View of Robeson Street, West Preston, 1944.
Image: Roy Leibig
Source: Museum Victoria
Question: I’m doing some research on Preston for a project on the history of the suburb. I was wondering if you have any historic images of the area and its inhabitants that I could use for this?
Answer: Melbourne Museum has a large collection of photographs that cover 140 years of the history of the city from 1860s to the present. One of the best places to start researching historic images of Melbourne’s suburbs and people are our photographic collections, the Biggest Family Album in Australia and Melbourne’s Biggest Family Album. These contain copies of photographs supplied by members of the public from their private collections, accompanied by personal stories about the images and their histories. Together, they have over 10,000 photographs, dating from the 1860s to the 2006, that depict Australia’s cities, suburbs, landscapes and people.
Preston is just one of the suburbs of which we have a number of images (over 30 online) ranging from the late 1800s to the early 1980s.The photos of the suburb seen here are a great example of the variety of subjects that are found in photos in these collections: including shops, streets, technology, clothing, activities, games, cars, architecture, landscapes, and ordinary people engaged in everyday activities.
The images in these collections can be utilised by many different people for a range of reasons. Family history researchers find them valuable, as do professional historians researching specific aspects of Australian history. Students are encouraged to use the collections and there are a variety of activity sheets and themes that they can explore. Other museums, libraries and similar institutions use the images for exhibitions and some have been published in books and magazines.
The collections are searchable on the Museum Victoria website and allow you to research particular topics of interest. It may also be possible for photos from the collection to be used or reproduced for a personal project, exhibition, publication or other purposes. Guidelines regarding requests such as these can be found on the Discovery Centre webpage.
For further research on historic images, there are many other online resources to explore courtesy of libraries, archives, museums and other public and private collections (see links to the right).
Whether you are a professional historian, researching your family history, a student, or just fascinated by historic photographs, the images in our collections are a fantastic resource for anyone interested in the history of Melbourne and Australia.