Another significant early photograph album digitised by the Library

In September 2014 I wrote a blog post about an album of photographs taken by Alfred Hawes Stone during the 1860s which had been digitised by the State Library.

Tim Croft, who is a direct descendant of Alfred Stone, read the post and showed the online photographs to his mother, Dorothy. Dorothy Croft is Alfred Stone’s great-granddaughter and the pair was impressed with the quality of digitisation and the way the photographs had been described and presented. The family has another album of photographs taken by Alfred Stone which had been lent to the Library for copying back in 1976. Of course, there have been huge advances in technology since then. In light of this,Tim and his mother decided to offer the Library the chance to copy their album – this time in a digital format.

Tim Croft with the Stone album of photographs (6923B)

Alfred Hawes Stone’s great great grandson,Tim Croft with the Stone album of photographs (6923B) in the Library’s Preservation Services workroom

Tim Croft, Les Tucker and Tricia Fairweather

Left to right: Tim Croft and State Library staff Les Tucker and Tricia Fairweather. Les photographed the album and Tricia is one of the subject specialists in family history

The Collection of photographs taken by A.H. Stone during the 1860s and featuring people, buildings and scenes in Perth is now available for viewing online. It contains 204 photographs from the 1860s featuring members of the Stone family and their friends as well as numerous buildings in and around Perth. Alfred Stone was a very keen photographer and it is wonderful that so many of his photographs have survived and are now able to be shared online. The State Library acknowledges the generosity of the Croft family in sharing their family treasure with us.

The individual photographs are yet to be catalogued but you can browse through the album using the link above and a small sample of images is included below.

Alfred Hawes Stone, October 1861 (6923B/119) appears on page 49 of the album

Alfred Hawes Stone, October 1861 (6923B/119) – appears on page 49 of the album

Alfred Stone's home Alpha Cottage, St George's Terrace, Perth (6923B/181) appears on page 86 of the album

Alfred Stone’s home Alpha Cottage, St George’s Terrace, Perth (6923B/181) – appears on page 86 of the album

Corner of Murray and Irwin Streets, Perth taken from Perth Public Hospital (6923B/62) appears on page 26 of the album

Corner of Murray and Irwin Streets, Perth taken from Perth Public Hospital (6923B/62) – appears on page 26 of the album

Aboriginal man, Daakin (6923B/26) appears on page 12 of the album

Aboriginal man, Daakin (6923B/26) – appears on page 12 of the album

Mr and Mrs R.D. Hardey, nee Maria Jemima Stone (6923B/146) appears on page 60 of the album

Mr and Mrs R.D. Hardey, nee Maria Jemima Stone (6923B/146) – appears on page 60 of the album

View of St George's Terrace to Perth Boys' School taken from William Street. J. Dyer's store is in the foreground (6923B/106) - appears on page 44 of the album

View of St George’s Terrace to Perth Boys’ School taken from William Street. J. Dyer’s store is in the foreground (6923B/106) – appears on page 44 of the album

Miss Elizabeth Louisa Hardey, September 1862 (6923B/143) - appears on page 59 of the album

Miss Elizabeth Louisa Hardey, September 1862 (6923B/143) – appears on page 59 of the album

Government House and the WA Volunteers after the presentation of Commissions to the Officers by Governor J.S. Hampton, December 1863 (6923B/196) - appears on page 96 of the album

Government House and the Western Australian Volunteers after the presentation of Commissions to the Officers by Governor J.S. Hampton, December 1863 (6923B/196) – appears on page 96 of the album

Our Architectural Heritage

Proposed residence for JFT Hassell Esq.  State Library of Western Australia  ACC 7012A

Proposed residence for JFT Hassell Esq.
Bastow & Marwood, Architects
State Library of Western Australia ACC 7012A

A lighthouse design from the 1850s, an 1860s plan for a Perth residence (pictured), designs for European-style apartments or plans for contemporary homes, you will find these and more in the State Library collections. Included are examples of the work of some of Western Australia’s most prominent and influential architects.

Original archival plans, specifications, drawings and correspondence are supplemented by photographs, books and indexes referring to biographies and articles about individual architects.

Only a small number of items from these collections has been digitised. The State Library welcomes expressions of interest in sponsoring the digitising of more of these historic architectural records.

