Historical photos and maps

Historical photos and maps

Sydney's history captured

Find photos that illustrate Sydney’s history, from buildings and streets to the people who’ve played a role in creating the city. These combined resources contain millions of archival images of the city area and its daily life. Our online map collection provides a convenient cartographic history of the local area from the 19th century to recent times.

Image: Looking east along Bridge Street from near the corner of George Street. Circa 1900. City of Sydney Archives, SRC20094. 

ArchivePix  the City's photo archive

Home to more than 75,000 photographs (and counting), this online catalogue is easy to use and is a significant resource for anyone who wants to find images depicting all aspects of Sydney life.

Historical Atlas of Sydney

Sydney’s changing face mapped since the 1830s. Maps can be downloaded to identify smaller areas and further detail.

External resources

Australian Maritime Museum

This extensive photographic collection reflects Sydney’s historical connection to the sea and includes images lensed by leading Australian photographers. The museum also shares images on Flickr

National Library of Australia

Trove, the library’s online database, contains many different historical photographs and maps and is a powerful tool for research into the social sciences, literature, Australian and family history. 

Powerhouse Museum

More than 250,000 images make up the museum’s photo library, with photographs focusing on science, technology and design. Colour as well as black and white images are included.

Royal Australian Historical Society: Osborne Photograph Collection

Explore life in Sydney between the wars in this collection of 320 photographs from the early 1920s to the late 1930s. The photographer is unknown. The images can also be browsed on Flickr.

State Library of NSW

As one of the first institutions to collect photographs as documentary records, the State Library is now the custodian of more than 1 million images, including the earliest known Australian photograph taken in 1845. It also has a considerable number of maps and other media that stretch back to the First Fleet. Items can be searched at the State Library’s site as well as its Flickr page.

State Records

State Records manages the archives and historical records of NSW. Photo Investigator helps users access hundreds of thousands of photographs dating from the 19th century, and a selection of these images is shared on Flickr.

Sydney Living Museums Picture Catalogue

Search the pictures catalogue for paintings, drawings and photographs from the collections of all Sydney Living Museums’ properties including the forensic photography archive at the Justice and Police Museum. 

Last updated: Tuesday, 24 January 2017