The Victorian Government has been taking photographs of people and places since the very early days of photography itself. From mug shots to landscapes to crime scenes, photographs record the activities and memories of Government at all levels.
Our major photographic collections were created by the large State-owned utilities including the Victorian Railways, the Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works, the Melbourne Harbour Trust, and many other agencies. Details on how to access these larger collections can be found on the topic pages linked below but please note this is only a fraction of the photos in our collection.
As well as distinct collections, photographs can be found throughout our records, in correspondence files, court cases and patient reports. You can see examples of photographs from different collections in our Flickr photostream, which might help you identify the right collections to look in.
What do I need to know before I start?
Original photographs are fragile and require special care in storage and handling. If you are ordering original photographs to look at we will usually need to bring these out of cold storage, and they need 24 hours to adjust to warmer conditions before they can be viewed.
View online or at the Reading Room?
Look for the icons below to identify if records are viewable online (mouse over globe) or need to be ordered online and then viewed at our Reading Rooms (open book):
Look for these icons to:
Material in the Public Record Office Victoria archival collection contains words and descriptions that reflect attitudes and government policies at different times which may be insensitive and upsetting
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples should be aware the collection and website may contain images, voices and names of deceased persons.
PROV provides advice to researchers wishing to access, publish or re-use records about Aboriginal Peoples