Guide to finding photographs, illustrations and other images in the State Library of Victoria's collections
The online catalogue includes links to more than 300,000 digitised images from the Library's collections. Not all of these come from the Pictures Collection. There is also digitised illustrative material from the Australian Manuscripts Collection, selected rare books and the Arts Collection.
The easiest way to find a picture is to:
See this search on Nellie Melba. From the search results, click on the title for the brief catalogue record. Scroll to the bottom of the screen for the full catalogue details of the image. Click on View image below the brief catalogue record for full view of the image.
To search across image holdings at all Australian libraries and other institutions (including the State Library of Victoria) you can try the Trove database.
Check The Australiana index for references to places, events and people in published sources such as newspapers, journals and some books.
Since 1997, records have been entered directly online. An earlier card index is also available in the Arts Reading Room at the State Library of Victoria.
Our images are progressively being transferred to a digital object management store (DOMS). This allows us to make them available as TIFFs and very high quality JPEGs. These can then be downloaded for free.
To check what images are available through the store simply type the keywords handle* and your search term in the search box. If you add oc, only 'out of copyright' images will be retrieved.
Note that not every 'out of copyright' image includes the 'oc' code, so try searches with this code and without it. If you are on our catalogue page you can choose the Pictures & photographs drop down list to further limit your search.
Click on the example below to find high quality images of Collins Street.
Explore our digital image pool
The Digital Image Pool brings together almost 200,000 historical and contemporary images from the Library’s collections. The images are out of copyright and available as high resolution downloads. Included are advertising posters, vintage postcards, colour and black and white photographs showing people at work and leisure, streetscapes, gardens, fashion, food and much more.
The Image Pool was conceived to encourage you to explore and use our collections. To see our full image collection, search the Catalogue.
Through its digitisation program the Library has converted many original heritage items into digital objects that can be accessed by users online in a variety of ways.
Items include printed material, photographs, manuscripts, maps, sheet music, newspapers, audio recordings and more.
Many rare pamphlets have been digitised, and can be a rich source of illustrations.
We have also digitised many posters encompassing a wide range of subjects, including the antinuclear movement, magicians and Melbourne theatres. Of note are the following collections:
The collections listed below focus on Victorian people and places:
Carol Porter, Some men will do anything, 1993, silkscreen poster, Pictures Collection, H94.112/28
The image galleries and interactives on our website are another source of images.
Herald and Weekly Times, Linda Burgess wearing an outfit she designed to wear to the Melbourne Cup, made from unbleached calico, ca. 1967, photograph, Pictures Collection, H38849/569
Much of the Library’s contemporary documentary photography acquired over the last decade has been digitised.
Here are a few photographers you can browse:
Ian Hill, Plastic lining in