The State Library's Pictorial Collection attempts to cover all aspects of the State's history and consists of photographs, postcards, slides, albums, glass negatives, illustrations and art works. Photographs are donated or lent for copying by all sections of the community including individuals, associations, clubs, businesses and local and state government authorities. About 1,000,000 images are held.
Subject coverage includes portraits of people from all walks of life, social gatherings, dances, sporting events, business activities, rural and mining industries, transport, etc. Most subjects are well represented to 1930. Post 1930 representation is more uneven, while after 1960 representation is poor. In addition to the subject coverage, an endeavour is made to collect representative works of Western Australian photographers and the various processes they used, together with items relevant to the history of photography.
Types of material held include photographic prints (paper, glass positives, opal types, tin types, etc.) and albums, but other forms are held, including a large collection of negatives (both celluloid and glass), art works (photographic reproductions and some sketches), postcards, illustrations from published sources and colour transparencies.
Highlights of the Pictorial Collection
The Pictorial Collection contains some fascinating photographs. Have a look at these highlights from the collection.
Access to the Collection
Photographs are increasingly being digitised and some 70,000 images are now available on-line through the State Library Catalogue. However, the majority of the collection can still only be accessed via a card catalogue indexed by locality, subject, personal or other names. The level of indexing varies and depends on how much is known about each photograph. To protect the original photographs, a large proportion of the collection has been photocopied and bound into a series of volumes for viewing. Other items are only available in albums, as transparencies or on video and are available on request. Due to their fragility, negatives and some originals are not available for public viewing.
While every endeavour is made to provide accurate captions and descriptions for each photograph, the Library accepts no responsibility for the information which is supplied by donors. Additional information is always welcome.
Ordering Images from the Pictorial Collection
Information on how to order an image from the Pictorial Collection is available.
Page last updated: Thursday 4 September 2014