Crime and Punishment

Many Western Australians have a convict or pensioner guard in their ancestral family. The State Library has digitised some items from our heritage collections relating to convicts, the police and the early criminal justice system.

Convicts slwa_b2462917_1

Convicts Tom the dealer, Davey Evans and Paddy Paternoster b2462917

Police Gazette of Western Australia, 1876-1900
The Police Gazettes include information under various headings including apprehensions (name of person arrested, arresting constable, charge and sentence), police appointments, tickets of leave, certificates of freedom, and conditional pardons issued to convicts. You may find physical descriptions of prisoners. Deserters from military service and escaped prisoners are sought. Mention is also made of expirees leaving the colony; inquests (where held, date, name and date of death of person, verdict); licences (publican, gallon, eating, boarding and lodging houses, railway refreshment rooms, wine and beer and spirit merchants, etc. giving name of licensee, name of hotel and town or district). There are listings for missing friends; prisoners discharged; people tried at Quarter Sessions (name, offence, district, verdict); and warrants issued. There are many reasons for a name to appear in the gazettes.

We thank the Friends of Battye Library and the Sholl Bequest, for supporting the digitising of the Police Gazettes.

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A great resource for researching the broader experience of WA convicts is The convict system in Western Australia, 1850-1870 by Cherry Gertzel. This thesis explains the workings of the convict system, and explores the conditions under which the convicts lived and worked, their effect on the colony and, to some extent, the attitudes of colonists to the prisoners.

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Another valuable publication is Further correspondence on the subject of convict discipline and transportation. This comprises official documents relating to the transportation of convicts to Australia, covering the period 1810-1865, and is bound in 8 volumes.
This set from our rare book collection gives an excellent background to the subject for anyone researching convicts or convict guards, with individuals (very) occasionally being named.
The easiest way to access this wonderful resource is to type convict system under Title in our catalogue and select State Library Online from the drop-down box. Once you’ve selected a volume, you can browse through the pages by placing your cursor on the edge of a page and clicking. If you have the volume turned on, this makes a very satisfying page-turning noise! If you want to search for names, scroll down and select the Download button. You can then save a searchable PDF version to your PC. The files are fairly large so you may need to be patient.

Return of the number of wives and families of ticket-of-leave holders to be sent out to Western Australia 1859

Return of the number of wives and families of ticket-of-leave holders to be sent out to Western Australia 1859 From: Further correspondence on the subject of convict discipline and transportation, 1859-1865 p.65. [vol.8]

 There are several online diaries relating to convict voyages. The diary, including copies of letters home, of convict John Acton Wroth was kept during his transportation to Western Australia on the Mermaid in 1851 and for a while after his arrival. Wroth was only 17 years old at the time of his conviction. Apparently he was enamoured of a young woman and resorted to fraud in order to find the means to impress her. The diary spans 1851-1853 and it reveals one young man’s difficulty in finding himself far from the love and support of his family while accepting of the circumstance he has brought upon himself. Wroth subsequently settled in Toodyay and became a respected resident, raising a large family and running several businesses as well as acting for some time as local school master.

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Another interesting read is the transcript of the diary of John Gregg, carpenter on the convict ship York. This 1862 diary gives details of work each day, which was often difficult when the weather was foul and the carpenter sea-sick, and uncommon events such as attempts by convicts to escape –

“…the affair altogether must be admitted to reflect little credit on the military portion of the convict guard, for although the officer of the watch called loud and long for the guard, none were forthcoming until the prisoners were actually in custody.”

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Diary of John Gregg, carpenter on the convict ship ‘York’, with definitions of nautical terms, compiled by Juliet Ludbrook.





