Picture research

Guide to finding photographs, illustrations and other images in the State Library of Victoria's collections


4.3 million images are available in Trove. These are sourced from libraries and institutions around Australia (including our Library) and beyond.  Included are photographs from Picture Australia which has now been absorbed into Trove.

Both digitised and non digitised images may be found in Trove. If you are only interested in finding digital images, check the box ‘available online’ below the search box.

Often images don't carry much descriptive information so it is better to search using broad terms and then add additional terms to narrow the search. You can also use the 'facets' on the left of the screen to narrow down your search by date.

The image below, from our collection, can also be found through Trove.


 Rose Stereograph Co, Panorama from Pulpit Rock, Mt. Buffalo, Vic., ca. 1920-ca. 1954, glass negative, Pictures Collection, H32492/2060

Information databases

There are a number of online information databases available to registered users from outside the Library. This means you can use these databases from home. These include newspaper and journal collections and can be helpful when searching for images online.

Some databases allow you to specify a search for images. Under the Multi-subject eresources heading the  ProQuest database offers an option to search image captions.

Under the Arts eresources heading you could search the Oxford Art Online database. The 'advanced search' option has a tab for 'Image Search'.

Some of our newspaper databases will include images or will indicate that an image was published in the original print copy. See the Newspapers & books tab above for more information.

Other useful websites

Picture Australia
Since July of 2010, images from Picture Australia, including all contributions from Flickr users, can now be found in the Trove website.

Geelong Heritage Centre
Over 1200 images have been loaded on the Image Library web site of Geelong and surrounding districts. The Geelong Heritage Centre is Victoria’s largest regional archive and already holds a unique collection of public and private records.

Australian Copyright Council
Online copyright advisory service.

Australian National Maritime Museum
The National Maritime Collection represents Australians' diverse experiences and perceptions of the sea and our waterways. Choose 'Collections and Research' to search the collection.

Prints and Printmaking Australia (National Gallery of Australia)
Images and information about prints and printmaking, posters, and book arts including artists books & illustrated books. Online access to 22,000 images. Index to online information on printmakers, print workshops, print publishers, print galleries and public and private collections.

Center for the Study of Political Graphics, Los Angeles, California
Non-profit, educational archive of more than 75,000 political posters. International scope, including Australia. Good links.

A non-profit digital library from the U.S.A. of more than one million images in the arts, architecture, humanities, and social sciences.

The D. W. Stock Picture Library
Located in Sydney, the D W Stock Picture Library includes over 100,000 images covering horticulture, natural history, travel. Includes recent images. An example of a commercial picture library.

Museum Victoria
Museum Victoria records Australia’s environmental and cultural history and is custodian of the State's Sciences, Indigenous, Australian Society and Technology collections. The Biggest Family Album database provides online access to over 9,000 photographs dating from about 1900. The photographs document the natural environments, the nature of work, recreation, technology, travel and farming.

National Gallery of Victoria
Collection comprises of more than 20,000 works. Browse highlights from the Australian painting collection and International collection by artist name, or search for an artwork by keyword.

NAVA (National Association for the Visual Arts)
A gateway to Australian visual arts and crafts, maintained by NAVA, the peak body representing the professional interests of the Australian visual arts and craft sector. Includes information sheets providing practical advice on everything from applying for grants to finding artists and galleries.

Royal Historical Society of Victoria
The RHSV’s image collection includes original artworks and historical photographs dating from the 1850s. Major subject areas are portraiture, street scenes of Melbourne and many Victorian country towns. The History Victoria Database contains over 30,000 records.

ScreenSound Australia
The National Screen and Sound Archive Web site includes a search option for access to online images. ScreenSound collects Australia's moving images and sound recordings.


A tonic

Womaton A woman's tonic H97.252/6
Womaton. A woman's tonic, ca. 1901-ca. 1910,
poster, Pictures Collection, H97.252/6

Neon signs


Claude Neon Lights (Victoria) Limited. Artwork for a neon sign for the State Savings Bank, Abbotsford, 1957, pencil and watercolour, Pictures Collection, H95.83/9