In this Year of the Built Environment, PictureAustralia is celebrating Australia’s built heritage: from weatherboard cottages, to national icons such as the Sydney Opera House and the urban landscape of roads, bridges and parks.
PictureAustralia (www.pictureaustralia.org.au) is a collaborative service developed by the National Library of Australia in conjunction with other Australian cultural institutions such as libraries, archives, art galleries, museums and university collections. One search interface brings together over a million digitised photographs, artworks, artefacts, posters, hand-drawn maps and three-dimensional art such as sculpture. This virtual collection depicts the richness and diversity of Australia’s built heritage in many forms.The ability to view images from many online collections provides a wonderful opportunity for historians, curators, architects and urban planners to trace changes in the Australian landscapes. PictureAustralia has many images that illustrate the history of the Australian built environment: lighthouses perched on rugged coastlines, colonial sandstone buildings in our capital cities and images of 20th century Australian towns and cities depicting the growth of central business districts. There are images that trace the post-war suburban development of Australia: construction of shopping malls and cinema complexes, blocks of apartments and the archetypal brick veneer house. PictureAustralia has images of house plans (from the Brisbane City Library) and plans for public buildings, such as the Australian War Memorial, New South Wales Parliament and church buildings such as St Matthews, Windsor.
There are many iconic images of built Australia, such as traditional pubs with ornamental iron lacework of the early 20th century, modern 1960s interior decor of Melbourne hotels and trendy Sydney restaurants of the 1980s. PictureAustralia provides many examples of Australian architecture and design, notably over 700 images of Walter Burley Griffin’s works from the State Library of Victoria, the National Archives and the National Library of Australia. Marion Mahony Griffin’s designs of the Capitol Theatre in Melbourne are part of the National Library’s online image collection, also accessible on PictureAustralia.
There are over 100 images of Harry Seidler’s works on PictureAustralia, including those documenting the construction of the Australian embassy in Paris (State Library of New South Wales), Australia Square (State Library of Victoria) and Rose Seidler’s residence (Commonwealth Department of Environment and Heritage). Robin Boyd’s house in South Yarra, Melbourne is documented as well as other examples of his designs. Architect Philip Cox is represented through images of his mid-20th century churches and chapels which are part of the State Library of Victoria’s collections. Harold Desbrowe Annear, whom Robin Boyd referred to as one of the most important pioneers of modernist architecture in Australia, has a presence on the website, with images of his own house in Eaglemont, Victoria.
Check PictureAustralia’s website for the ‘Built Environment Trail’ http://www.pictureaustralia.org/trails_architecture.html, an easy to browse selection of images displaying some of the highlights of the collections. Other Architectural Trails available are, ‘Historic Public Buildings’, ‘Theatres and Concert Halls’ and ‘Lighthouses and Beacons’.
Images found on the PictureAustralia service may be reproduced for research or study. However, this does not include reproduction of this material on the Internet. The PictureAustralia service aims to provide reference images only – higher quality copies of images for either personal or commercial use can be ordered from the individual agencies contributing images to the PictureAustralia service. Ordering information and contact details are available on our website at: http://www.pictureaustralia.org/ordering.html
An administration fee may be charged to cover the costs of the reproduction service. The average cost for high resolution images range from $35-$40, depending on the agency that owns the original image.
If you would like more information about PictureAustralia, please contact the Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org or ring (02) 6262 1641.