Around one million images make up the Pictorial Collection. It attempts to cover all aspects of the State’s history and consists of photographs, postcards, slides, albums, glass negatives, illustrations and art works. Subjects include portraits of people from all walks of life, social gatherings, dances, sporting events, business activities, rural and mining industries and transport.
We also collect representative works of Western Australian photographers and the various processes they used, together with items relevant to the history of photography.
Access to the collection
Photographs are increasingly being digitised and some 70,000 images are now available on-line through the State Library catalogue .
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.
Pictorial collection highlights
While the pictorial collection holds many collections of photographs the following have been highlighted as "gems" of the collection. Other collections or individual photographs are increasingly being digitised and can be found in the State Library Catalogue. The bulk of the collection can be accessed through a card catalogue, indexed by locality, name of person or subject. The level of indexing varies depending 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.