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UNSW, Canberra Library Project

Client: UNSW, Canberra
Location: Canberra, ACT, Australia

UNSW Canberra at the Australian Defence Force Academy required a customised storage solution to house and preserve its rare and valuable Special Collections. APC was awarded the contract based on our project management capabilities, as well our ability to manufacture and install within a tight deadline.


The repository upgrade and shelving fit out was a project of high importance from one of the country’s most highly-regarded institutions. The Special Collections are of national significance, comprising of 3 million documents and include the John Howard Collection, accessible on-site, in the prestigious John Howard reading room. Documents included the Australian Literary Collections, Military Collections and the ex-Prime Minister’s Collection.


UNSW Canberra invited APC to put together a proposal to store the new collection in the Special Collections wing in the Academy Library. The company was awarded the contract based on its project management capabilities, as well as its ability to manufacture and install within a tight time-frame.


APC’s storage solution required 2,500 lineal metres of record storage, purpose-built drawer plan cabinets, height-adjustable work benches for the specialised workroom and customised box trolleys and paper roll trolleys. The specifications stipulated APC also include mechanically assisted mobile shelving for easy access to the multitude of documents, with handy pull-out reference shelves for quick access by the Archivists.


Our in-house design and engineering teams were heavily involved to ensure the system met the rigorous compliance standards of the library. Installation of the system was a complex process with work carried out whilst the Special Collections remained in full operation. Detailed planning by the project management team was required to fit installation around Special Collections staff and patrons.

Go to UNSW Canberra Storage Update for a video walkthrough of the fitout.

What the client had to say

This is a major landmark achievement for the Special Collections with our storage areas being both upgraded and expanded to meet national standards to house the John Howard Collection. APC listened to our requirements, helped us realise our visions and were wonderful to work with. I highly recommend them