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The ASF Library Museum brings together the scattered pieces of Australia’s caving history, from early ascending devices and lamps to dive tanks used back in the early days of cave diving exploration in Australia, early caving suits, cameras and ropes... to list but a few.

Caving for exploration and adventure has a long history, from the earliest inhabitants who left artistic impressions upon dark limestone and sandstone walls with coloured mud, to the modern speleologist with the latest in LED lights, laser measuring technology and engineered fibre caving suits and ropes. As advances happen, and as cavers and researchers move on, the tools they use are also moved on and sadly the direction they travel is often toward the rubbish bin.

The decision to build a museum came about because of the large number of caving related objects we were being asked if we wanted for the ASF Library. We have received much correspondance about items that have been, for example, made for a specific expedition, or used in the first diving exploration of Jenolan Caves, or were once commonplace but haven't been made for fifty years or more. Many of these did not quite fit the type of memorabilia that would normally be held by a Library but are nevertheless an important part of the history of caving and speleology in Australia (and elsewhere).Objects like these represent the history of caving and have as much research potential as any book.

The Museum itself is still in the early stages of development but the collection is growing. It does not currently have a permanent display space and uses outside conservator services where they might be required to minimise deterioration of particular objects. Because of the current lack of display space, the ASF Library Museum is more than willing to loan items to other museums for display – we want the collection to be seen, not hidden away.

Museum items are being catalogued into the ASF Library’s Koha catalogue but this task is still in the very early stages and as such the uncatalogued collection is significantly larger than the few objects currently in the catalogue! Museum items can be searched for in the Library Catalogue by using the Advanced Search and limiting the Item Type to “Museum”. Or, pressing the button below will take you to the current (very short) museum list.

ASF Museum Listing