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.

British Newspaper Archive now at the State Library

Illustrated Police News, May 21 1887

The Illustrated Police News is just one of the many newspapers available in this wonderful archive [Illustrated Police News, May 21 1887]














The latest addition to the Library’s family history e-resources is the British Newspaper Archive, which gives you access to millions of pages of digitised historical newspapers held at the British Library. There are newspaper titles from England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales and you will find news articles, family notices, obituaries, letters, advertisements and illustrations.
Please note that you need to be within the State Library building to access the British Newspaper Archive and you will also need to register i.e. create your own login and password. Once you have done this you will be able to search, view articles, save (bookmark) articles of interest into different folders and add tags or comments. You will also be able to correct the optical character recognition (OCR) text, making articles easier for other people to find, in a similar way to the National Library of Australia’s Trove website.

New music e-resource on trial

We are currently trialling Music Online, delivering all of the music content you need, from the world’s best record labels and music publishers, together in one place. The trial is available to SLWA members until 31 March. Have a look, have a read, have a listen, have a play and let us know what you think by filling out the short survey.

Preview Elektra for free without leaving your home

Why not use Naxos Music Library to have a listen to Richard Strauss’s powerful opera Elektra ahead of its opening at His Majesty’s Theatre this week? You can hear excerpts from the opera, or you can listen to the voices of many of the cast (Eva Johansson, Orla Boylan, Elizabeth Campbell, Fiona Campbell, Merlyn Quaife and others) singing a variety of other music. You can use Naxos with your free membership to the State Library, and you can listen in the comfort of your home. And you can discover a whole world of music by listening to over 900,000 tracks.

3 more new electronic resources at the State Library

Next time you’re visiting the State Library why not take the opportunity to view this latest batch of new electronic resources! All are available from the library catalogue terminals and from our public pcs (bookings required for public pcs). Click on the links for more information about each resource:

Remember you can only access these when using computers in the State Library building. Enjoy!

New e-books and databases at the State Library

If you’re visiting the State Library why not take the opportunity to view these new electronic resources!  All are available from the library catalogue terminals and from our public pcs (bookings required for public pcs).  Click on the links for more information about each resource:

Remember you can only access these when using computers in the State Library building.  Enjoy!

Two new databases for family and social history

Princess Royal Harbour, King George's Sound

Princess Royal Harbour, King George's Sound

The State Library has purchased subscriptions to two new electronic databases. One is the Illustrated London News which covers the period 1842 to 2003. This publication, which reported both British and world events, is a wonderful addition to our collection and will prove useful for both historians and genealogists. Pictured here is an image of Albany which featured on page 13 of the Illustrated London News for January 7, 1865.

In great news for those with Irish ancestry, the other new addition is the Irish Newspaper Archives. This has 18 newspapers from all over Ireland with the earliest newspaper, Freeman’s Journal, dating back to 1763. The database will continue to grow with more newspapers to be added in the near future.

Both databases can be accessed within the State Library building as part of our Family History E-Resources.

More than just Google – free workshops at the State Library

SEaK – Search Engage and Know
Do you feel lost on the information highway?
Don’t know where to start looking for information?
Feel intimidated by the library or the internet?

The State Library has a range of free, practical hands-on workshops where you can improve your research skills and get internet search tips and tricks. All sessions are designed to give you a head start in uncovering the wealth of information available in the Library’s collections and online.

For full details visit the State Library website.

Four new databases available at the State Library

Hooray, we have four new databases available for your delectation! 

  1. Literature Resource Center : Information on authors and their works in all genres and disciplines, from all time periods and from around the world using the world’s most current, comprehensive, and reliable online literature resource.
  2. Biography Resource Center : An authoritative resource for biographies on notable figures in literature, science, history, government, business, art, religion, entertainment and sports
  3. Science Resource Center : Millions of full-text articles on hundreds of topics from over 200 magazines and academic journals along with thousands of topic overviews, experiments, biographies, pictures, illustrations and links to quality web sites.
  4. Health and Wellness Resource Center : Full-text authoritative information from journals and reference books covering health, fitness and nutrition.  (This database is also available as a Database from Home)

Click on the title links to go to the catalogue record with additional information for each resource.  To access the databases you will need to visit us at the State Library  as access is limited to those searching within the State Library building (except for the Health and Wellness Resource Center).   To book a PC you will  need to register for a free mylibrary card.  You can search for the databases in our catalogue or you can navigate to them from the Electronic Resources section of our website!

Three new databases at the State Library of WA

If you are visiting the State Library soon you may wish to try our newest electronic resources (only available within the State Library building) :

MaquarieNet – Australia’s Online Reference Library:

For students, teachers and general users. Its broad and diverse collection of resources includes interactive maps,a range of Macquarie dictionaries,daily ABC news feeds, images and interactive Learning Trails

Art & Architecture Complete

 Covering a wide variety of pertinent subjects, including antiques, art and art history, interior and landscape design, and much more,  Art and Achitecture provides full-text coverage of more than 250 periodicals and 150 books

Naxos Jazz Music Library

One of the the most comprehensive collection of Jazz music available online offering close to 22,600 tracks of jazz from over 2,300 albums.
*Headphones are required to use this database and are available to purchase from the bookshop on the ground floor of the library.

Remember – these databases are only be available within the  library – you need to register with the library to access and book library computers.  Access the databases from our Electronic Resources pages.