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Perth’s visual past on show at Curtin/State Library initiative- OldPerth

Media release

They say a picture is worth a thousand words – and if that holds true, an enormous amount of history will be told through the new OldPerth website, developed by the Curtin University HIVE in collaboration with the State Library of Western Australia.

Perth CBD - old and new

Launching today, the OldPerth website allows visitors to easily navigate and browse thousands of historical photographs of Perth and Western Australia, some dating back to the 1860s.

Associate Professor Andrew Woods, Manager of the Curtin HIVE (Hub for Immersive Visualisation and eResearch), said over 10,000 images from the past have been geo-located and displayed in a mapping interface, allowing users to click on individual pin-points, bringing up one or several images from that particular location, providing a glimpse into the past.

“Say for example you would like to see what the architecture along St Georges Terrace looked like in the early 1900s; visit Government House in the 1860s or see some of the events that have taken place at popular Perth venues such as the Perth Entertainment Centre or the Capitol Theatre; this interactive website allows you to do just that,” Associate Professor Woods said.

“Currently most of the mapped images are centred around the Perth CBD and Northbridge, but we also have images across the metropolitan area and the state.

“With so much development happening over the years across Perth, the CBD in particular, this website is a great way to see how the city’s past has transitioned to the present, including being able to ‘visit’ some of the historical buildings that are no longer standing.”

Margaret Allen, CEO of the State Library of Western Australia and State Librarian explained the collection of images reveals old shop displays, building signage from long lost names such as Boans and Foy & Gibson, plus historical marches and public events on The Esplanade.

“A really interesting image we have is of the band Queen visiting the 6PM radio studios, now known as hit92.9, on Rokeby Road in Subiaco, in 1976.  It’s a great photo of Freddie Mercury, Brian May and fellow band members being interviewed on-air,” Ms Allen said.

“We also have images that look back at the electric trams that traversed Perth’s streets from 1899 to 1956, and an old shop window displaying Kolynos dental cream in 1930, plus much, much more.

“We invite everyone to take a trip down memory lane through the OldPerth website to not only remember and reflect, but help share with younger generations the wonderfully rich visual history of Perth over the past 160 years.”

The State Library have also developed lesson plans to help teachers use the OldPerth website with Year 5 and Year 8 students.

The OldPerth website can be accessed online at