A letter from a convict in Australia to a brother in England, originally published in the Cornhill Magazine, April 1866 contains insights into the experience of a more educated felon and some sharp observations on convict life as lived by him upon his arrival in Western Australia-

“…you can walk about and talk with your friends as you please. So long as there is no disturbance, there is no interference”


“…the bond class stand in the proportion of fully five-sevenths of the entire population, and are fully conscious of their power…”

Other miscellaneous convict -related items include:

Two posters listing convict runaways with details of their convictions and descriptions:
Return of convicts who have escaped from the colony, and whose absconding has been notified to this office between the 1st June, 1850, and the 31st of March, 1859
List of convicts who are supposed to have escaped the Colony (a broadsheet giving the name, number and description of 83 escaped convicts).

Parade state of the Enrolled Guard, 30 March 1887, on the occasion of the inspection of the guard by Sir Frederick Napier Broome, prior to disbandment.


Parade state of the Enrolled Guard… b1936163


British Army pensioners came out to Western Australia as convict guards. This document gives the following details for those still serving in 1887:- rank, name, regiment, age, rate of pension, length of Army service, rank when pensioned, date of joining the Enrolled Guard, medals and clasps.







Scale of remission for English convicts sentenced to penal servitude subsequent to 1 July 1857  is a table showing how much time in good behaviour convicts needed to accrue in order to qualify for privileges.

Certificate of freedom, 1869 [Certificates of freedom of convict William Dore]

This is just a small sample of convict-related material in the State Library collections that you can explore online. You can also visit the Battye Library of West Australian History to research individual convicts, policemen, pensioner guards or others involved in the criminal justice system.


School Magazines

avon_northam_june_1939_cover_2016-10-26_0936School magazines provide a fascinating glimpse into the past.

What was high school like from 1915 through to the 1950s? What issues interested teenagers? How did they react to current events including two world wars? In what ways did they express themselves differently from today’s teens? What sort of jokes did they find amusing? (Hint: there are many of what we would call “dad jokes”.)

The State Library holds an extensive collection of school magazines from both public and private schools. Most don’t start until after 1954 which, as with newspapers, is our cut-off date for digitising, but we have digitised some early issues from public schools.


In the first part of the 19th Century they were generally produced by the students, with minimal input from school staff – and it shows. The quality of individual issues varies widely, depending, most probably, on the level of talent, interest and time invested by the responsible students.


Cricket cartoon Northam High School (The Avon) Sept. 1930

These magazines may include named photographs of prefects and staff, sporting teams and academic prize winners. Photographs from early editions tend to be of much higher quality, possibly because they were taken using glass negatives.


Essay competition. The subject: “A letter from Mr Collins congratulating Elizabeth on her engagement to Mr Darcy”  Phyllis Hand and Jean McIntyre were the prize winners.      Perth Girls’ School Magazine Nov. 1922

You will find poetry and essays, sketches by and of students, amateur cartooning, and many puns, jokes and limericks.

Some issues include ex-student notes with news about the careers, marriages and movements of past students. There is an occasional obituary.


Northam High School (The Avon) June 1943


Does anyone know these twins from Meckering?  Northam High School (The Avon) May 1925

Issues from the war years are particularly interesting and touching. You may also find rolls of honour naming ex-students serving in the forces.

There is also often advertising for local businesses.










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Girls’ A Hockey Team Albany High School (Boronia) Dec. 1925

These magazines reflect the attitudes of their tight-knit local community of the time.  Expect to hear the same exhortations to strive for academic, moral and sporting excellence that we hear in schools today – while observing the (in retrospect) somewhat naïve patriotism and call to Empire and the occasional casual racism.


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The following high school magazines for various dates are either available now online or will appear in the coming weeks: Perth Boys’ School MagazinePerth Girls’ School Magazine (later The Magpie); Fremantle Boys’ School; Northam High School (The Avon); Girdlestone High School (Coolibah); Eastern Goldfields Senior High School (The Golden Mile – later Pegasus); Bunbury High School (Kingia); Albany High School (Boronia) and Perth Modern (The Sphinx). None are complete and we would welcome donations of missing volumes to add to our Western Australian collections.

