- Index to photographs
- Aborigines Welfare Board
- Board of Fire Commissioners
- Colonial Secretary/Chief Secretary/Services
- Corrective Services
- Department of Education and Communities
- Government Architect
- Government Printing Office
- Lands Department
- Main Roads
- Premiers Department
We hold thousands of photographic images from the late 19th Century to the present, capturing life in New South Wales in much of its richness and diversity. The original formats of these images vary widely, from glass plates and lantern slides to 35mm negatives, colour transparencies and prints.
Our photographic digitisation program aims to bring many of these ‘hidden’ images to light, using the latest technologies. Where necessary, images appearing on our website have had basic adjustment and manipulation for display purposes.
The related Stories section contains various photographic series and sample images. Follow the tag "Photos" to view other images from the NSW State Archives Collection. Find more of our photos on Flickr »
Index to photographs
A partial index to photographs is available on Reel 1373. It covers
- Government Printing Office, c.1890-1910
- Government Architect c.1880-1940
- City of Sydney Improvement Board 1878-90
- Premier's Department
- NSW Department of Public Works
- State Planning Authority and the National Parks and Wildlife Service.
An unpublished inventory of selected photographs is available in the reading room.
Copies of photographs
Where copies are available, they are listed below. Reels are held in the reading room. CODs 121A & B, 122, 123, 422 and 423, and aperture cards are available in the reading room.
NRS 30, Photographs, c.1924-1961
These comprise a mixture of official and personal photographs, including: reserves, stations, homes and schools with interior and exterior views of accommodation and housing projects; pupils and teachers; station managers and matrons and record the visits of Government officials.
Reels 2796-2797; COD 423, aperture card nos. 8186-9224
NRS 211, Original illustrations (photographs, drawings) published in the Agricultural Gazette, c.1892-1920
These illustrations are arranged in broad subject headings such as machinery and implements, horses, pigs, maize and fruit.
NRS 15454, Photographs of fire brigade staff, Board members and Sydney fire scenes, 1884-1970
The photographs include: Sydney fire scenes; official and sporting photographs of fire fighters of the Metropolitan Fire Brigade; equipment and members of the Fire Brigades Board and Board of Fire Commissioners.
NRS 1326, Photographs illustrating early New South Wales, n.d.
NRS 1327, Photographs of New South Wales, n.d.
Photograph description books
These books are maintained in many series and are arranged by gaol. The books contain a photograph of each prisoner and details including: date of portrait, personal details, date arrived in colony, physical details, where and when tried, offence, sentence, remarks and previous convictions. The photographs are being progressively microfilmed and indexed. The index to the gaol photographs is available online.
NRS 1932, General indexes to photograph description books, c.1870-1931
NRS 15051, Photographic collection, 1850-1991
The History Unit of the Department of School Education, when preparing school histories, research for public relations, or giving presentations created this series. The collection consists mainly of photographic prints. Most show school buildings, pupils, teachers, or educational activities, with most including an identifying caption and date.
NRS 4346, Photographs of public buildings and war memorials in New South Wales, c. 1880-1940
Subjects include but are not limited to the following: departmental buildings such as the Lands Office Sydney and Government House, court houses, general hospitals, post offices, post and telegraph offices, police stations, police barracks, psychiatric hospitals, mothers and babies welfare centres, State hospitals, convalescent hospitals, university buildings, some interior photos of buildings, and the Government shipbuilding yards at Newcastle.
Reel 2786; COD 422 aperture card nos. 7796-8185
NRS 4349, Photographic album of the Royal visit, Sydney, 1954
Official photographs of Queen Elizabeth II on her first visit to Sydney. The album also contains photos of the decorations and illuminations of public buildings and parks in Sydney.
NRS 4481, Glass and film negatives, c.1870-1988
These are glass and film negatives maintained by the Government Printing Office as a resource for government information and publications. For preservation reasons the original glass negative are closed to public access. Copies of some of the negatives are avaliable. A list of copies available is located in the reading room. See the examples in the Stories section
The State Library of NSW has digitised many of the glass and film negatives, c.1870-1988. These are available on the Library's PICMAN database.
Reels 2787, 2546-2547, 2643; COD 121A&B, and some aperture card negatives
NRS 4482, Photographs of railways and tramways, c.1888-1910
These photographs include images of railway stations in the Sydney metropolitan area, the Blue Mountains, and regional areas; railway yards; tracks, tunnels, lines, bridges and overpasses; the construction of the Central Railway Station and tramways. A full listing is available in the reading room.
Reel 2787; COD 121A
NRS 8095, Photographs, c.1920-1921
NRS 12135, Photographs of the 150th Anniversary celebrations, 1938
NRS 12137, Photographs of the celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Federation, 1951
NRS 12688, Photographs taken by Max Dupain
- City of Sydney Archives - www.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au
- National Archives of Australia PhotoSearch - www.naa.gov.au
- Land and Property Information (aerial photos) - http://www.lpi.nsw.gov.au/mapping_and_imagery/aerial_imagery
- Trove, National Library of Australia - www.trove.nla.gov.au
Davies, Alan and Stanbury Peter. The Mechanical Eye in Australia: Photography 1841-1900, Oxford University Press, Melbourne, 1985.
Cato, Jack. The Story of the Camera in Australia, Institute of Australian Photography, Melbourne, 1977.
Frost, Lenore. Dating Family Photos, 1850-1920, L Frost, Essendon, Victoria, c.1991.
ARCHIVES IN BRIEF
Content in this Guide first appeared in Archives in Brief 70 and Archives in Brief 99 and the series list in Photo Investigator
What's happened with Archives in Brief »