Join the Library - it's free. Find out more.
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.
Ali Sharr Collection - Francis Aubie (Ali) Sharr was the first State Librarian of Western Australia (1953-1976). The collection consists of about 1,000 photographs of buildings and architectural details of buildings around Western Australia taken 1956-1979.
Badjaling/Winmar Collection of Photographs of Badjaling Mission - 304 photographs taken in the period 1920s-1970s and represents an Indigenous perspective on life at Badjaling Mission over fifty years. This is one of very few collections of photographs taken by an Indigenous person.
Dease Studios Collection of Photographs, 1900-1927 - a collection of glass photographic negatives from the Dease Studios in Perth taken 1900-1927. They consist mainly of studio portraits of Western Australians, including soldiers (World War I).
Department of Industrial Development Photograph Collection - 965 photographs taken between 1966-1974 and chiefly covers Western Australian industrial development projects.
E.L. Mitchell Studios Collection of Photographs, 1890s-1920s - Ernest Lund Mitchell was born in the United Kingdom in 1876 and migrated to Australia in 1899. He set up a photographic studio in Perth in 1910 at 264 Murray Street. He died in Perth in 1959. The collection consists of 640 photographs and covers Perth buildings, business premises and window displays, country towns, ships, motor vehicles, plants, aerial views of Perth and special events.
Government Photographer Collection - chronicles the development of Western Australia during with 88,000 photographs taken by the Government Photographer 1920-1984. I
Illustrations Ltd Collection - commercial photography and catalogue work for local businesses. 5,000 photographs of buildings, the interiors of buildings, motor cars, machinery, furniture, window displays, taken 1902-1958.
J.J. Dwyer Collection - 578 photographs chiefly chronicles Dwyer's journeys overseas and in the Eastern States. It also has a series of images of the Eastern Goldfields, mine workings in Kalgoorlie and Aboriginal people in Kalgoorlie. The photographs were taken 1900-1928.
Millars Timber and Trading Co. Collection - 1,776 photographs mainly chronicles the timber industry in Western Australia, Millars Timber and Trading Co., mills and mill towns, timber displays, people, transport and machinery. The photographs were taken 1920s-1970s.
Memories of Picnics: Picnic Stories - images, old recipes and advertisements.
Passey Collection of Photographs, 1848-1933 (bulk 1900-1910) - photographs of places include Perth, Fremantle, Albany, Coolgardie, Kalgoorlie, Bunbury, Beverley, Katanning, Wungong, Northam, Darlington, Kanowna, Day Dawn, Cue, Geraldton, Boorabbin and Gingin. Subjects photographed include the 1906 Royal Agricultural Show, the 1907 Horticultural Society Show, the 1907 Western Australian Poultry and Dog Association Annual Show, the 1907 William Sandover & Co building fire, the interior of the Government Printing Office, Hyland's Circus, the 1905 Fremantle Municipal Tramway & Electric Lighting Board opening, the 1901 Royal visit, railway stations, hotels, official buildings, ships, farm scenes, bush scenes and some portraits.
Pearce Collection of Photographs, 1930s to 1950s - Violet Pearce was a member of the Van Raalte Club in Perth. This collection consists of 145 photographs and covers various ships, Fremantle Harbour and wharf, views of Perth in the 1950s, St Margaret's Anglican Church in Nedlands, the University of Western Australia, boats on the Swan, views of Claremont, Violet Pearce and various portraits.
Simpson and his Donkey - The delightful illustrations by Frané Lessac help to tell the famous WW1 story. John Kirkpatrick Simpson and his donkey, Duffy, rescued over 300 men during the WW1 campaign at Gallipoli. The colourful illustrations are in stark contrast with the reality of the events and together with the story, give a deeper understanding of the bravery of Australians at war. This is an exhibition of the original illustrations from the children’s picture book Simpson and his Donkey, by Mark Greenwood, illustrated by Frané Lessac.
Stuart Gore Collection - Prints - a series of photographs taken by Stuart Gore in the 1920s-1940s. The photographs consist of aerial and other views of Perth, children, the goldfields, the 10th Light Horse, the 1929 Centenary celebrations and the Army, Navy and Air Force.
The Swan Brewery Collection - over 4,000 photographs of the Swan Brewery, hotels throughout Western Australia, other breweries in Western Australia, events sponsored by Swan Brewery, taken 1894-1979.
The Westrail Collection - 17,000 photographs taken by Westrail mainly in the 1960s and 1970s and chiefly covers locomotives (steam and diesel), rolling stock, trains, trams and buses, stations, yards, workshops, tracks, bridges and other structures, personnel, events and projects.
West Australian Newspapers Collection - 1,160 photographs taken by the staff of Western Australian Newspapers and consists mainly of images of places, people and events in Western Australia c1957-1964.
World War 1 - The State Library holds many records relating to Western Australia’s participation in World War I, including letters, diaries, photographs, books, ephemera, newspapers, serials and oral histories. In 2014 to mark the centenary of the commencement of World War I, the State Library digitised materials from its collections relating to this conflict. Some of the images can be viewed in this Collection and the remainder can be found in the Catalogue.