Blue Mountains Local Studies. Get yours at

WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website may contain images and names of people who have passed away.

Our Local Studies Flickr group is run by the Local Studies Librarian at Blue Mountains City Library, based at Springwood in New South Wales, Australia.

Here you will find selected high resolution images from our collection. Images which we think are useful, interesting, quirky, historically significant, posses artistic merit, or we just want to know more about.

Please feel free to comment and add more information if you wish. Feel free to contact the Library direct with any historical or family history enquiries.

If you wish to post an image comment, please ensure it is thumbnail size or just a link. Posting an image comment larger than the main image is bad manners. Large image comments will be deleted.

The majority of these images are available under a Creative commons, share alike licence, with attribution to Blue Mountains City Library. Please send us a link to the image as used or a copy of the publication.

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic License.

For any images used with the owner's permission and subject to copyright or where copyright is unclear, we have used the label "copyright reserved". Please respect this.

In some cases we have named an owner who has donated the images for use, please acknowledge the source if you use them. In all cases we ask that you respect the intellectual property of the photographer if known.

Subject Headings are based on, but not restricted to, the Australian Pictorial Thesaurus ( now defunct) -

A larger image collection is available at the main library web site shown on this page.

You can find us at :

The Local Studies Blog has images and longer historical articles :

Library podcasts can be found here -

If you have any older Blue Mountains photos, albums or other historical material you would like to donate to the library collection, send me a Flickr mail or contact me at

Thanks for stopping by,
John Merriman.

History Of The Local Studies Service

1982, March.John Low was appointed to establish a ‘Local History’ (later to be known as ‘Local Studies’) collection. The appointment was a temporary one (6 months), working 3 days each week.

1982, September.The Local History Librarian’s position was extended for a further 12 months.

1983, September.The position of Local History Librarian was made a permanent, full-time position.

1983 Local Studies Collection moved with the library’s Administration from the Springwood Industrial Area to Springwood Library.

1984 With the assistance of a C.E.P. grant that enabled the employment of two people for 12 months, the library embarked on an oral history project titled “Speaking of the Past”.

1984 Local Studies Section moved into part of Braemar after it was vacated by Prospect County Council. [Retained use of a large section of the library’s compactus under Springwood library.]

1986 Late in 1986 Helen Halliwell was seconded to the library from Council’s Springwood Office to assist in the Local Studies Section of the library. For over 12 months Helen worked a half day in the office and a half day in the library.

1988, March Braemar officially opened as an art gallery and local studies library.

1988, April.Helen Halliwell’s temporary position as Local Studies Assistant was made full-time.

1989, August Helen Halliwell was formally appointed to the position of Local Studies Assistant. At the time of Helen’s appointment the Director of Corporate Services expressed the opinion that “the local studies service rendered by the library is perceived by the community to be a very important Council service”. Over the next five years Helen’s duties included accessioning and indexing, typing and filing, assisting the public in using the LSC, researching and answering inquiries and speaking to community groups.

1995 The position of Local Studies Assistant was withdrawn during this year and Helen departed. Open hours were reduced to three days (though this has been relaxed in recent years).The Local Studies Section operates now with one staff member.

2002 John Merriman commenced as job share Local Studies Librarian in June, working two days a week.

2004 Circulation desk duties were introduced with John Low working at Katoomba branch one day a week and John Merriman working at Springwood branch, effectively reducing the position to a part time one.

2006 The position became full job share

2007 John Low retired in July. John Merriman appointed Local Studies Librarian.

2008 Local Studies Flickr account established, Local Studies blog commenced.

2014 Oral History interviews (95) from Speaking of the Past project (1984-5) digitised.

2015Trove newspaper digitisation completed.

2016Portfolio catalogue module adopted to enable Local Studies images and digitised Oral History interviews to be available online at the library website.



•Receive and answer inquiries by telephone, mail, in person and email.
•Evaluate inquiries to assess user needs.
•Refer in person users to the best sources, be they print, photographic or electronic, and assist their use of these sources.
•Research the more complex inquiries and reply to those received by mail or electronic means (eg those involving rate records, genealogy).
•Support Branch Library staff in handling local studies inquiries received.
•Provide local history information to Council staff when requested.


