Picture research

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

Other research guides

There are many other Library research guides which cover how to find pictures for specific subjects:

  • Researching buildings and houses
    This guide helps you to research the history of your house or a prominent Melbourne building.  We hold many resources including books, maps, architectural drawings, online databases and indexes which may help you with your search. The guide has a very good section on architectural drawings held by the Library.
  • The history of the State Library of Victoria
    This is a guide to the architecture of State Library buildings. It provides citations for articles and books that focus on the history of the buildings.
    It also covers how to find architectural drawings of the Library buildings.
  • Australians in World War 1
    This guide provides research tips and suggested resources for tracing information about individual soldiers who served during World War 1.
    The section on images gives a run down on what illustrative material is held by the Library on World War 1, as well as by other institutions.

    See also: The Anzac spirit (image gallery), and our collection of war posters


  • Horse racing and the Melbourne Cup
    The intention of this resource guide is to highlight the range of sources held by the Library, and to link to online image and print resources.
    This will then enable the user to access Melbourne Cup material held in our various collections.
  • Ships and Shipping
    The focus of this guide is on the ships that visit and have visited Australia, especially Victoria. However, many of the sources suggested here will have a worldwide scope. The section on Pictures is very useful if you are looking for images of ships.
  • Magic & magicians
    This research guide will help you research magicians and the history of the performing art of magic, or conjuring, particularly as revealed through the Library’s WG Alma Conjuring Collection.
    The section on images and posters outlines the illustrative components of the collection.
  • Melbourne postwar photography
    This guide helps you find out more about post war Melbourne photographers and their work. It is also a companion to the State Library's exhibition As modern as tomorrow.
  • Victoria's early history 1803-1851
    This guide details Victoria's early history from 1803 to 1851, using published histories and documents such as pamphlets, maps, newspapers and pictures, some of which can be viewed online. The section on pictures is very helpful.
  • Protest, advocacy & dissent in Victoria
    This guide covers the  Riley Political & Ephemera Collection, which includes pamphlets, posters, badges and other ephemeral materials. The bias of this collection is left-wing, reflecting the position of its founding donor, Fred Riley, and the nature of the organizations who rely on promoting their causes through ephemeral items like leaflets. The section on Images is very useful for those researching political graphics.
  • Performance in Victoria
    This guide will help you research live performance in Victoria. It covers performances, performers, companies and venues. It will also help you find information about Victorians who performed interstate or overseas.


Picnic on the water

Gilbert J. Dunning, Picnic on the water, ca. 1890, photograph, Pictures Collection, H2008.84/7

State Library Victoria


The Library is closed from December 25 to January 3. From January 4 2021 we will be partially open to pre-booked and walk-up visitors and our Ask A Librarian service will resume for assistance with your research inquiries online and over the phone.