The City of Perth History Centre is dedicated to collecting and preserving items relating to the City’s history. The collection ranges from Aboriginal occupation and the early days of European settlement to the present.
Phone: 1300 843 542 (or 1300 THE LIBRARY)
Ours is a Reference Collection. Items are not available for loan, but you are able to access all of the Collection by appointment during Library opening hours. Many of our items are rare and irreplaceable. If you have access to these, we request that you use the utmost care.
Our quite extensive photographic collection dates back to the mid-19th century and covers many aspects of social and working life in the City, including town planning, streetscapes, road and park developments and civic functions.
If you have photographs taken in the City of Perth area, of people, buildings or events, please consider whether you would like the History Centre to include them or copies in our Collection.
Ephemera is any single sheet or single document which is meant to be thrown away after use. Items collected in the History Centre include: trade cards, bookmarks, greeting cards, postcards, pamphlets, posters, tickets, theatre tickets, theatre programs.
If you would like to donate any ephemera to the History Centre please contact History Centre staff.
Caring for your collection
Books, Photographs and Works on Paper
Works on paper generally refer to flat (as opposed to bound) paper materials, including documents, manuscripts, drawings, prints, posters, and maps. Some basic measures to take:
- Have clean hands and a clean work area
- Keep food and drink away
- Use a pencil, not ink, to make any necessary marks or inscriptions; in addition, only make inscriptions when the paper is on a clean, hard surface, to avoid embossing the inscription into the paper, which will be visible from the other side
- Do not mark your photographs, place them in acid free albums with paper inserts that you can describe what the photograph is about and what is in the image.
- Don’t use paper clips, other fasteners, "dog ear" folding to mark or organise leaves.
- Don’t use rubber bands, self-adhesive tape, and/or glue on paper.
- When removing a book from the shelf grip it on both sides of the spine at the middle of the book (push in the neighbouring book on both sides to get a good grip). Do not tug at the top of the spine.
- Do not force a book to lie open to 180 degrees; instead, prop up the covers of an opened book to decrease the opening angle.
Storage of books, photographs and works on paper
Good storage significantly prolongs the preservation of paper materials. A few points for you to consider:
- A cool (room temperature or below), relatively dry (about 35% relative humidity), clean, and stable environment (avoid attics, basements, outdoor sheds and other locations with a high risk of leaks and environmental extremes)
- Minimal exposure to all kinds of light; no exposure to direct or intense light
- Distance from radiators and vents
- Supportive protective enclosures such as sheet protectors. This will help to stop acidic paper from migrating into other works on paper in your collection
- Use acid free albums in a size to suit the size of the photograph
- For oversized papers do not leave folded, store flat or rolled in a cylinder
Sections of the collection are in the process of being digitised so that information is more readily available from the Library website. This is an ongoing project which will take many years to complete.
Photographic streetscape project
Our City streets are changing very quickly and have been changing for many years. A photographer has been photographing each street to record these changes and will photograph again in five years from the same position.
If you have a photograph that you think would fit this project, showing the streets as they were, and would like to make a copy available for inclusion in the Collection, please contact the History Centre staff.
Oral history interviews
The Oral History collection captures the voice in the telling of the City’s story, focusing on the CBD and retailers. Recordings also include former Lord Mayors and City of Perth staff.
This collection of recorded interviews continues to expand and includes memories of people living, working and playing in the City areas. Memories recorded so far include Aboriginal people’s stories, entertainment, shopping, and the changing landscape of Perth.
These interviews are an invaluable source of information when it comes to accessing the social history of the City of Perth municipal boundaries.
If you have a story to tell and would like to be part of the City of Perth’s written history please consider contacting the History Centre team.
To obtain a copy of the publication City of Light: A History of Perth Since the 1950s by Jenny Gregory please call the History Centre on 08 9461 3510.
Can you help?
The History Centre collects information relating to the City of Perth municipal boundaries. Have you considered making your memorabilia or other information relating to the history of the City available to the History Centre Collection? You might have theatre tickets, concert tickets or your very first bus ticket that you want to place in a safe place. These types of items are relevant to our City's history. Please contact us if you are willing to donate or have copies made of your material.
History Centre staff profiles
Jenna has been working in Local History Collections since 2008. Her role in the History Centre is to develop and deliver programs, training, exhibitions and workshops pertaining to the City's Cultural Heritage. She engages with a wide range of audiences and customers who access the City's cultural heritage.
Stewart commenced with the City of Perth in October 2013. His role is to assist in the collection, management, preservation and promotion of the cultural heritage of the City, and make this cultural heritage information available and accessible to members of the community.
Emily commenced with the History Centre in January 2017. Her role is to provide customer service and to preserve and maintain the History Centre Collection, with an emphasis on making the posters, ephemera and reports collections accessible. She enjoys getting out and about collecting flyers, brochures and anything which will tell a story of what our society is doing now for the benefit of the future.
David commenced with the History Centre in January 2017, and has a wide range of experience working for the State Records Office of WA and State Library of Western Australia. His role is to provide customer service and to preserve and maintain the History Centre Collection. His focus is on cataloguing and indexing material to make this cultural heritage accessible to the community.