Collecting, preserving and digitising Western Australian history through photographs, films, oral histories, music, maps, newspapers and post office directories. We treasure and share everything from historically significant moments to the equally important everyday lives of ordinary Western Australians. View highlights and learn more about the historical collection below. 

Sam Lovell on the set of The Tale of Mr Kimberley

Aboriginal Collections

Explore the diversity of Aboriginal content through the photographs, manuscripts, oral histories and digital stories collections.

The Government House at Perth West Australia art original Engraving published in Illustrated London News 19 March 1864 page 20
The State Library holds around 1000 individual artworks that highlight and document the history of WA through visual representation and artistic responses to events, places and periods in time.
 283065PD Sanderson Family - Archibald Sanderson with his children
A collection of historical personal diaries and working journals that provide insight into many people lives.
Black and white signed poster
Ephemera is the transient documents of everyday life such as advertisements, leaflets, flyers, menus, tickets, scrapbooks and posters. Thousands of items are available and range from concert programs to shipwrecks logs.
Fred Murphy and film company 1920s
The State Library holds over 13,500 Western Australian films, videos and DVDs. Featuring a range of historical and contemporary media, including government, commercial and educational films, home videos, and newsreels. The oldest film is from 1907.
Checking maps JS Battye Library of West Australian History and State Archives 1969
The State Library aims to collect a copy of every map and chart produced in Western Australia and is a legal deposit library for all Government and private publishers.
Mt Margaret Mission Band in Melbourne 1947
The State Library holds one of the largest, free, public music lending collections in Australia with over 70,000 scores and pieces of sheet music to borrow.
Dictating archival file records of State Government for use in JS Battye Library 1969
The State Library collects and preserves the oral history of Western Australia in its oral history collection.
John Portman with his camera c1959
Around one million images make up the Pictorial Collection including photographs, postcards, slides, albums, glass negatives, illustrations and art works.
Illustration from Tales from outer suburbia by Shaun Tan
With illustrations dating from 1920 to the present day, the Peter Williams Collection collection showcases the artistry and diversity of Australia’s picture books. Discover highlights, exhibitions, interviews with creators and materials about the illustration process.
Bride Phoebe Searcy nee Leach 1927
These original non-government records reflect the full range of human endeavour in the communities of Western Australia.
Man in suit beside letterbox c1930
The Police Gazette of Western Australia (1876 onwards) is a valuable resource for researching police and criminals in WA.
Horse cart loaded with mail 1930
An invaluable source of information for anyone who is doing family history or research on Western Australia during the period 1893-1949.
Government Printing Office typesetters c1905
Nearly 900 WA newspaper titles are held by the State Library. From the manuscript newspapers of the early 1830s up to currently published titles. Newspapers are valuable sources of information, reflecting social, political and cultural history.
untapped  the Australian Literacy Heritage Project
Australian Literary Heritage Project
Untapped is a collaboration between authors, libraries, and researchers to bring back to life Australia's lost literary treasures.
Arthur Ellis in Circulation Services selecting an exchange of books to be despatched to a library 1964
A curated loanable collection of nearly 2000 popular fiction and non-fiction books written by WA authors or about WA. The Read WA collection is on the Ground Floor inside the Discovery Lounge and contains newspapers, magazines, books and DVDs.

You may be interested in...

Wedding of Ian and Joan Bennell in Bunbury 1963
Explore the diversity of Aboriginal content through the photographs, manuscripts, oral histories and digital stories collections.
Picnickers leaving for John Forrest National Park from the Parkerville Railway Station 1930
Videos explaining how to search the Catalogue for photographs and Trove for newspapers.
Aerial photograph of the Mt Tom Price iron ore mine 1972
How do you find what you are searching for amongst the millions of images, maps, posters, newspapers, books, databases and directories in the State Library Catalogue? Learn how to dig in.