The State Library holds over 25 000 Western Australian films, videos and DVDs.
The collection features a range of historical and contemporary media, including government, commercial and educational films, home videos, and newsreels, made in or about Western Australia. The oldest film in the collection is from 1907.
Much of the film collection documents the development of Western Australia: its history, lifestyle and people.
Many older moving image formats are sensitive or fragile and require specific handling and housing conditions to ensure the long-term preservation. Many films have been reformatted to more stable physical or digital formats.
Access to the collection
Films, videos and DVDs can be located through the State Library catalogue. Films can be viewed by appointment. There is a minimum 24 hour delay before original films can be viewed due to preservation considerations.
For enquiries about ordering copies of motion picture content, please use the Library’s copying service.
Individual scenes from pre-1950 films in the collection can be searched using the Bibliography of 16mm film produced in Western Australia to 1950 from the State Film Archives of Western Australia by Kaylene Heard which is available online.
Film collection highlights
The film collection highlights tell stories of Western Australia, showing different aspects of the State's history over a period of years. The following films are some of the "gems" of the collection, covering a wide range of subjects and dates, but many others can be located through the State Library Catalogue.
The Distant Lens is a “survey of the history of Western Australia through the eyes of its film makers, from 1907 to the 1950s. Includes the use of still photos to tell the story. Includes commentary and character voices”. A compilation of the oldest and more curious films in the State Library collection.
Royal Show 1909 [motion picture] - view of the showground with a train passing in the background, the Grandstand, Sir Gerald Strickland opening the show, horses, the Grand Parade of beef and dairy cattle, crowds and showground buildings, a trotting race, the judging of horse and buggies and horse jumping.
Sir Frederick Samson : Personal Film / Samson Film Collection. Reel 6. [Air Raid Wardens, Fremantle] [video recording] - filmed from 1940-1945 at Fremantle, it shows various views of Fremantle "at war."
Western Australian Heritage Film Showcase - a compilation of newly digitised heritage film from the State Library's collection. Local multimedia and visual arts collective Genrefonix created this compilation of selected restored and digitised footage that gives a snapshot of WA life in the 1920 to 1950s. The compilation was made possible by the WA Heritage Film Appeal.