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School teachers and students

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We invite university lecturers, school teachers and students to delve into the rich resources of the State archives collection. You can do this through the range of online resources that we have been developing.

Explore the archives

The NSW State archives comprise a fascinating collection of primary source material relating to all aspects of our history since European settlement began in 1788. The collection has a unique place in the State's rich documentary heritage which is waiting for you to explore.

Artarmon Public School

These resources will help you to access the information about the State's archives from anywhere in NSW and provide an introduction into the use of original records for research.


Our research topics is a good place to start and includes tips and information on various topics such as:

Make sure to visit the most recent addition Women in the records which boasts a digital gallery of a murderess who paraded as a man and includes many interesting links to records in our collection.

Resources online

NRS 15051, Department of Education, Photographic Collection

Read about famous felons, browse the photographic images from the past, search the name-based indexes to some of the more popular records and check out the fact sheets, which will help you get started.

Our catalogue

Archives Investigator is our online catalogue which lists and describes our archival records, as well as the functional and administrative contextual information about them. While a wealth of information is already available, we hold over 15,000 series and millions of individual records items and even though work is continually progressing on listing and cataloguing these records it will be an ongoing process for many years to come.

Other resources

  • Archives in Brief - our fact sheets are an excellent starting point for your research. You will find brief historical information on a particular topic, along with a list of the most relevant records in our collection.
  • Indexes online - our most popular resource by far. Search for names of people and places including immigrants and convicts; probate and deceased estates; education and child welfare; and much more.
  • Photo Investigator - our searchable database of digital photographs. Subjects include the construction of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and official opening ceremony; photographs of doctors; life at the Scheyville Training Farm; the NSW Bushmen's Contingent 1900 (Boer War); photographs that were displayed on NSW government trains; the Eveleigh Workshops during the 1917 railway strike; and many more. Browse by subject to see what is available.

Digital Gallery

We have several galleries online that consist of both archival photographs and digital copies of archival documents and hand-written letters in our collection.

Make sure to check out the School Days section of Our Sporting Heritage Gallery for images of schools and pupils. You might even see a teacher or two.

The Great White Fleet Gallery celebrates the 100th anniversary of the arrival of the American Fleet in 1908 during their world cruise. The whites ships were to denote peace.

Gaol photograph description book. View larger imageOne which may make you queasy is the Purging Pestilence Gallery showcasing Sydney during the Bubonic Plague in 1900. View the dirty back streets of The Rocks, the clean up operation and a pile of dead rats!

More criminal activity abounds in the Registry of Flash Men Gallery, a digitised journal by the Commissioner of the Sydney Police, exposing the criminal underworld back in the 1840s. There's also The Lemon Syrup Case of 1895 in which George Burns is accused of murdering his wife by adding poison to her tea.

Flickr images

Our Flickr account includes some photographs taken at schools, dating back to the 1890s. A search for "school" and "schoolchildren" will produce many results and we will be adding more over time. While you're there make us a Flickr contact (if you are a Flickr-ite) to keep up-to-date with our photostream. You might also be able to help us identify dates, schools etc as some of our Flickr friends have already done with some of our other photos.

School medical service

NRS 4882 Photographs of the General Treatment Clinic for School Children, Sydney NRS 4882 Photographs of the General Treatment Clinic for School Children, Sydney

To view more photographs of the school medical service search Photo Investigator.

The Medical Branch was created in 1913 replacing less formal delivery of mrdical services to school children. Charles Savill Willis was appointed Chief Medical Inspector of Schools although the position became known as 'Principal Medical Officer' which he appears to have taken up on 12 February 1913. For further information see Archives Investigator - Agency 2725 School Medical Branch.

Come and visit

School and university classes are also welcome to visit the archives. Tomorrow's historians - whether still at school or in post secondary studies - can also learn about ways of unlocking the past using the technology of today.

For more information and to book a visit to the archives contact us at