Newsletter No. 54 (July 2009)

"J. M. (Jack) Braga (1897-1988), Macau, and the Braga Collection in the National Library of Australia"

Andrew Gosling

Former Chief Librarian (1985-2003)
Asian Collections, National Library of Australia

José Maria (Jack) Braga lived in Macau and Hong Kong for most of his life. Aware that the long-established Portuguese colonial culture in which he had grown up was fast vanishing, he began to record it in a large collection (consisting of some six thousand monographs and a wealth of other materials), that was acquired by the National Library of Australia in 1966.

Justina Cheang, herself from Macau, is now undertaking a PhD at the Australian National University, based on her research into this extraordinary collection. Her supervisor is Professor John Minford, Head of the China Centre

As well as focusing on Macau and Hong Kong, the Braga Collection has strengths on China, Japan  and other areas where the Portuguese were active. In addition to books (including more than 100 rare titles) there are manuscripts, newspapers, maps, paintings, photographs and other items.

On Wednesday 29 July 2009 Justina Cheang presented her thesis proposal at a seminar held in the Faculty of Asian Studies, at the ANU. It was chaired by Professor Minford and attended by academics, current and former staff from the National Library and Stuart Braga, a nephew of Jack Braga. Stuart is himself an expert on the Braga family and the Braga Collection.

Andrew Gosling

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