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Historical Panoramas project further opens window on Perth’s past

Media release

An award-winning Curtin University research project has expanded and enhanced its online collection of interactive images of historical views of Perth and Fremantle to provide an even more stunning insight into how the cities have changed over the past 150 years.

A before and after comparison of the Perth Town Hall Tower in 1863 to 2019

Recognised at the 2017 Western Australian Heritage Awards, the Historical Panoramas collaboration between Curtin’s HIVE (Hub for Immersive Visualisation and eResearch) and the State Library of Western Australia showcases images of Perth and Fremantle’s past, bringing them to life alongside photos of today.

Project Supervisor and Curtin HIVE Manager Dr Andrew Woods said the project’s website had more than doubled in size and now featured more than thirty new or updated wide-angle panoramic views of Perth and Fremantle – dating as far back as 1858.

“Historical Panoramas provides a unique insight into what Perth and Fremantle were like as far back in time as the early settlement days,” Dr Woods said.

“The interactive website allows people to zoom in to see amazing details, pan around wide vistas, fade between years of the same view, and jump between 20 different locations to see how the landscapes have changed over the decades – the time-lapse effect is quite remarkable.

“Highlights of the new site include the view from the Perth Town Hall tower, which has been upgraded to a full 360 degree view as seen in 1885, 1906, 1925 and 2016, and there is now a 360 degree view from the tower of the Fremantle Town Hall with overlays of how the city looked in 1891, 1899, 1913, 1970, 1973 and 2017.”

State Library of Western Australia State Librarian Margaret Allen said the partnership with Curtin’s HIVE was part of the State Library’s efforts to collect, preserve and share WA’s stories.

“It is no good having literally millions of fantastic photos just sitting on shelves – we need to bring those photos into the light for the people of Western Australia to see and Historical Panoramas does this in a spectacular and engaging format,” Ms Allen said.

“This is an important initiative because it brings history to life and in a very real way connects the past with the now.”

Originally launched in 2016, the Historical Panoramas project was awarded a Commendation in the Interpretation Project category of the 2017 Western Australian Heritage Awards, and received a framed certificate and an engraved medallion from The Perth Mint in recognition of its contribution to Western Australia’s heritage.

More information on the Historical Panoramas project can be found at: http://www.historicalpanoramas.com.au/