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.

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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.

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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.

Missing Lives

The tragedy of war and separation are powerful realities revealed in a photographic exhibition by award winning British photojournalist, Nick Danziger.

Taken in the aftermath of the conflicts in former Yugoslavia in the 1990s, Missing Lives documents the plight of a handful of families waiting to learn the fate of their loved ones, classified as missing.

Photograph: copyright Nick Danziger. No unathorised use or copying without permission

Photograph: Reproduced with permission. Copyright Nick Danziger. No unauthorised use or copying without permission.

Under international humanitarian law, authorities on all sides of a conflict have a legal duty to take every step to determine the fate of those who are missing and to pass this information on to their families. Almost 20 years after the wars in Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia, and 13 years after the end of conflict in Kosovo, thousands remain unaccounted for.

Based on a book of the same name, this exhibition highlights the tragic consequences of what happens when the rules of war are not followed, but also illustrates the strength and resilience of survivors still searching for their missing friends and relatives.

Photograph: Reproduced with permission. Copyright Nick Danziger. No unauthorised use or copying without permission.

Photograph: Reproduced with permission. Copyright Nick Danziger. No unauthorised use or copying without permission.

Two lunchtime talks will be presented in conjunction with the Missing Lives exhibit.

Missing during war
What happens when people go missing in war? Claire Lawson from the Australian Red Cross reveals the impact left on those waiting for answers, why so many people remain unaccounted for, and how the Red Cross can assist.

Wednesday 27 May, 12.30 – 1:00 (30 mins)
Wednesday 17 June, 12.30 – 1:00 (30 mins)

Missing Lives in on display at the State Library from 20 May – 30 June. For more information visit our website. Missing lives is presented by The Australian Red Cross and is supported by the International Committee of the Red Cross and Lotterywest.  


Top 10 cycle racing photos from our collection

As a tribute to the Tour de France, a Collection Liaison Librarian here at the State Library has put together a list of some of the best cycle racing photographs in our collection.

Though the bicycles and outfits might’ve changed (high-vis leotard anyone?), the thrill of the race and the cheers of the crowd have continued on.

Cycle race, Mt Magnet to Black Range, c1908

1. Cycle race, Mt Magnet to Black Range, c1908

A Goldfields bicycle racing club of the thirties.

2. A Goldfields bicycle racing club in the thirties

Cyclists at the Perth British Empire and Commonwealth Games train on the road, 1962.

3. Cyclists at the Perth British Empire and Commonwealth Games train on the road, 1962

An English cyclists trains,  1962

4. An English cyclist trains, 1962

Start of a cycle race, Coolgardie,  1898-1899.

5. Start of a cycle race, Coolgardie, c1898-1899

6. The 120 mile road race held in King's Park, 1962

6. The 120 mile road race held in King’s Park, 1962

In the 120 mile road race England's Wesley Mason flashed to the front with 200 yards to go and pip Tony Walsh to the finish, 1962.

7. In the 120 mile road race England’s Wesley Mason flashed to the front with 200 yards to go and pipped Tony Walsh to the finish, 1962

Aero bicycles and cycle racing in Western Australia, c1920s.

8. Aero bicycles and cycle racing in Western Australia, c1920s

 Photograph of a photograph of H. Fraser, Boulder Cycling Club 40 Mile Road Race Club Champion, 1906-1907

9. Photograph of a photograph of H. Fraser, Boulder Cycling Club 40 Mile Road Race Club Champion, 1906-1907

 10. Henk Vogels riding in the Armadale Classic Criterium, ca1992

10. Henk Vogels riding in the Armadale Classic Criterium, c1992

Click here to see these photographs and more on our catalogue.

Family trees now on Ancestry


Marcella Dillon nee Kavanagh (1849-1919) and extended family

Ancestry Library Edition has recently been updated and one of the big changes is that family trees and photographs submitted by the public are now available to view. This is a vast resource but please bear in mind that all sources need to be checked.

  • Nearly 40 million trees have been contributed by more than two million members. These members have indicated that their tree(s) can be viewed by all Ancestry members
  • The trees can change over time as users edit, remove, or otherwise modify the data in their trees
  • The trees in the Library Edition are read-only. Library patrons cannot edit the existing trees or add new trees
  • Information about living people is not shown. There are more than two billion nodes in the Public Member Trees database. A large percentage of the nodes are not for living people
  • Each Public Member Tree is owned by the individual who put it on
  • does not verify that any tree or fact is correct, nor will they correct or edit a tree
  • Library patrons will not have the ability to contact the owner of the tree
  • Library patrons can submit anonymous comments about any tree
  • There is no login for individual users of the Library Edition


Isn’t life on earth amazing!?

Wade Davis is a National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence and one of the world’s most respected advocates for life’s diversity in all its forms. We are excited to announce that we will be presenting an evening featuring Dr Davis on Tuesday 4 December 2012! Join us for a fascinating evening of weird and wonderful tales from his many experiences travelling and living with Indigenous tribes in some of the world’s most challenging environments. Don’t miss out, purchase your tickets online now!

State Library of Western Australia presents an evening with Wade Davis. For more information visit our website:

Inspired by Wade Davis’ upcoming visit, we invited State Library staff to share photographs showing the diversity of life on earth. We are really excited to share some of these photographs with you below. If you enjoy this post, please leave a comment below.

Photograph by Urszula Wiejowski. “Here comes the King of the Brotherhood of the Rooster with his entourage, proudly carrying a silver rooster. This Polish shooting society was founded in 13th century for the representatives of all guilds to help defending the country against numerous invaders. Members of the Brotherhood wear traditional Polish costumes to this day and add flair to major historical and religious events”.

