Historical images

Historical images

Picture this

City of Sydney Archives is responsible for managing a collection of more than 100,000 archival photographs and other images of the local area. So far we have digitised about 75,000 of them.

More photographs are added every month. However, some photographic records series and collections are only selectively represented.

Most photos date from between 1900 and the present day. They include photographs:

  • taken by council agencies as part of their business activities
  • captured for the Sydney Festival
  • donated by the public
  • occasionally purchased because they are of exceptional quality and relevance to the collection.

The archival collections document the City’s built environment – from public spaces to the council’s buildings, activities and services.

Learn more about searching for and obtaining images by visiting our ArchivePix collection.

Sydney in the early 20th century

Photographs of Sydney from the interwar years donated to the City of Sydney Archives unveil a rarely seen side of the city.

The captures of earlier Sydney life come from Adam Forrest Grant, who lensed local scenes from the 1920s to the 1940s.

Working as a City electrical engineer from 1908 until he passed away in 1948, Mr Grant was a member of the Photographic Society of NSW and friends with Harold Cazneaux, a noted Australian photographer.

Mr Grant’s family gifted the photos to the people of Sydney in 2013.

Some of his work can be viewed in the gallery below.

To see more of the collection, visit ArchivePix and search for Adam Forrest Grant.

Photo credit: City of Sydney Archives.

Last updated: Tuesday, 4 December 2012