If you would like to browse our digitised high school magazines search the State Library catalogue using the term: SCHOOL MAGAZINES

*Some issues of The Magpie are too tightly bound for digitising so they are currently being disbound. They will then be digitised and rebound. Issues should appear in the catalogue in the near future.

The Metropolitan Dental Company

Teeth of Charm and beauty slwa_b2034953_18

One would not normally associate a dental company with glitz and glamour, but during the first half of the 20th century Perth’s major dental firm had an image of modernity and high fashion without equal in Western Australia.

The Metropolitan Dental Company was established in 1908 advertising its aim to provide affordable dental care for all, including people on lower incomes.


Advertising for dental products from the ephemera collection of the Metropolitan Dental Company.

0005 (5)

Advertising for dental products from the ephemera collection of the Metropolitan Dental Company.

The State Library has a small but delightful collection of material relating to the Metropolitan Dental Company including photographs, a day book, scrapbooks, certificates, advertising mock-ups and other ephemera.


Drawing of the (proposed?) exterior of the Metropolitan Dental Company 00716D

Hay Street, Perth premises of the Metropolitan Dental Company slwa_b3473316_2

Hay Street, Perth premises of the Metropolitan Dental Company 1927 100182PD

Metropolitan Dental Company

The building at 790 Hay Street, Perth today. [The Apple Store] Photo: Google Maps Street View.

The Company was described as the biggest in the Southern Hemisphere. The owners were Wolf Blitz, Alfred Kaufman, and Alfred Rogers, with notable dentists such as Edgar McGillicuddy, Thomas Wilson and Albert E. Ford working for the company at various times.

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The Metropolitan Dental Company advertised widely in newspapers, using the lure of a short anecdote or educational snippet followed by an invitation to use their services. In fact they made an art of the “advertorial”.  Some examples of marketing gems from Trove Newspapers include:

“Aseptic  Methods in  Modern Dentistry” – absolutely sterile instruments…

“Deadlier than Snake Venom” – food detritus and tooth cavities.

“Mental, Physical and Moral Degeneration” – the link between juvenile delinquency and bad teeth…“Private health really means public morals”.  [Yes! Really.]

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A day book from 1908 lists appointments, treatment and fees charged. It is noted that Mrs Townsend of Highgate Hill had to cut short her treatment on being called away to Albany “her child having broken its collarbone”.

Included in the collection are some original artworks for advertising and for the windows of the company’s offices. A mock-up for a Neon sign is so impressively bright that one is tempted to take it into a darkened room to see if it glows.

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Also in the advertising ephemera are several metal printer’s engraving plates that are wonderful works of art in their own right.

0050 (5)

Metropolitan Dental Company collection ACC1863A/19

To associate an air of beauty and sophistication with a dental firm is no easy task, but the Metropolitan Dental Company achieved this by employing attractive young women to grace their colourful posters.

The full collection of photographs may be viewed here.

The Metropolitan Dental Company is just one of the private business archives in the State Library Collections. These records provide a view into a past that is so much more vibrant and interesting than we may have thought from viewing black and white photographs.

We are always pleased to hear from members of the community who may have private business records that they would like to be considered for the State Heritage Collections.

Baffling bridge…

008366PD Baffling bridge

Unidentified bridge 008366PD

Flushed with success at having our last two mystery photographs identified we thought we’d try this one, a glass negative from the E.L. Mitchell collection. Once again the terrain suggests the south west, probably taken c.1920. The name on the store is not legible but we are sure that someone in our community will recognise the bridge and be able to name the store. See close-up of the store with horse-drawn buggies below.

Scroll down to the Leave a reply icon to make a comment.