Bastow and Marwood
The partnership of Bastow and Marwood lasted only a year or so (1904).
Austin Bastow (1867-1942) was born in the United States. He moved to Tasmania with his parents and worked as an architect and land agent in Victoria, and Western Australia.
Harry Marmaduke Marwood (1873-1929) was born in Victoria and came to Western Australia during the goldrush era of the1890s.  He designed Grantown House and St George’s Buildings, Geraldton as well as numerous private residences.
Proposed residence for J F T Hassell:  Leases, licenses, and plans, 1862-1875

William G Bennett 1896-1977
William Garnsworthy Bennett was born in Victoria in 1896. He moved to Perth in 1910 and became the first locally trained architect to pass the Architect Board examination (July 1924). Many examples of Bennett’s work became prominent landmarks, including the Raffles Hotel, The Plaza Theatre and Arcade (Hay Street, Perth) and the Regal Theatre, Subiaco.
The collection includes certificates, architectural drawings, photographs, plans and specifications for residential and commercial buildings.
William G. Bennett & Associates records 1924-1976

Warwick Broomfield 1925-2005
Warwick Broomfield was born in Western Australia.  He  worked for W.G Bennett & Associates, Forbes and Fitzhardinge and later his own practice.
Broomfield was honorary architect to the National Trust of Australia and continued to work until his late seventies.  His work includes private homes, halls, apartments, commercial buildings and heritage projects.
Warwick Broomfield papers, 1954-1999 [manuscript]

Cameron Chisholm & Nicol (WA)
Originally established in Perth in 1884, this firm has been responsible for many major projects and buildings including the Empire Games Village (1962). The State Library holds several plans, specifications, photographs and some correspondence for the firm. (Access is restricted.)
Cameron, Chisholm and Nicol (W.A.) Pty. Ltd., 1962-1989 [manuscript]

Kitchen interior brick and tile house 1932 State Library of WA 101835PD

Kitchen interior brick and tile house 1932
State Library of Western Australia 101835PD

Marshall Waller Gervase Clifton (1903-1975)
Artist and architect Marshall Clifton was born in Western Australia to a pioneer family. Closely associated with the Royal Western Australian Historical Society and the W.A. Branch of the National Trust in the preservation and restoration of historic buildings in Western Australia.
Marshall Waller Gervase Clifton 1936-1978 [manuscript]

Stott residence Dalkeith 1962 Eric Moyle Architect State Library of WA 340565PD

Stott residence Dalkeith 1962
Eric Moyle Architect
State Library of Western Australia 340565PD

Julius Elischer 1918-2004
Julius Elischer was born and educated in Budapest. He designed many local civic buildings, churches, schools and retirement villages in Western Australia and had a special interest in low-cost building materials. Elischer’s buildings reflect his strong belief that responsible architecture should attempt to fit into its built surroundings.[1]
Elischer, Julius W. 1918-2004 [manuscript]

Margaret Anne Feilman 1921-2013
Dr Margaret Anne Feilman, OBE, BA (1943), Registered Architect (1946), was the first female architect cadet in the Public Works Department, Western Australia. She later established the firm Feilman Planning Consultants which was innovative in town planning and introduced the first environmental controls in local government town planning schemes in many areas.
Dr Feilman was instrumental in the establishment of the National Trust of Australia (WA) and was heavily involved in voluntary community work.
The collection consists of files listed alphabetically by local government authority and includes correspondence, plans, minutes, reports and photographs.
Margaret Feilman papers

Warden's Court Coolgardie  2012  State Library of WA b3604310 5

Warden’s Court Coolgardie 2012
State Library of Western Australia b3604310 5

Forbes and Fitzhardinge
The Library holds plans for churches, and commercial buildings by architects of the firm which eventually became Forbes and Fitzhardinge including Swan Boys’ Orphanage, various banks and churches, St George’s College (Crawley), and the Perth Tramway Company. Records start from 1880.
Collection of Architectural Plans of Public Buildings and Private Residences in Perth, Fremantle and Various Country Towns [technical drawing]
Forbes & Fitzhardinge, architects & planners [one volume of designs and plans]

Church of St Mary's priesthouse, Mullewa State Library of WA  005436D

Church of St Mary’s priesthouse, Mullewa
John Cyril Hawes Architect
State Library of Western Australia 005436D

John Cyril Hawes 1876-1956 State Library of WA   001989d

John Cyril Hawes 1876-1956
State Library of Western Australia 001989d

John Cyril Hawes (1876-1956)
John Cyril Hawes was an English architect. Originally an Anglican, he converted to Catholicism and eventually became a priest. He arrived in Western Australia in 1915 and stayed until 1939.  During his sojourn in Western Australia he designed and built 21 churches and convents.
Hawes, John Cyril, 1876-1956 Papers, 1919-1956 [manuscript]

Drawing of the proposed Magneto House 12 Milligan St Perth for M.J. Bateman Ltd 1927 State Library of WA  100233PD

Drawing of the proposed Magneto House 12 Milligan St Perth for M.J. Bateman Ltd 1927
State Library of Western Australia 100233PD

