The Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Library was established by the University of South Australia in December 1997 as an integral component of the Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre. The Centre honours Bob Hawke, a third generation South Australian and one of the 20th century’s most notable Prime Ministers of Australia.
In 2016 the Library is making a change to the way it looks after its Archival Collections to ensure that they receive the best support and exposure possible and that activities in this area are both sustainable and scalable. Work and expertise in archival collections will be distributed across the Library rather than concentrated with one person.
The arrangements being put in place recognise the reliance of the archives on many other Library services, particularly systems, metadata, digitisation and web discovery services. To ensure the requirements of clients and donors can be met throughout the year, other Library staff will take on roles supporting archives and become more familiar with the archival collections and different aspects of their care and use. This ensures that researchers and donors can be confident of assistance whenever the Library is staffed.
Archival collections will remain in their current locations serviced by local staff under the overall direction of Dr Di Hodge.
Bob Hawke was born in Bordertown, South Australia and completed undergraduate degrees in Law and Arts (Economics) at the University of Western Australia. He joined the Labor Party in 1947, was selected as a Rhodes Scholar in 1953 and completed a Bachelor of Letters at Oxford University with a thesis on wage-fixing in Australia. He worked as an advocate in the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) and served as its president for ten years. He was elected to federal Parliament in 1980, and became Prime Minister on March 5 1983. Hawke is Australia’s longest serving Labor Prime Minister, leading his government to victory in four consecutive general elections: 1983, 1984, 1987 and 1990. He was a great conciliator nationally and abroad.
The Hawke Centre has been so named in honour of his contribution to the nation, and its focus on civil society issues reflects some themes of the Hawke era that remain relevant today. The Hawke Centre, Institute and Library are politically non-partisan; developed for the future benefit of the general community, students, researchers and university communities worldwide. They reflect the themes: strengthening our democracy, valuing our diversity and building our future.
The Library is the first Australian prime ministerial library to be established during the life time of the prime minister. It comprises a major collection of archival records, books and memorabilia related to the Hawke era.
The Library is located in purpose built research and archival facilities on the fifth floor of the new, landmark Hawke Building on North Terrace at the University of South Australia’s City West campus. The Hawke Building was officially opened on 11 October 2007 and houses the Hawke Centre and Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Library.
The building, designed by John Wardle Architects in association with Hassell, has been honoured with the top prize for public architecture at the 2008 Royal Australian Institute of Architects (RAIA) South Australia Architecture Awards and was further honoured with an award of merit for interior architecture.
Further details of our archival collections are available here.