Close-up of store 008366PD

Freemason Records in the Battye Library


Katanning Lodge Attendance Register Acc 8594A/1

The State Library is fortunate to hold a significant collection of records documenting Freemason history in Western Australia.
Freemasonry is an ancient fraternal organisation that has its origins in medieval craft guilds. Members are known as Masons or Freemasons. Freemasonry… “works towards this lofty ideal by providing its members with an ethic for living and teaches honesty in business, courtesy towards others, dependability in work, compassion and concern for the less fortunate, tolerance towards one’s fellow beings, resistance to evil, help for the weak, and love for one another and reverence for a Supreme Being.”1

Freemasons are organised into lodges that may have general membership or be based on a particular occupation such as law or a traditional craft. There is usually regional leadership in the form of a grand lodge or other such organisation. Members pass through various degrees of Masonry which may vary from lodge to lodge. Many prominent citizens were members of the Freemason fraternity.

Charles Kingsford Smith slwa_b3473555_1

Portrait of Charles Kingsford Smith inscribed: With fraternal greetings to Gascoyne 62 from Bro. C. Kingsford Smith. 101390PD


In Western Australia newly arrived immigrants who were Freemasons often joined a local lodge where they would receive support and opportunity for friendship and involvement in the local community. Local men might also join for the same reasons. You are unlikely to find Roman Catholic members in early Western Australian lodges.

Our collections include records of the various lodges which make up the Freemasons Grand Lodge of Western Australia. The records include attendance books, clearance books, declaration books, minute books, certificates, histories, lists of members, ledgers, nomination forms, registers, etc.

Caxton Lodge Consecration and Dedication pamphlet 1928 PR 13396 GRA 51 cover

Caxton Lodge Consecration and Dedication pamphlet 1928 PR 13396 GRA 51 cover

Caxton Lodge Consecration and Dedication pamphlet 1928 PR 13396 GRA 51

Caxton Lodge Consecration and Dedication pamphlet 1928 PR 13396 GRA 51

Names of lodges may reflect the interests or nationality of original members or an occupation. Western Australian examples include:
Commercial Travellers’ Lodge, Temperance Lodge, Lodge of Sportsmen, Lodge Robbie Burns, Lodge of Loyalty, Lodge of Fidelity, Military Lodge, Lodge of Resolution, Black Diamond Lodge (Collie), Lodge of Serenity, Naval Lodge, Lodge of Faith, Lodge of Peace, Sir Walter Scott Masonic Lodge, Lodge of Harmony, Lodge of Emulation, Caxton Lodge (printing industry – Subiaco), Lodge of Remembrance, Lord Nelson Lodge and Lodge of St Andrew.
Registers of members may include the name of member, former lodge if any, town of residence, occupation, date of joining, and date that membership ceased. Sometimes there is a note of the death of a member or an indication of where the member is heading off to. Some registers start quite early. Geraldton Lodge was consecrated in 1877 and members are listed in the register from that date. Professions listed in this register include: police Inspector, publican, merchant, squatter, clerk, banker, carpenter, chemist, farmer, builder, station-master, draughtsman, miner, doctor, butcher, school teacher, solicitor, steamer purser, miller, and steamer steward. Quite a cross-section of the local community!

Geraldton Register page for 1877-1878 Acc5709a7 0012 (2)

Geraldton Register page for 1877-1878 Acc5709a/7

Early registers, declaration books, or attendance books include:

Metropolitan area:
Fremantle Declaration Books 1866- ; Fremantle Registers 1900- ; King Edward (Perth) 1904- ; Roebuck 1902- ; Jarrahdale 1913- ; Queen Victoria (Perth, Western suburbs) 1901- ; Alma (North Perth) 1904- ; Lodge of Unity (Inglewood, Attendance Books) 1892- ; Abercorn Lodge (Leederville) 1897- ; Lodge Friendship (Midland) 1897- ; Perth Declaration Books 1899-.

Norseman 1897- ; Geraldton Lodge 1877- ; Murchison Lodge 1897- ; Katanning 1898- ; Jarrahdale (Declaration Books) 1901-; Gascoyne Lodge (Carnarvon) 1903- ; Boulder (Declaration Books) 1904-.
See below for links to full lists of State Library holdings by name of lodge or location.

