J.M. Main Bequest


In 1984 the University received a Bequest from Mr J.M. Main, Reader in History, who had taught at the University since its foundation. In accordance with Mr Main's will the Bequest is to be used for 'the purchase of books, microfilms, maps and other documents and materials of a like nature relating to Australian history.'

The University Council established a Main Bequest Management Committee to advise it on the Bequest.

Scope of Bequest

In March 1985 the Management Committee agreed with the suggestion of the History Discipline that the Bequest's reference to 'materials ... relating to Australian history' should be interpreted within a relatively broad definition, guided by the spirit of Mr Main's own work.

  Selection criteria

Within the broader definition of the scope of the Bequest, as outlined above, academic and library staff select the following categories of material for purchase:


  • Monographs
  • Periodicals (including backsets)
  • Pamphlets
  • Official publications in series, such as Parliamentary Papers etc.
  • Newspapers, especially in microform
  • All material resulting from the Australian Joint Copying Project
  • Formed collections (when available)


Main Bequest items are not separated from the general collections, as this would not facilitate access to the material or its use by the University community. A bookplate is placed in each book purchased from the Bequest.

A select list of major items purchased from the Bequest is available. Suggestions for purchases from the Bequest may be submitted by email to the Metadata and Specials Librarian.


The J.M. Main Archive is held in Special Collections.