Picture research

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

Views of Melbourne by date

Searching on the broad subject of 'Melbourne' will bring up thousands of views. You can narrow your search of our catalogue by entering a date range, as in the examples below:

Melbourne (Vic.) – Views – 1841

Melbourne (Vic.) – History – 1834-1851

Melbourne (Vic.) – History – 1851-1891

Melbourne (Vic.) – History – 1901-1914    

Melbourne (Vic.) – History – 1922-1929

Victoria -- Pictorial works 

Melbourne (Vic.) -- Pictorial works

Melbourne skyline



Jan Senbergs, Melbourne 1998-1999, acrylic on canvas, Pictures Collection, H99.151


Panoramic views provide wide views of an area. Panoramas in the SLV collection are in the form of photographs, prints, paintings and postcards.

Some panorama's are included in views of 19th-century Victoria.

Search the catalogue using 'panoramic' and the suburb you are interested in, for example, 'panoramic Fitzroy'.

Bird’s-eye views


A bird’s-eye view is a view from above, and can be an aerial photograph or a drawing. Before photography was invented or became popular, or before there were high-rise vantage points, these views were constructed from imagined perspectives.

Search the catalogue using 'birds eye' and the suburb you are interested in, for example, 'birds eye Lorne'.


City of Melbourne, Australia, south view, H81.11/30


City of Melbourne, Australia, South View, not dated, lithograph, Pictures Collection, H81.11/30

Melbourne from the Botanical Reserve


Thomas Clark, Melbourne from the Botanical Reserve, 1954, oil painting, Pictures Collection, H1232



Nineteenth Century photographers of note include

  • Charles Nettleton
  • JW Lindt
  • Charles Rudd
  • Nicholas Caire.


A search for these photographers in the catalogue will show many examples of their work, including views of Melbourne's streets, buildings and gardens.

The Sun Pictures of Victoria 1858 is an album of photographs by Richard Daintree and Antoine Faucery, which includes many interesting views of early Melbourne.

Illustrated books

A number of heavily illustrated books concentrate on views of Melbourne. Some of these are fully digitised.


Airspy is a collection of photographs taken from aeroplanes. They cover Melbourne city, suburbs and some Victorian country towns from the 1920s to the 1960s.

Search keyword 'airspy' and the suburb you are interested in, for example,  airspy essendon .

Isometrical views

These are three-dimensional views that show the height, width and depth of an object. The Library holds two excellent examples for Melbourne.