Along with the standard registers, declaration books and minute books there are many items of ephemera including calls to meetings, invitations to events, cards, beautifully ornate certificates, souvenir programmes and menus. We even hold several items of music relating to Freemasonry in Western Australia.

Many photographs of individuals, and groups and events may also be found within the State Library’s collections. Photographs of lodges indicate that many were purpose-built, architecturally designed brick and tile buildings.


Freemason’s Hall, corner Hay and Irwin Streets, Perth c. 1907 010024PD       [Demolished 1971]

Hay Street west from Pier Street showing the Mechanics' Institute, Freemason's Lodge and Perth Town Hall 1868 009245d

Hay Street west from Pier Street showing the Mechanics’ Institute, Freemason’s Lodge and Perth Town Hall 1868 009245d

Masonic lodge and hall, Busselton 2012 b3598990

Masonic lodge and hall, Busselton 2012 b3598990


Freemasons’ Hall Subiaco 1927         Richard Woldendorp   216376PD


From: Proceedings of the Grand Lodge 1929-1930 b1359029


The Proceedings of the Grand Lodge of Western Australia of Antient, Free and Accepted Masons is held from 1900-. There are gaps in the Library’s holdings.

The Journal of the Freemasons, the WA Craftsman is partially indexed in our catalogue. Individual members are often profiled and there are many obituaries as well as news of the craft. The title varies and there are gaps in our holdings but the journal starts in 1898.

As well as Masonic news the journals have a variety of advertisements for metropolitan and regional retailers and other business services.





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The subscription database Ancestry has recently published membership registers from the All England, United Grand Lodge, 1751-1921. Most registers in this collection are from lodges in England, however, copies of registers from lodges in Wales, Northern Ireland, Canada, Australia, India, West Indies and South Africa are also listed.
Perth, Fremantle, Toodyay, Bunbury, York, Murchison, Kalgoorlie, Helena Vale and Albany are just some of those available.
Ancestry [library edition] is available free of charge at the State Library and at most public libraries in Western Australia.

Helena Vale Freemasons Ancestry

Helena Vale Freemasons, Ancestry

For books about Freemasonry in Western Australia search the State Library catalogue under the subject FREEMASONRY WESTERN AUSTRALIA.
For the journals of Freemasonry in WA search the catalogue under the subject FREEMASONS WESTERN AUSTRALIA PERIODICALS
For items of music relating to Freemasonry search the catalogue under the subject FREEMASONS SONGS AND MUSIC
Lists of lodges by name, number and location with links to State Library holdings for each may be found here.

1 Western Australian Freemasons


Pub puzzle


Unknown hotel 008497PD

Unknown hotel. 008497PD


This image has been identified as, most probably, the Mogumber Hotel. Now called the Mogumber Tavern. It has been extended and residential units added but original features still visible suggest that we have it right. More recent photographs of the tavern may be found here.
The image has now been added to our catalogue and  may be found here. We took another look at the number plate of the vehicle in an enlarged image and could make out that it ends with the numbers  “93”. The 1917-18 RAC Yearbook has a “Hudson 29” registered to the Swan Brewery  Reg. # P 293.  Perhaps Swan Brewery employees were visiting.

Thank you Joan Harvey!


This hotel photographed by E.L. Mitchell is held as a glass negative. From the women’s clothing it is probably taken between 1914 and 1920.

The trees suggest that it may be somewhere in the South West. Unfortunately the hotel’s name on the roof is obscured and the man at the car is standing in front of the number plate which might have given a clue.

Does anyone recognise this building?  After success with our last photographic challenge we have high hopes that someone out there can assist.


Yarloop, a small town with a big history

A devastating fire on Thursday 7th January 2016 has destroyed most of the town of Yarloop. The tragic loss of life, property and living history in this small and close community has touched all Western Australians. We would like to share  a selection of photographs and documents about Yarloop from the State Library’s heritage collections. We hope that these images will evoke some memories.

The 2006 census gives Yarloop’s population as 545 but this little town has had an association with many W.A. families.