Hobbs, Smith & Forbes
The architectural firm Hobbs, Smith & Forbes was established in 1905 by Joseph John Talbot Hobbs (1864-1938). Hobbs was born in London and arrived in Western Australia in 1887.
This firm was responsible for buildings such as the Windsor Hotel, Swan Brewery Complex, the Weld Club (plans are not held for these) as well as the State War Memorial.
The collection includes architectural plans of various firms, Hobbs, Smith & Forbes, Eales Cohen & Bennett, P.W. Harrison, E.H. Dean-Smith. Plans include residences, hotels, schools and shearing sheds.
State War Memorial and Court of Contemplation, Kings Park, Perth, 1926-1998. [manuscript]
Hobbs, Smith & Forbes Plans

Iwanoff, Iwan, 1919-1986
Iwan Iwanoff was born in Bulgaria, studied in Germany and arrived in Western Australia in 1950. He was known for his distinctive modernist architecture.  His homes are now highly prized, with his “Marsala House” [1976] being the newest house on the Western Australian Heritage Register.
The Library holds plans, and specifications for many of Iwanoff’s buildings as well as photographs, an exhibition brochure, and articles.
Plans & specifications, 1951-1986 [manuscript]

Kos, Fritz c1927-2006 (architectural photographer)
Fritz Kos was one of Australia’s pre-eminent industrial and commercial photographers. His photography was often featured in Architecture Australia and other design publications. The images included in this collection document the architectural history of Western Australia from the 1960s through to the early 1990s.
Fritz Kos collection of photographs

Mount Eliza Flats  Krantz and Sheldon Architects State Library of WA b2812641 38

Mount Eliza Flats
Krantz and Sheldon Architects
State Library of Western Australia b2812641 38

Krantz and Sheldon
The company was established in the early 1930s by Harold Krantz, a nephew of Perth architect, Harold Boas. Krantz was then joined by Robert Schläfrig (who later changed his name to Sheldon), a Jewish-Viennese immigrant. Krantz and Sheldon went on to employ many migrant architects and draftsmen, including Iwan Iwanoff (see above) who was to become a well-known architect in his own right. The firm pioneered European architectural styles in Perth and was especially identified with the building of apartment blocks.
The Krantz and Sheldon architectural firm also operated as Krantz & Sheldon, Arndt, Silbert and West (KSASW) and Team Architects Australia.
The records comprise plans, company correspondence, financial records, files relating to architectural jobs completed, and photographs. Landmark buildings in Perth include Windsor Towers (South Perth), Bey Apartments (East Perth), and Mt Eliza Apartments, a building sometimes affectionately referred to as the ‘thermos flask’ built in Kings Park in 1964. There are plans of Government projects: schools, hospitals and State Housing works like Wandana (built in Subiaco in 1953) as well as many private dwellings and apartment blocks.
Complementing this collection the State Library holds two oral history interviews with Harold Abraham Krantz (1906-1999), as well as one with Fred McCardell, another prominent architect who worked at one time with the firm.
Only a fraction of this collection has been digitised.  To explore these items you need to do a keyword search in our catalogue using the terms KRANTZ and PLANS limiting to State Library Heritage Collections.

Peter Parkinson 1925-2014  Architect State Library of WA  b2480266

Peter Parkinson 1925-2014
State Library of Western Australia b2480266

Peter Parkinson 1925-2014
Peter Parkinson was a prominent Western Australian architect, theatre consultant and lecturer. His works include The Octagon Theatre and the New Dolphin Theatre at the University of Western Australia, major restorations to His Majesty’s Theatre, Perth (1977-1982), Subiaco Civic Hall, Churchlands Teachers College, Hayman Theatre (Curtin University), The Hole in the Wall Theatre, and many other commercial and residential properties.
Peter Parkinson papers 1950-2005 [manuscript]

Architectural_drawing_Riverside_Lodge  Krantz and Sheldon Architects State Library of WA 340436PD

Krantz and Sheldon Architects
State Library of Western Australia 340436PD


George Herbert Parry 1882-1951
George Parry was born in Perth. He studied in England before returning to W.A. where he worked for the Public Works Department.  He later worked in partnership with J.C. and M.F. Cavanagh before starting his own consultancy. Parry had a particular interest in church architecture and designed several churches including St. Mary’s Anglican church, South Perth.


Parry and Rosenthal
Mervyn Henry Parry and Kenneth George Rosenthal formed the architectural partnership, Parry and Rosenthal Pty Ltd, in Perth Western Australia in 1959. This firm is still in practice.
Mervyn Henry Parry 1913-2006 was born in Subiaco, Western Australia, the son of architect George Herbert Parry. He studied in W.A. and England. He was a decorated airman in WWII. Mervyn Parry served as State President of the Royal Australian Institute of Architects (RAIA) in 1961-62, and National President 1966-67.
Kenneth George Rosenthal 1923-2008 was born in Western Australia. Rosenthal was also a pilot during WWII.
This collection consists of architectural drawings of public and church buildings, mostly by Herbert George Parry (see above). A number of the plans relate to St. George’s Cathedral, Perth, including some by Edmund Thomas Blacket.
Collection of architectural drawings, 1865-1954 [manuscript]