•Development local studies resources – monographs, serials, photographs, audio, maps, archives etc. – through acquisition within budget allocation.
•Evaluate local studies resources in relation to user needs.
•Browse second hand book catalogues and place any orders required.
•Maintain vertical files through clipping of newspapers and photocopying of articles from journals etc.
•Index vertical file, photographic & archive material.
•Assist the technical services librarian to catalogue monographs and serials.
•Conduct interviews and manage the oral history collection.
•Manage accommodation and storage of local studies resources.


•Research and create ‘tools’ to assist users – eg. Guide to Blue Mountains Newspapers, Register of Blue Mountains Councillors & Aldermen.


•Attend weekly staff meetings and liaise with all Library staff.
•Network with professional colleagues through quarterly Western Sydney Local Studies Group and ALIA Local Studies Section.
•Supervise and train volunteer staff.
•Self training - ‘professional’ reading etc.


•Prepare and give talks to community groups and schools.
•Participate in the occasional school ‘local history’ excursion.
•Liaise with the five historical societies on the Blue Mountains.
•Attend book launches & various ‘historical’ functions as required.
•House the archives of various community groups.
•Organise historical walks around Springwood township for the annual Springwood Foundation Day Festival.


•Produce and revise Local Studies Service policies and procedures.
•Provide input into the strategic planning of Library Services.
•Keep records and statistics of Local Studies Service.

The Local Studies Section of the Blue Mountains City Library began in 1982. From a couple of shelves of books it has grown into a collection that occupies three rooms of ‘Braemar’, an 1890s home attached to Springwood Library, and various cupboards and compactus bays in the downstairs section of the library. It is used by a broad range of library users, including students, local historians, family historians, heritage consultants etc., and inquiries have grown enormously since its inception.

Except for a period of several years in the late 1980s and early 1990s when there was a full-time library assistant, staffing has remained at a single librarian. The library’s cataloguer assists with the cataloguing and there is a volunteer who comes in one day a week to help with newspaper clipping and indexing.

Many Local Studies Collections are getting very large and Council’s are going to have to make some hard decisions about their future. Are they prepared to commit the required money to house and preserve these collections and to staff them at levels appropriate to the increasing demands made on them? That’s the BIG question! The more successful these collections (and their managing librarians) are, the more urgent this question becomes.

Annual Report 2015

Total views reached 5.4 million on 790 images in 85 albums.
Groups administered were 59 with a further six moderated.
Followers were 341.
Another three images received Explore status.

Mid-year Report June 2015
Around 4,160,000 total views on 770 images.
The top 20 images have 25,000 - 35,000 each and daily views are running at 5,000 - 10, 000.
We administer 58 groups and moderate another five.
Five images are in Explore.
We have 295 followers and continue to benefit from the knowledge and hard work of our commentators who add valuable details and identifying information to our images - thank you every one.

Annual Report 2014
We finished the year with 2,850,000 total views on 740 images.

Our keen band of followers provided much useful information and added considerable value to the collection. They researched locations, provided commentary and simply shared their enjoyment of our historic images.

Mid Year Report 2014
All-time views reached 1,873,445 on 707 images, averaging 2,650 each.
Most popular image was Victoria Pass with 34,125 views and we had 223 keen followers.
Daily views are averaging around 5K and every image is viewed every day.
Thank you to our many viewers who continue to provide valuable comments that enrich and extend the usefulness of our images.
We currently administer 54 groups and moderate another six.

Annual Report 2013
We finished the year with 1,028,474 total views on 685 images.
Daily views averaged 3,000 - 4,000 and each image was viewed between 3 and 60 times daily.
Most popular was the Holden Monaro and the Buckle Mini Monaco on Craven A corner at Catalina Park Circuit with 7,238 views; followed by the Geological Sketch Map of Katoomba and Brief History of Coal Mining with 7,043. In the top 20 were the Granville Train Disaster images and the 1957 Bushfires.
Much useful information has emerged from comments and we have 206 enthusiastic followers.
Blue Mountains City Library

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    opsbooks says:

    "A great place to visit with some fine historical photos here, and I look forward to seeing new arrivals with much interest. Keep 'em coming!"

    June 22nd, 2008

May 2008
Springwood, New South Wales
City of Blue Mountains, Australia
Librarian, historian
Blue Mountains City Library