Wedding party of Rufus Burnsyde and Mary Eastcott, Yarloop 1909 slwa b2786290

Wedding party of Rufus Burnsyde and Mary Eastcott, Yarloop 1909 slwa b2786290

Yarloop is 129km south of Perth and is part of the Shire of Harvey. The town was established in 1894 but European settlement began slowly from the late 1840s and built up during the 1880s. The name Yarloop is thought to have originated from the local language of the Binjareb or Pindjarup people.

Timber and farming, mainly dairy and fruit, have been the mainstays of the local economy. More recently tourism has been encouraged with historic trails, wildflower walks and cycling routes developed. Sadly the The Yarloop Workshops, so brilliantly restored and maintained by the local community, have also gone. The Yarloop Workshops Website includes a history and slideshow that detail just how much has been lost in the fires.

Jack Davis

Jack Davis, poet and dramatist.   Ron Williams Collection

Jack Davis the Aboriginal poet and dramatist was raised in Yarloop. Davis is best known for his plays The Dreamers (1982) and No Sugar (1985).

Yarloop 1910 - 1920 slwa b2944123

Yarloop 1910 – 1920 slwa b2944123

Steam whim hauling at Yarloop 1905 SLWA 000965d

Steam whim hauling at Yarloop 1905 000965d

In the early 20th century Millars’ Timber Company established a ‘company’ town, adjacent to the original townsite, as the hub of its business with rail access linking the town to Bunbury and Perth. The original Millars’ mill was at Waigerup Brook (now Wagerup). The first mill in the Yarloop area is believed to have been Waterous Mill.

Building a whim wheel Yarloop c. 1903 004471D

Building a whim wheel Yarloop c. 1903

The heritage buildings, rail and workshops are irreplaceable but many aspects of the history of the town have been documented.

The State Records Office of Western Australia holds the official records of government. For Yarloop their extensive collections will include land records and maps; Department of Education files on teachers and schools; student registers; police reports; building records and Department of Health files. Documents will cover various aspects of agriculture, environment, railways, planning, building, decommissioning and conservation from various Western Australian government departments.

A visit to the National Archives of Australia’s Discovering ANZACS website will help to identify the records of soldiers who served in WWI who were born in or gave their home address as Yarloop.

The main National Archives site can be searched to find names and records of soldiers (and rejected applicants) from the defence services including those who served in WWII, Vietnam and the Citizen Military Force who hailed from Yarloop.

The State Library’s contribution to the National Library of Australia’s Trove Newspaper website includes The South West Advertiser 1910 – 1954 and the Harvey Chronicle 1915 – 1916. Other local newspapers are held at the State Library and may be found through our catalogue using the keyword terms NEWSPAPERS and YARLOOP.  Researchers can read about local issues such as timber and railway workers’ strikes, police activities and social events. We are fortunate to have the photograph collection from the weekly newspaper Truth, published from 1903 to 1931 (and also in Trove), which includes local scandal from all over W.A.  One article from 1929 gleefully details the story of the spurned lover who tried to blow up the Yarloop Hotel with gelignite.

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The State Library holds a variety of material relating to Yarloop.  In our large archive of Millars’ Timber records, pay and accident registers document individuals who worked for the company, as well as local production figures. There are also many photographs in this collection.

Diaries kept by James Owen Mitchell, his wife Rose (nee Perrin) and, occasionally, his son Stephen, detail the day-to-day life at their farm “Blacklands” at Yarloop from the early 1890s to James’ death in 1945.

Mitchall Diaries SLWA Acc687A

Mitchell Diaries SLWA Acc687A

Mitchell Diaries Acc687A

Mitchell Diaries Acc687A

In May 1951 Edith Reynolds [nee Clinch-?] wrote a letter from Yarloop Hospital describing the new wing as “particularly nice, one feels as though you were in one of the best hotels in Perth“.