Somerville Auditorium (1957-1959) State Library of WA  b2825837 16

Somerville Auditorium (1957-1959)
Krantz and Sheldon Architects
State Library of Western Australia b2825837 16

Henry James Prockter (1863-1941)
Born and educated in England, Prockter practised in Melbourne before moving to Western Australia in 1896. He returned to England some time in 1913 or 1914 and died in Surrey in 1941.
Architectural drawings for several buildings in Northam: Papers, 1897-1906 [manuscript]
Windor Hall, Queens Crescent, Mt Lawley, September 1982 [photograph]

Windor Hall, Mt Lawley photograph 1982 H. J. Prockter Architect State Library of WA  311467PD

Windor Hall, Mt Lawley 1982
H. J. Prockter Architect
State Library of Western Australia 311467PD

Charles Sierakowski (1924-2009)
Born in Poland, Sierakowski was involved with the Polish underground during the Second World War. He studied Architecture in London and came to Western Australia in 1973.  Sierakowski was involved in the design of the Art Gallery of Western Australia. These papers relate to this work.
Papers of Charles Sierakowski: Architect [Manuscript]

Anthony (Toni) Solarski
Toni Solarski was born in Obarzance, near Tarnopol, Poland in 1920. He grew up and went to school in Tarnopol.  After serving with the Polish Second Corp within the British Army during WW2 he studied architecture in Rome and London. Solarski emigrated to Western Australia c1954.
The State Library holds plans for a variety of new buildings and renovations by Solarski.
Solarski, Anthony:  Papers [manuscript]

Richard Spanney 1884 – 1948
Born in Hansborough, South Australia, Richard Spanney (born Rudolph Richard Spangenberg) came to Western Australia in 1906. He designed St John’s Lutheran Church and the Greek Orthodox Church, both in Northbridge, as well as homes for many prominent Perth families. He was also employed by the Department of Works and Housing.
Richard Spanney papers, 1923-1951 [manuscript]

Metro Cinema Perth upstairs foyer c1940 State Library of WA  004214D

Metro Cinema Perth upstairs foyer c1940
State Library of Western Australia 004214D

Summerhayes & Associates
The State Library holds several plans and a small collection of photographs relating to this firm. To find the photographs search the catalogue under subject: Summerhayes and select State Library Pictures from the drop down box.
Summerhayes & Associates records

The State Library also holds various individual items including plans, correspondence, photographs and biographical information relating to a number of other architects who have worked in Western Australia. These include Alfred Edward Cox, Claude Nicholas, Charles Lancelot Oldham, John Pidgeon and Paul Ritter.

Morison, Margaret Pitt
Immigrant architects in Western Australia, 1885-1905
Ephemera item:  PR13589
Australian Institute of Architects, Western Australian architect biographies:
Australian Dictionary of Biography

Oral Histories
There are two main series of interviews:
Architects and Architecture: a series of interviews with 50 Western Australian Architects.
Architecture plans for life radio program (21 interviews)
These may be found by doing a keyword search in the catalogue using the terms: ARCHITECTS and INTERVIEWS

Search the catalogue under keyword using the term INTERIORS and limiting to State Library Pictures from the drop-down menu.
Search the catalogue using such terms as DWELLINGS or HOUSES or FLATS or APARTMENTS or HISTORIC BUILDINGS and limiting to State Library Pictures from the drop-down menu.
Hint: Particular homes may be found under the name of the original owner or the address of the home.

General works on architecture
If you are interested in the subject of architecture you may also wish to explore our extensive general reference collections.  Visit the State Library Catalogue and select subject from the drop-down menu. Enter the term ARCHITECTURE.  There are over 5,000 items including books and journal articles from our eresources.  Alternatively you can search under the keyword ARCHITECTURE and add another term such as DOMESTIC or AUSTRALIA or COLONIAL or such terms as ARCHITECTURAL DRAWING.

State Records Office
The State Records Office of Western Australia also holds a large collection of architectural plans and drawings produced or amassed by various government agencies. While much of these will be relating to government buildings there are many reasons for government agencies to hold copies of plans for commercial and private properties. Further information may be found at:

[1] Source: Post News, Perth 21 February 2004

Memory House goes State-wide

In 2014 our Memory House exhibition celebrated  the sights, smells, tastes, sounds and textures of Western Australia.

To encourage representation of the entire state, we invited selected regional public libraries to host a Memory House letterbox giving their communities an opportunity to share memories of their area on postcards.

The Libraries set up displays around the letterboxes and held events to facilitate memory sharing and discussion. Libraries decorated their letterboxes in a style that reflected their region.

Broome Library gets into the Memory House spirit, 2014. Photo credit: Broome Library

Broome Library gets into the Memory House spirit with their display, 2014. Photo: Broome Library

There were some outstanding responses from the regions. We thank the following participating libraries and community members for their contributions: South Hedland, Exmouth, Narrogin, Merredin, Broome, Karratha, Dampier, Wickham, Roebourne, Geraldton, Laverton, Toodyay, Busselton and Albany.