Photograph by Urszula Wiejowski. “I didn’t travel far to take this photo. King’s Park this spring was full of colour and amazing plants. This is a close-up and all of the sudden an ordinarily looking plant displays all its beauty”.

Photograph by Frances Hammond. “King Penguins and me, Sandy Bay, Macquarie Island, Australia Day 1997”.

Photograph by Gemma Lyon. “This picture was taken in the Ngaanyatjarra Lands, just a little way out of Wingellina where the WA border meets the South Australian and Northern Territory borders”.

Photograph by David Kilroy. This pic was taken at the Rainbow Serpent Festival in Victoria in 2011. I’ve been lucky to have access to all areas as a Stage Manager and this allows me to get some great photos. Dance Culture is about fun and being involved. There is often spontaneous performance art which just adds to the party atmosphere.  I can’t remember who these guys are, but I just loved their outfits.

Photograph by Jocelyne Gaudet. “This photo was taken on my University trip to Thailand. As part of the tour we got to visit many schools and teach the local children (which was really interesting, given the language barrier). We also visited a local orphanage near Pataya (if memory serves). It was amazing to see children so excited and happy to see visitors despite their personal hardships”.

Photograph by Damien Webb. ” The Incredible Hulk Crocodile @ Wyndham. Hulkodile? Crocodulk?”

Photograph by Alanna Kusin. “This image was taken in Viterbo, Italy. It was so interesting seeing the streets of this usually bustling town completely silent as a lot of businesses had closed their doors for siesta. This was the only person we saw during siesta time there was this man”.

Photograph by Catherine Mulroney. “I was privileged to visit the Maldives in 2010, it was definitely a lesson in the diversity of life. As I was heading back to our boat after an incredible snorkeling trip on the edge of our atoll I was joined by this giant sea turtle. It was definitely one of the most incredible experiences of my life”.

Photograph by Cathy Kelso. “This is a photo from my trip to Iceland in March this year. We’d just been up looking at Solheimajokull (a glacier) and were trundling back to the tour bus with our guide when I saw this little plant growing in the ash and gravel. Such a surprising sight in all the ice”.

Photograph by Shelli Johnston. “Ubud: January 2011. A lady sweeping. This was outdoors at a monkey forest. I may have taken a lot of photos of sweeping and straw brooms. It fascinated me”.

Photograph by Sandra Papenfus. “Jasper in Canada”.

Photograph by Molly Tebo. “Dinner buddies. This lorikeet wanted to share the red panda’s dinner. I got this shot at Sydney’s Taronga Zoo some years ago”.

Photograph by Molly Tebo. “Stromatolites, formed by cyanobacteria, are one of the oldest records of life on earth. We are lucky to have some excellent examples at Hamelin pool, Shark bay. Learn more about them here:“.

Photograph by Pam Phelan. “This is the kelp farmer’s dog – King Island Bass Strait “.

Photograph by Karen de San Miguel. “Here’s a pic I took in Singapore a few years ago. I remember being amazing by the vivid colours I saw in Little India; incredible fabrics, saris, shop-fronts. Inspired me to cut loose with colour a bit more in my own life”.

Photograph by Liz Birkett. “This cheeky chap is a candle banksia (banksia attenuate). Candle banksias love the sandy coastal bushland around Perth. Noongar people made a sweet drink by soaking the flower spikes in water”.

Photograph by Mary Doyle. “Mrs Violet Hartnett, b1912”.

Photograph by Mary Doyle. “Tail end of a grasshopper”.

Photograph by Kate Akerman. “The temple was built in 1070 and was the Vietnam’s first university, (and probably library!) where scholars studied to pass exams to become administrators. The serene atmosphere of the temple and its gardens is a sharp contrast to the bustle of Hanoi’s street life. This was a favourite retreat of my father’s when he was living in Hanoi (1994 -2000) and was a (slightly surreal) dream come true to see his grandaughters walking the same pathways in 2012. The girls ready adaption to, and enjoyment of, the very different culture of Vietnam was a highlight of our journey”.

Photograph by John Geisjman. “A jellyfish at the Monterey Bay Aquarium”.

Photograph by John Geijsman. “A very odd looking Sea Lion at Pier 39 in San Francisco. Crazy party trick!”

There is, indeed, a fire burning over the earth, taking with it plants and animals, cultures, languages, ancient skills and visionary wisdom. Quelling this flame, and re-inventing the poetry of diversity is perhaps the most important challenge of our times.” – Wade Davis

Creating and Keeping your Digital Treasures

Do you know your JPEGs from your TIFFs and what exactly is OCR?

Almost all of us use digital media these days; from taking photographs with a digital camera to scanning documents. But what standards should we be using and how can we preserve our digital treasures for the future?

Creating and Keeping your Digital Treasures: a user guide  is filled with practical tips on capturing, organising and backing up your digital photographs, video footage, sound recordings and scanned documents. There is also a glossary of technical terms and links to other useful websites.

Beekeeping Display at Claremont Showgrounds

234470pd.jpgBeekeeping Display at Claremont Showgrounds

A photograph (234470PD) from the JS Battye Library Pictorial Collection of a beekeeping display at the Claremont Showgrounds in 1950.  The stall at the front has a banner advertising beekeeping demonstrations and honey sampling.  Posters on the fence proudly proclaim the “suns energy is in honey bringing health and happiness to you”.  The image has been made available by the Historical Records Rescue Consortium Project which was supported by Lotterywest.