Letter from Edith Reynolds 1951 Princep papers Acc7093A 51

Letter from Edith Reynolds 1951 Prinsep papers Acc7093A 51

There are indexes to the Western Australian Railway and Tramway Gazette and the Freemasons’ journal the West Australian Craftsman. These are searchable through the State Library catalogue and researchers may find small profiles or obituaries of people involved in these organisations as well as information about local activities.

Real estate plan Yarloop Townsite 1903

Real estate plan Yarloop Townsite 1903

The State Library also holds published reports on mining, environment issues and agriculture for the Yarloop area. Yarloop: a town to remember is a personal memoir written and published by Geoff Fortune in which he gives a potted history and many anecdotes about the town and its characters from the 1930s onwards. In the section on WWII he talks about the work done by school children of the town to assist with comfort packages for the Australian troops. We happen to have a digital image taken from a small print of the original photograph of school children of various ages and their teacher outside Yarloop School along with boxes labelled “Food for Britain”.  Although we have not identified anyone in this photo, Geoff Fortune is almost certainly one of the children.

School children Yarloop WWII SLWA b1846989

School children Yarloop WWII SLWA b1846989

Oral histories are a particularly evocative source of historical information. Some oral histories in our collection include descriptions of growing up in Yarloop, working on the railway, timber mills, farming life, and nursing. Several are available as podcasts or have transcriptions available online.  To find these in the State Library catalogue do a keyword search using the terms YARLOOP  and ORAL HISTORY. Some of these recordings have been donated by Harvey History Online a group dedicated to recording and making available the history of the Harvey area. Their website includes indexes and background information about local industry, towns in the Harvey Shire, and historical characters.

Shell Park Service Station Yarloop proprietor L.A. Kennewell 1956 114188PD

Shell Park Service Station Yarloop, proprietor L.A. Kennewell 1956 114188PD

Most people are familiar with the online historical database Trove . This website hosts digitised newspapers provided by State Libraries and other government and cultural institutions. However, many are unaware that Trove is a lot more than newspapers. You can also search photographs, journals and diaries, books, music, maps, organisations and people, and archived websites. The section of Trove that collects websites is  PANDORA.  Try using Yarloop as a search term in PANDORA.

In the days since the terrible fires at Yarloop there has been a huge response by people on Facebook and other social media.  People are sharing their photographs and memories of Yarloop. Unfortunately, neither the State Library nor the National Library of Australia (through PANDORA) is able to collect these posts for our heritage collections.

We actively seek the stories and images of our communites to share into the future.  If you have materials which you would be willing to contribute, you can view our kit for potential donors at, or contact our Collection Liaison team at

Help! Where am I?

013636PD Unidentified

Unidentified building c.1910-1920 Dr. Battye’s collection of glass negatives 013636PD


UPDATE: Found! 

A part of the St Andrew’s Convalescent Home for soldiers, Kalamunda which is now St Brigid’s College Lesmurdie.

The western side, and only completed section, of a building originally planned as a school by Herbert Parry and built for Archibald Sanderson MLC on his Lesmurdie Estate. In 1919 the property and some adjacent land was purchased by the Commonwealth Government and converted into a convalescent home for returned soldiers. The original plans were adapted and the entire building completed with the eastern side in the “Dutch Colonial” style and based on Cecil Rhodes home in South Africa. (See photograph, drawings and article published in the Western Mail 11 April 1919, p.24 (p.23 in Trove) and p.29).

See photograph from the 1920s here.


Can anyone assist us with the location of, and any information about, this stone and timber property?

This image is a part of a collection of Dr. J. S. Battye’s glass negatives taken between 1910 and 1920.  Many photographs in this collection were taken by E. L. Mitchell but there is nothing on the negative to identify the photographer or the subject.

We are always delighted to receive further information about the images in the State Library photographic collections.

To respond please click into the speech bubble just above the photograph.

Early Almanacs Digitised


The Herald Western Australian Almanack and Commercial Directory 1874

Almanacs predate the Western Australian government Year Books and Post Office Directories, and served a similar purpose in detailing the activities of the colony of Western Australia.