View the full collection of letterboxes and postcards at the State Library on the 1 June for WA Day. Here are some of our regional highlights:

Pearl Ashwin (Baumgarten) attended a seniors morning tea at South Hedland Library as part of Memory House. There she was delighted to find an image of herself as a young nurse. Pearl’s photo was featured on a postcard promoting Storylines, an online archive relating to Aboriginal history in Western Australia.

Pearl Ashwin with  photograph, South Hedland Library 2014. Photo credit: South Hedland Library

Pearl Ashwin with photograph, South Hedland Library 2014. Photo credit: South Hedland Library

Pearl Ashwin was one of the first Aboriginal women in Meekatharra to become a registered nurse. In the postcard she is pictured working at Meekatharra hospital. South Hedland Library staff were able to capture this photo of Pearl with her postcard.

Toodyay Library hosted ‘Internment to Enlightenment’, a historical walk and guest speaker presentation by Beth Frayne from the Toodyay Historical Society. The talk began at the Old Gaol Museum and ended at the Toodyay Library, where participants shared Toodyay memories. Among postcard contributions were unique Toodyay smells including, “Coal being shovelled into the boiler of the Toodyay steam train” and sounds such as “Kookaburra’s laughing” and “Bees humming in a jacaranda tree”.


Toodyay Library ‘Internment to Enlightenment’ 2014. Photo credit: Toodyay Library

Merredin’s Local Fine Art Society produced this beautifully painted letter box displaying the vivid colours of the wheatbelt region.

Merredin Library letterbox (details), Merredin Artist Society 2014

Merredin Library letterbox (details), Merredin Artist Society 2014

Merredin Library letterbox (details), Merredin Artist Society 2014

Merredin Library letterbox (details), Merredin Artist Society 2014

Narrogin Library hosted an exhibition, ‘seniors through the eyes of youth’ at  Narrogin ARtSpace.  Seniors were paired with young people, and they were encouraged to share their stories. The activity culminated with a photographic exhibition during Seniors Week.

The Memory House regional engagement project was made possible through the generous support of the State Library of Western Australia Foundation and Lotterywest.

Five minutes with Shaun Tan

Our recent exhibition showcased original artwork from Shaun Tan’s award winning picture book Rules of Summer.  The Perth born artist, writer, and illustrator reveals what he thought about your summer rules, and insights into the mysterious world depicted in the book.

“Never wash your cat” 

I like this one, because we kind of know it’s unnecessary or difficult to wash a cat, but it’s never spelt out, or the consequences discussed. It would be wonderful to see an image accompanying this, where a good and earnest gesture has gone terribly wrong: you were only trying to help the cat! Suddenly it owns you as a pet, has shrunk into a tiny demon, or grown fins and must be set free at the beach, turned to stone, melted, the possibilities are endless. How often has something more or less like this happened in real life? It reminds me of my wife’s story of collecting snow as a child, to make a snowman, from the bonnet of a neighbour’s car: innocent enough, until you realise she was using a snow shovel! Often it’s impossible to know you are making a mistake until you’ve already made it, and not just as a child. It all carries on into adulthood, common sense doesn’t always win.

Never Eat A Turtle

“Never eat a Turtle” 

This is a good one too, because it might draw attention to the arbitrary nature of the human diet. ie. It’s okay to eat tuna or octopus (both quite intelligent and beautiful animals), but we might bulk at dolphins or turtles. Historically, a lot of cultural taboos have revolved around certain foods, without the consequences explained fully. Perhaps in this case, you will become a turtle yourself, or have to carry your own bedroom on your back forever, or simply be known as a turtle-eater and banished from society – and you might never know why. Of course, the real reason is probably that turtles are so vulnerable to exploitation, with many already extinct or heading that way. So any rule that stops people from eating turtles is probably a good one, no matter how absurd it is.


Left: Never drop your jar, Oil on canvas, 2013 Right, Cat person, Never give your keys to a stranger, Oil on canvas, 2013

You grew up in the northern suburbs of Perth. The illustrations ‘Never drop your jar’ and ‘Never step on a snail’ convey a sense of summer heat which could be likened to the scorching Western Australian sun. What do you remember most about growing up in Perth?

Well certainly the heat and light. The jar-dropping scene comes from memories of rock fishing, which was the main past-time of my family during summer holidays, usually either along the northern coast or down in Margaret River, and it was usually pretty hot with little shelter in sight either way. So not unlike fishing from rooftops (the water tanks in my picture come from New York, which can also be stifling in summer). I was not as good an angler as my brother, and prone to dropping things – fish, tackle, bait – among the rocks. He would then come and help me out, being nowhere near as mean or indifferent as the boy in the book. In any case, the overriding memory of my childhood in Perth is space, light and time. Everything seemed so much bigger and elemental, for better or worse. Summer holidays seemed epic back then, whereas everything these days seems more like diminishing little squares on a calendar!

