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The Institute for Defence and Security Studies NSW

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The Ursula Davidson Library

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The Institute Library

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A large and comprehensive Library with an estimated 30,000 items specialising in military history, national security and defence matters, including the history of the Australian Navy, Army and Air Force. The collection also has items encompassing the military and political histories and geography of many nations.. The earliest publication is a complete set of The Naval Chronicle from 1799 to 1820. The latest publications deal with East Timor, Afghanistan, Iraq, terrorism and other current concerns. Navy and Army Lists are held for reference. Many publications are from the nineteenth century with rare books on such areas as the Crimea War, transcripts of the American Civil War and .the Russo-Japanese war. A complete set of rare Unit Histories from WWI and WW2 is also held. Some of our more recent books include authors such as Peter Fitzsimons, Mike Carlton and John Keegan to name but a few.

We also have a comprehensive collection of unit histories from World War 1 and World War 2.

The Library is to Level 20 of the Defence Plaza at 270 Pitt Street, Sydney. Access is free to members. Visitors welcome. Not all items are available for loan.

Copying Charges

We are able provide black and white copies of articles and chapters of books for the purposes of study or research as defined by the Commonwealth Copyright Act 1968.

Standard delivery (within 4 days) - 1-10 pages $16.50 (+$1.00 every additional page)

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  Ursula Noreen Davidson, OAM 1917 – 2005

Mrs Ursula Davidson, OAM was the Executive Officer of the Royal United Service Institution of New South Wales for 63 years. Ursula never retired and was working at the Institution’s office until two weeks prior to her death.

Ursula’s association with the Institution began in 1942 when she replaced her sister, Shelagh, who for 12 years had been the office manager and librarian at the then United Service Institution. Thus the two sisters served the Institution for a total of 75 years.

The contribution Ursula made to the preservation of Australia’s military heritage through the Institution, as well as her contribution to the Institution, was recognised by the award to her of a Medal in the General Division of the Order of Australia. She received her medal from the Institution’s Patron, Her Excellency, Professor Marie Bashir, AC, CVO, Governor of New South Wales, at Government House, Sydney, in September 2002.

The great affection in which Ursula was held by the Institution was shown clearly by the large number of its members who attended the Service of Thanksgiving for her life held at St Clement’s Anglican Church, Mosman, on 28 February 2005.

In delivering his eulogy at the service, former President of the Institution, Major General Gordon Maitland, AO, OBE, RFD, ED (Retd), her friend for many years, concluded by saying "this afternoon the Institute has a very big hole in its ranks".

John Hopley

John Hopley is a member of the Institution.


Locked Bag 18, Darlinghurst NSW 2010; Level 20, 270 Pitt Street, SYDNEY NSW 2000; Telephone: +61 (0)2 9393 2325; Facsimile: +61 (0)2 9393 3543; Email:
Open Monday to Thursday 1100 to 1500 hours.
© The Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies New South Wales Incorporated - ABN 80 724 654 162