LRC has received over 2000 menus donated from past WAI staff and the public. The Collection functions as a wonderful resource which displays the changes of styles in food and menu design over the past 100 years. Since 2006 the LRC has been conducting a digitisation project and started with the menus where we were granted permission to display airlines and cruise company menus on our websites. These companies included Qantas, P&O Cruise, Singapore Airlines and British Airways. The project continually expanded to cover the menus which were out of copyright (work before 1955).

So far, over 850 menus have been digitised and 296 menus are available online via library website.

  • Zimmerman Book Collection

The Zimmerman Book Collection is another unique special collection which was donated by our first head of Cookery Department, Chef Zimmerman in the 1990s. The collection was collected by his grandfather and consists of more than 1300 menus and epicurean articles from all over England and Europe. Dating back to 1862, the menus feature table d'hôte as well as banquet menus. Most are presented in French, some with a translation in their language of origin. The menus provide interesting insights into dining habits of the times. In 2010, as part of William Angliss Institute’s celebration of its 70th year, the LRC was granted money to restore the Zimmerman Book. In 2013, The Zimmerman Book Collection was fully digitised and is available online via library website.

Project Techniques

The digitisation project is conducted in-house by Special Collections Librarian. The primary goal with technical specifications is to create high image quality with small degree of compression for quick online downloading and viewing by the end-user. The format of the image is JPEG and the resolution is 300dpi. The Institute’s name has been added to the corner of each image in order to indicate the ownership and promote the Institute’s branding. The facilities used for this project are a digital camera and a scanner. The software used for this project are Photoshop and Dreamweaver.

Project Status

The project currently is ongoing as the Menu Collection keeps growing and the LRC will continue to digitise menus to provide maximum access to the unique collection.








COVID - 19 

Unfortunately the LRC is operating on reduced staffed hours from the 30th March.

For online assistance,
Please leave a message on our chat service, phone us or email the LRC at: lrc@angliss.edu.au

A guide is available: LRC information for off-campus access and online study

Media Pod reopens 26.05.2020. Maximum 1 person each side.
Study Rooms 1&4 also reopen 26.05.2020. Maximum of 2 people per room.


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