The unnerving crow/ raven features in each of the paintings, often subtle, but always present. Can you explain a bit about why you chose the crow?

I used to paint crows (or Australian ravens, as they are actually are) quite a lot in my early twenties: large landscapes with quiet houses and trees, no people in sight, but lots of crows. In one respect, this is just what I saw when I went for long walks in the northern suburbs. I don’t see them as an evil or sinister presence, but more like something ancient and enduring, as if they are just watching us come and go in daily life as well as in history, and watching our mistakes too. In the Rules of Summer, they don’t actually do anything bad, but I feel that they might, if given a reason. By themselves, they are just crows. Perhaps they find humans to be the dark and sinister ones.


Left: Rescue, Always bring bolt cutters, Oil on canvas, 2013 Right: Never loose a fight, Oil on canvas, 2013

There is something about the rescue scene ‘Always bring bolt cutters’ which reminded one of our visitors of the famous bicycle scene in the film ET.  In the process of illustrating do you think about your artistic and cultural influences deliberately or do they appear automatically?

The E.T. similarity never occured to me, but I guess it’s there, and definitely many films have fed my subconscious over the years - The Lost Thing actually has an E.T. resonance also. When I’m drawing or writing, I don’t think so much about influences or references though, I just work with whatever comes to mind, so if they do appear, it’s automatic rather than deliberate. Often I only consider possible origins later, usually when I’m editing a story or painting, which I think is the longest and most thoughtful part of the creative process, more so than the initial flurry of ideas.

A lot of your work deals with surreal imagery. Where does this inspiration come from?

It’s quite hard to say. I also like to paint ‘normal’ things, but then get to a point where it feels too much like an imitation of reality, and it needs to comment on something else, to come from a more unusual perspective. It’s trying to see familiar things as if for the first time. Imagine you’d never seen a fish before, or a tree, or a cloud. That kind of revelatory experience is what I’m looking for in pictures and stories. Painting is a bit like having a second childhood as an adult, seeing everything as new all over again.

In Rules of Summer  the text illustrates the pictures and the pictures the text. Which comes first for you Illustrations or words?

They both come in drips and drabs, and I change them a lot as the book evolves over a long period. I often think of it as a ping-pong relationship, a bit of writing might trigger an image, which triggers another written expression, which that suggests something else to draw. At some point I stop when things feel sufficiently meaningful (or not!) but before they become too explanatory. I also end up removing a lot of stuff from the final version, trying to keep it all a bit mysterious, not giving too much away.

  • View more of your summer words of wisdom on our Flickr
  • Teachers can book Rules of Summer school programs by contacting The Literature Centre Inc Fremantle.
  • Copies of Rules of Summer can be purchased from the State Library book shop.
  • Find out more about Shaun Tan.
  • Watch an interview with Shaun Tan on our YouTube

Heritage digital content now easier to find

A new series of web pages makes it much easier to find some of the Western Australian heritage content which has been digitised by the State Library. Arranged by theme such as Birth, Marriage and Death, Crime and Punishment and Migration, you can browse these pages to find some hidden treasures!

Go to the Heritage Online page to see how to download and search content and then browse the list of themed pages on the left-hand side.

The first illustration below is from the Biographies and Directories page and the second is from the Births, Marriages and Deaths page.

The Ho. Edwin Rose from Men of Western Australia, Plate 4

The Hon. Edwin Rose from Men of Western Australia, Plate 4


Studio portrait of Mrs Nuttall in her wedding dress c.1917, 153000PD

Studio portrait of Mrs Nuttall in her wedding dress c.1917, 153000PD

What’s in a sketchbook?

Sketchbook by Amanda Fernandez, 2014 "WA Museum"

Sketchbook by Amanda Fernandez, 2014 

For centuries sketchbooks, notebooks and diaries have recorded daily life, observations from great explorer expeditions, personal accounts, and intricate details of past lives and times.

Call to mind the journal of Christopher Columbus’ voyage to the Americas, or Da Vinci’s curious inquiry into human anatomy in his 16th century sketchbooks. They are forms of storytelling and communication grounded in time and place, and shaped by the personalities and identities of their makers.

The State Library holds the notebooks of Edward T Hardman including an 1871 sketchbook which records his geological survey of the Kimberley region in pictures and words. A vellum bound book of poems written by Irish convict John B O’Reilly,1868 demonstrates his creative pursuit and passion as a poet, while Revel Cooper’s History Book speaks of his education as a 13 year old Aboriginal boy during Australia’s assimilation era. These records provide a rare insight into the culture and concerns of past Western Australia.

What would the diary or sketchbook of a young  person living in the 21st century look like?

