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War records feared stolen from State Library


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Boer War papers, diaries and artefacts have gone missing from the South Australian State Library, prompting a review of security arrangements.

The missing material relates to soldier Samuel John White and was part of a collection donated by his family.

It was taken from a storage area and might have been a targeted theft, library director Alan Smith says.

Police have exhausted current lines of inquiry, including checks with online collectors of war items, the Boer War Association, booksellers, specialist antique dealers and auction houses and are now looking for public help.

“We value the collections held in the State Library on behalf of the people of South Australia, and the people who entrust their family’s heritage records to our care,” Smith said on Friday.

“This incident raised immediate concern, and action was taken to quickly identify any possible areas where collection security had been breached.”

Samuel White’s descendants have been notified of the theft, which was first reported late last year but could have occurred over an extended period and possibly as long as six years ago.

The material, which also includes a compass and a fob watch, was held among other items that are infrequently requested for retrieval.

The library has since put new security measures in place, including restricting access to storage areas, the use of additional security devices and locked trolleys for transporting collections.

Smith said it also planned to install CCTV cameras to monitor all entry points to the basement, where many collections are held.

Senior Constable Christopher Butcher said investigations so far had failed to identify any suspects.

“An extensive list of stolen items has been supplied to police, which includes more than 150 papers and documents,” he said.


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