Photography | State Library of New South Wales


Photographs are tangible and direct links with the past. Each image is an intriguing record of technological, social and artistic change.

The State Library was one of the first institutions to collect photographs as documentary records. The collection, of over one million images, ranges from historical subjects, including the earliest known photograph taken in Australia (an 1845 daguerreotype of Dr William Bland), to modern digital photographs.

Dr William Bland

Dr William Bland, ca. 1845, by George Baron Goodman
MIN 350

Dr William Bland, an ex-convict, was a prominent surgeon, humanitarian, social reformer and inventor.


Photography: Sydney exposed

Sydney Exposed takes the first step in providing an online gateway to thousands of images highlighting the history and changing nature of Sydney, Australia's first and largest metropolis.

Photography: Holtermann collection

Discover more about early goldrush towns of NSW through the Library's Holtermann collection of 19th century glass photonegatives

Photography: Allen family albums

In 1966, the family of Arthur Wigram Allen donated 51 albums of his photographs to the Library. Allen had recorded his family and surroundings between 1890 and 1934 with 10,000 black and white photographs.

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Library Visionaries


The Library Visionaries is a new group of supporters who are keen to make a difference to our children's educational future through digital learning.