Thoughts, musing, observations and vignettes of daily life are revealed in a collection of over fifty sketchbooks produced by young Western Australians. The sketchbooks feature illustration, photographs, poetry and collage, and were created through Propel Youth Arts WA’s Sketchbook Project, part of the KickstART youth festival.

“My sketchbook is my reflection”, writes 23 year old Soolangna Majumdar, “…a month long observation of what’s on my mind. One 60 page long selfie.”

Following an eight month tour throughout WA public libraries from Port Hedland to Manjimup, the sketchbooks have returned to Perth and are on display at the State Library.

One sketchbook by 24 year old artist Amanda Fernandez has caught the eye of our staff with its aesthetic beauty and descriptive watercolour sketches.

How many scenes are familiar to you?


View Amanda’s sketchbook and many more on display in the Discovery Lounge Ground Floor until 30 January 2015. Open during library hours.

More information:


Books from your Backyard Family Day

Books From Your Backyard

Where you can find 12 Western Australian authors and illustrators in one day?
In The Place at the State Library of Western Australia! 

Join us this Saturday for Books from your Backyard, a free family fun day in The Place. Be amazed by the local talent in your backyard as 12 writers from the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (WA) read, perform and create drawings before your eyes.

10.00 am -Karen Blair – 0-4 years
10.30 am – Elaine Forrestal – 0-8 years
11.00 am – Briony Stewart – 4-7 years
11.30 am – Samantha Hughes – 5-12 years
12.00 pm – Chris Owen – 4-7 years
12.30 pm -Wendy Binks – 4-8 years
1.00 pm –  Teena Raffa-Mulligan – 4-7 years
1.30 pm –  Meg McKinlay – 4-8 years
2.00 pm –  James Foley – 5-12 years
2.30 pm –  H.Y. Hanna – 8-12 years
3.00 pm – Cristy Burne – 8-12 years
3.30 pm – Frane Lessac – 5-12 years

Make a day of it while you’re here and visit the Rules of Summer and On a Small Island exhibitions as well.

 Saturday 10 January, 10am – 4pm
Where: The Place, Mezzanine Floor, State Library of Western Australia
Ages: 4-10 years
Entry: Entry is free. No bookings required.

Briony Stewart illustrating: Photo by Alanna Kusin

More information:

  • Books from your Backyard
  • All venues at the State Library are wheelchair accessible
  • Parents/ caregivers need to attend with children.
  • Books will be for sale and all sessions will be followed by book signings.

The longest name in Western Australia?

Wanerenooka track, north of Northampton, 1948, 067385PD

Wanerenooka track, north of Northampton, 1948, 067385PD

Anyone researching their family history will have come across interesting or unusual names in the course of their research. I recently found just such an entry in the Historical indexes to Western Australian births, marriages and deaths on the Department of the Attorney General website.

The entry was the birth registration for a baby girl who was given eleven forenames! She was named:

Charlotte Elizabeth Mary Eliza Octavie Therese Margaret Edith Blanche Olympiad Jane Du Boulay.

Her parents were Julius and Elizabeth Du Boulay and the birth was registered in Greenough in 1864. Sadly she only lived for a few months. Interestingly, the Dictionary of Western Australians lists this child as being eleven separate children, all baptised at the same time. This led me to do some research on the family to find out whether or not this was the case.

Using the London Parish Records on Ancestry, which is available here at the State Library, I found that Julius Houssemayne Du Boulay married Elizabeth Solly at Jesus Chapel in the parish of Enfield, Middlesex in England on 20 June 1860. They had their first child, Flora H (probably Houssemayne) in Capetown, South Africa in about 1862. By the following year their second child, Emma Mary Houssemayne was born at Wanerenooka near Northampton in Western Australia. Charlotte Mary Eliza Octavie Therese Margaret Edith Blanche Olympiad Jane Du Boulay was born in 1864 before the family returned to England.

The 1911 census for England and Wales is available on both Find My Past and Ancestry within the Library. This census is often referred to as ‘the fertility census’ because, for the first time, questions were asked about the length of a couple’s marriage, how many children had been born and how many had died. The Du Boulay family’s entry in the 1911 census confirms that Julius and Elizabeth had a total of eight children of whom four had died and four were still alive in 1911. Using the free website FreeBMD, I traced the births and deaths of the couple’s English-born children. All were registered in the district of Elham, Kent and the family is known to have lived in Sandgate which is within this district so it is likely that all the births and deaths occurred there.

