The State Library of New South Wales' major subject strengths are Australian history, culture and literature, including Aboriginal studies, Antarctic exploration, family history and genealogy, business and management, social sciences, applied science, biography, health and law.

The State Library is home to one of Australia’s most significant historical and heritage collections. As well as nearly 11 kilometres of manuscripts – from nine 1788 First Fleet journals through to the archives of contemporary organisations and writers – the Library holds more than one million photographs. From the earliest surviving photograph taken in Australia – in January 1845 – through to digital photographs taken last month, the Library’s unrivalled photographic collections document with powerful clarity the way Australians have lived their lives over two centuries. You can find out more about the State Library's photographic collections on our website:

More broadly the Library’s collecting reach spans a multitude of platforms: the Library’s mission is to collect, preserve and make accessible the documentary heritage of New South Wales. It holds over 5 million items including books, oil paintings, watercolours, architectural plans, engravings & lithographs, magazines and periodicals, posters, ephemera, sheet music, talking books, maps, CD-ROMs, newspapers, microfilm and microfiche, films and videos, computer software, kits, sound recordings, photographs, coins, postage stamps and other objects.

As well as the images on Flickr Commons, Public Library Services staff have added images of public libraries to Flickr to provide ideas and inspiration for New South Wales public library staff who are planning changes to their libraries. These images will help with plans for renovations and rebuilding.

There are also two groups to enable public libraries to share images of their libraries with each other. One group is for New South Wales public libraries to add their images to, and the other is for public libraries from the rest of Australia and the world.

Follow us on Twitter @statelibrarynsw

Photos of State Library of New South Wales collection (5)

  • Pat Holman 2 by rob.vndnB
  • Pat Holman by rob.vndnB
  • Stepping out of time Fisherman by rob.vndnB
  • Stepping out of time Spring time 2 1900-1950? by rob.vndnB
  • Stepping out of time Spring time by rob.vndnB
  • Tatiana Riabouchinska by rob.vndnB
  • Stepping out of time Robert Johnson by rob.vndnB
  • Stepping out of time Soldier's goodbye & Bobbie the cat by rob.vndnB
  • Backstage Mark Foys fashion by rob.vndnB
  • Helen Twelvetrees before and after by rob.vndnB
  • Helen Twelvetrees by rob.vndnB
  • Stepping out of time Les Darcy by rob.vndnB

State Library of New South Wales collection's favorite photos from other Flickr members (19)

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    Duncan Allan Photography dot com says:

    "I wish to thank the State Library of NSW for making these images available so that we can see from the visual records history in the making.

    These prized treasures are a powerful reminder of the legacy that photography plays in the recording of the past and what a contribution the library has played archiving and preserving them for the future.

    As with any archive it's only as good as accessibility to it and this has been achieved with admirable success here.

    I look forward to the collection being expanded so that more images can be publicly seen and appreciated proving and invaluable resource for all to appreciate."

    October 4th, 2008

State Library of New South Wales
August 2008
State Library of New South Wales