Historical photographs

The collection

Our collection of over 550 photographs, the oldest dating from the 1860s, depicts the early history and settlement of Queensland. It comprises photographs taken by state government photographers, donations from private collections, and photographs from the John Oxley historical archive.

Examples of images from the collection include:

  • Brisbane
  • regional centres (e.g. Allora, Bundaberg, Cairns, Charters Towers, Cooktown, Maryborough, Mt. Morgan, Toowoomba, Townsville and Warwick)
  • rural scenes (e.g. pioneer men and women, horse-drawn harvesting and threshing machines, bullock teams).

The photographs were mostly captured on 8 inch x 10 inch (203mm x 254mm) glass plate negatives which have been copied to film then digitised to ensure preservation of the original negatives.



  • The historical photograph collection on CD, which includes digital images scanned at 75 dpi in JPG format with details of the locations and subjects, is available for fee 6114.
  • Mapping and surveying images, which are available as digital copy and include surveying instruments, mapping instruments and photographic equipment are available for fee 35039.

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