We have recently completed the digitising of a series of almanacs 1849 – 1889. These were produced by several different, and sometimes competing, publishers (Stirling and Sons, Arthur Shenton, and James Pearce) so there may be more than one publication for a particular year.





Australasian Map In: The Herald Western Australian Almanack and Commercial Directory 1874


Most early almanacs include a list of prominent office-holders and their positions in the establishment. A more general directory appears during the 1860s.
Some editions include a potted history of the colony by date – see the Western Australian Almanack of 1856 by Stirling and Sons. Stirling and Sons’ almanacs may also include a brief chronicle of occurrences and events for the year.

As well as interesting statistics on the demography and productivity of the colony, calendars, and schedules of government fees, the almanacs contain advertisements for many local businesses including merchants, banks, jewellers, undertakers, insurance agents, hoteliers, teachers, retailers, accountants and tradesmen.


Advertisements from: Western Australian Almanack 1868 [Stirling and Sons]


Catholic Church Schools In: Western Australian Almanack 1855 [Arthur Shenton]

Browsing the almanacs can afford interesting highlights such as a short paragraph of useful hints to keep your servants – “Piece work is the cheapest to the master and the best to the men”. [Oh, really?] Or the Table of Distances for Western Australia compiled by Alfred Hillman in 1854 [1856 almanac].


Western Australian Almanack for the year 1855 published by Arthur Shenton p.38


Table of Distances in Western Australia compiled by Alfred Hillman 1854 In: Western Australian Almanack [Stirling and Sons] 1856 pp. 78-79

If you have an interest in Western Australian social or family history these publications provide a wealth of background information as well as mentioning many residents and businesses of the time.


Western Almanack and Directory 1869 [Stirling and Son]

To find the almanacs through our catalogue search using the terms ALMANACK and HERITAGE ONLINE (note spelling of almanac with a “k”)
Visit the Biographies and Directories section of our Heritage Online pages.

Maps, Plans and Family Stories

 Discoveries in Western Australia: from documents furnished to the Colonial Office by J.S Roe, Esqre. b1775631

Discoveries in Western Australia: from documents furnished to the Colonial Office by J.S Roe, Esqre. b1775631

Many maps are objects of beauty, works of art in their own right, or marvellous in their precision and attention to detail…

but have you ever thought how maps can assist you with your family history?

The State Library and the State Records Office have large collections of maps and plans. These can be used to locate and trace the history of a house or commercial property. For residences built in the Perth area during the first half of the twentieth century you may even discover house plans.

Freemasons Hotel, Bridgetown b2896300

Freemasons Hotel, Bridgetown b2896300

Townsite plans may include numbered allotments, sometimes named.  You will be able to see how built up an area was at a particular time. Group Settlement plans show individual properties.  The Lands and Surveys chain series maps often give the names of land owners.

Freemasons Hotel, Bridgetown b2896300

Freemasons Hotel, Bridgetown b2896300

Railway maps may tell you when the railway arrived at a particular town.  Some plans show lots, streets and buildings surrounding stations, and land resumption information.

Electoral maps show the boundaries down to which electoral district a street was in. Road maps show street name changes and indicate how built-up a suburb was during the period it was produced.

Group settlement map, Cowaramup to Cape Leeuwin b3086567

Group settlement map, Cowaramup to Cape Leeuwin b3086567

Exploration maps may include the first documented comment on the local countryside.

There are maps indicating mining leases, collections of real estate plans and much more.

You are invited to join us on Thursday 27th August for a day exploring our map collections. We will also be including a talk on how to get the most out of an oral history with a family member.

Launch of Mapping Memory online exhibition – speaker Wendy Lugg

Travels in the Archives – speaker David Whitehead

Where the hell are we? – speaker Steve Howell

Don’t put it off! Why you should record your family stories now – speaker Susanna Iuliano.

Talks are free. Please book at Eventbrite.