James Cook University (JCU), Library Archives, Townsville

Identity area



Authorized form of name

James Cook University (JCU), Library Archives, Townsville

Parallel form(s) of name

Other form(s) of name

  • Formerly James Cook University of North Queensland, Library Archives (until 1998)


  • University

Contact area





Street address

1 James Cook Drive, Douglas





Country name

Postal code



1800 246 446 (select option 3)



Description area


James Cook University (JCU) is the second oldest university in Queensland with its main campuses in Cairns and Townsville, and one in Singapore.
The university's predecessor, the University College of Townsville was opened in 1961. By an Act of the Queensland Parliament, the College became the 'James Cook University of North Queensland' and was officially opened by Queen Elizabeth II in 1970. In 1982, the university amalgamated with the Townsville College of Advanced Education and, in 1991, the School of Art and Design of the Townsville College of TAFE was transferred to the university. It became 'James Cook University' in 1998.

The Archives collection of the Library came into existence in 1970 with the acquisition of the papers of Jean Devanny, an important Australian writer who spent much of her life in north Queensland and wrote extensively about the region. Following receipt of the Delamothe Bequest in 1977, a deliberate decision was made to actively acquire regional archives.

The archives collection is held on the JCU Townsville, Bebegu Yumba campus, Douglas and the JCU Cairns, Nguma-bada campus, Smithfield.

Geographical and cultural context

Mandates/Sources of authority

Administrative structure

Officer-in-charge: Manager, Special Collections

Records management and collecting policies

The Library Archives is particularly interested in acquiring records pertaining to the history of north Queensland, including:

  • station records representative of particular areas or periods
  • records of churches or of unions which do not have a central archive
  • records of associations representative of social, political and cultural life which have made a significant regional impact
  • records of researchers or writers whose work reflects a particular north Queensland focus
  • records of people who have made a significant contribution to social, cultural or political life in north Queensland

The Cairns, Nguma-bada Campus has a small collection of archives relating to matters more relevant to far north Queensland, including environmental issues and environmental campaigns.



The Library Archives are a collection of the records of business, industry, educational and religious institutions, unions, associations, organisations and societies relating to north Queensland and the tropics. The records of individuals (literary, political, business and academic) are also collected. Personal papers, letters, diaries and reminiscences are included in records of individuals.
Areas of strength include station records, union and labour history, mining history, company histories, the arts, and environmental and resource issues.
For a list of the library archive collection holdings, see https://libserver.jcu.edu.au/specials/holdings.html

Finding aids, guides and publications

For a list of holdings, see https://libserver.jcu.edu.au/specials/holdings.html, and under NQHeitage@JCU at https://nqheritage.jcu.edu.au/view/type/archive.html. Both lead to specific archive collection level descriptions, which in some cases include individual item level descriptions (to the letter, publication level), for example, for the Jean Devanny Archive.

Access area

Opening times

Opening times vary over the year. Consult the website for details (see https://www.jcu.edu.au/library/about/hours)
Townsville: The Helen Mays Reading Room is used for accessing Special Collections materials at the Eddie Koiki Mabo Library in Townsville (Building 18.106).
Cairns Library: Viewing Special Collections material held in Cairns (Building B1) must be arranged in advance.

Access conditions and requirements

To consult material in the Archives Collection contact Special Collections in advance before booking a visit to ensure required items are available.
Use the forms on the website to ask a question, get help or request an appointment with Special Collections staff, or to make a booking for the reading room.
Some records restricted by donor's request.


Services area

Research services

All clients of JCU Library Special Collections are provided with the assistance they need to conduct their own research. Within the bounds of staff resourcing, best efforts are made to assist clients who are remote from the Collections and cannot easily visit the reading rooms. Referral to freelance researchers maybe available.

Reproduction services

Researchers are welcome to take digital (non-flash) photographs if no restrictions apply. Library Staff should be consulted in advance.

Public areas

Control area

Description identifier

Institution identifier

Rules and/or conventions used


Level of detail

Dates of creation, revision and deletion

Revised 25 July 2022




Maintenance notes

Access points

Access Points

  • Agriculture (Thematic area)
  • Arts and Culture (Thematic area)
  • Education (Thematic area)
  • Environment (Thematic area)
  • Family / Domestic Life (Thematic area)
  • Industry, Manufacturing and Commerce (Thematic area)
  • Labour (Thematic area)
  • Politics and Government (Thematic area)
  • Religion (Thematic area)
  • Science and Technology (Thematic area)
  • Social Organisations and Activities (Thematic area)
  • Clipboard

Primary contact

1 James Cook Drive, Douglas
Townsville, Queensland 4811