Flora H – born Capetown, South Africa c1862 – survived
Emma Mary Houssemayne – born Wanerenooka, WA 1863 – died aged one month
Charlotte Elizabeth Mary Eliza Octavie Therese Margaret Edith Blanche Olympiad Jane – born Greenough, WA 1864 – died aged 3 months
Minna H – born Elham registration district, Kent, England 1866 – survived
Francis Houssemayne – born Elham 1868 – died aged a few months
Lola Houssemayne – born Elham 1870 – survived
Isabel Violet H – born Elham 1871 – died aged 12
Thomas William H – born Elham 1875 – survived

Almost certainly, those children with the initial ‘H’ were given the name Houssemayne. It’s interesting that Charlotte appears to be the only child who wasn’t given this name – perhaps the eleven forenames were to make up for that! Julius and Elizabeth Du Boulay only lived in Western Australia for a few years although other members of the Du Boulay family settled here.

Is this the longest name registered in Western Australia or do you know of someone with more names?

Rules of Summer

‘This is what I learned last summer:’, begins Shaun Tan’s latest award winning picture book Rules of Summer.  Be amazed by enigmatic oil paintings from the book on display now at State Library of Western Australia.


Shaun Tan, Never drop your jar, 2013, Oil on canvas

In a dramatic series of paintings Tan maps the activities of two boys through their memories of last summer. Themes of friendship rivalry and imagination are explored in a series of pictorial contrasts between urban and natural, real and extraordinary, excitement and foreboding, familiar and strange, in both frightening and comforting moments.

Each painting explores a rule skilfully woven together to form a narrative that is open to multiple interpretations.

According to Shaun Tan, “Each picture might be seen as the chapter of an unwritten tale that can only be elaborated in the reader’s imagination”

Discover possibilities beyond the picture frame and journey into an oddly familiar emotive landscape.

The exhibition which features original works curated with pages from the picture book and exclusive video footage is on display at the State Library of Western Australia until January 27. 

When: 19 December 2014 – 27 January 2015
Where: The Gallery, Ground Floor, State Library of Western Australia
Entry: Entry is free. Open during library hours

More information:

  • Family friendly exhibition
  • All venues at the State Library are wheelchair accessible
  • Copies of Rules of Summer are available from the State Library Shop
  • Find out more about State Library Exhibitions 
  • Rules of Summer official website

Five minutes with Kyle Hughes-Odgers

Kyle Hughes –Odgers is a Western Australian artist and author known for his innovative illustrative style and public art.  Dazzling original illustrations from his new book On a Small Island are on display now at the State Library of Western Australia.

We spent some time hearing from Kyle about the inspiration and ideas behind his work. Here’s what he had to say…

Kyle Hughes-Odgers: Photo by Chad Peacock

Kyle Hughes-Odgers in his studio: Photo by Chad Peacock

1. Describe your book making process. Which comes first for you, the narrative, illustration, or the idea?

I had the initial idea for On a Small Island and I could visualise the flow of the artwork and some ideas I wanted to explore. I sketched all the artwork as a story board, then wrote the narrative to work with the images. After this the painting process started. For my next book the narrative has been very clear from the start so I have focused on developing this before starting any artwork. So I don’t seem to have a consistent process when approaching books.

2. You are known for your picture book illustrations and public art. How do you switch between extremes of scale and medium?

I love working across many different scales. I like the challenge of painting buildings and getting to spend time outside but I also love when I have time to be in the studio and work on paintings, drawings and children’s books. The variety keeps me slightly sane and it’s great to change my head space!

3. Your illustrations for On a Small Island include a lot of repetition, geometric shapes, and a variety of textures. How did this style evolve?

Very naturally – I think because I am constantly driven to make new work, the time spent exploring ideas and techniques has helped develop and progress my work to what it is today. I’m sure in another 5 -10 years it will have evolved again.


On a Small Island exhibition. Photo: State Library of Western Australia

4. You grew up in and currently reside in Perth. Is there anything unique or iconic about the Western Australian environment that influences your work? 

There are many unique and iconic aspects to the Western Australian environment, but I’m not sure it has had a direct influence on my artwork. I’m inspired by many different parts of life

5. Would you describe On a Small Island as more universal or more autobiographical?

I wrote it with a universal reach in mind, but I do connect with it personally. I think the idea of being positive and productive to change your situation is something that most people can connect with.

6. In 2012 you collaborated with author Meg McKinlay to produce the book Ten Tiny Things. What was it like to be both author and illustrator with On a Small Island? How was it different or similar to working on Ten Tiny Things?

The artwork process was fairly similar in terms of planning and creating, the writing process was challenging compared to making artwork for Ten Tiny Things. I’m a very visual person and have never thought of myself as a writer so it was something I was really excited about but also cautious because it is very new ground for me.

7. Where do you find your creativity? Which artists and authors inspire you?

I’m really inspired by nature, creativity, human behavior and life! I draw/paint every single day and I really love it. My favourite illustrator of all time (at the moment) is Charley Harper.

A number of original illustrations from On a Small Island have been included in the State Library of Western Australia’s Children’s Literature Collection. The exhibition is on display in The Place on the Mezzanine floor, State Library of Western Australia and is open until 28 February. For more information visit our website.

On a Small Island exhibition. Photo: State Library of Western Australia