The Indian Ocean is an integral part of the history and contemporary life of Western Australia. The Indian Ocean Region is a major focus for the collecting activities of Special Collections.

Shipping and trade, colonial and imperial histories, ecological and environmental change are all illustrated and documented in the Special Collections. Major book collections include those assembled by Indian shipping executive D. S. Erulkar and UWA Professor Frank Broeze. Personal papers include those of environmental researchers Ernest Hodgkin and George Seddon and historian Leslie Marchant.

Erulkar Collection

The history of the Eastern Indian Ocean region, especially the maritime history of India, is the focus of this collection. Built around a library of rare books, manuscripts, journals and other materials collected by David Solomon Erulkar, an Indian shipping executive, the collection also includes material from the Library's own collections.

Frank Broeze Memorial Library

The collection of Professor Frank Broeze, formerly of the Department of History at the University of Western Australia, focusses on maritime history and shipping. It includes a considerable amount of Dutch and German material and more general books on modern political and economic history.

Melville Papers

The papers of Lord Melville, Henry Dundas (1742-1811) contain more than 2,000 pages of correspondence and documents relating to the East India Company and Indian trade in the later 18th century. They include correspondence dating from c.1763, material relating to the construction of ships for the East India Company in the 18th century, and reports of the East India Company Special Committee. A finding aid is available on Research Data Online.

Marchant Papers

The collection of Professor Leslie R. Marchant (1924-2004) contains papers, notebooks, correspondence, publications, illustrations, maps, microfilms, audio cassettes, photographic material (photographs and negatives), and other material relating to various academic interests, in particular China and Australia's early maritime history. A finding aid is available on Research Data Online.