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Fairfax Donates Historic Photographs To National Library

Historic photographs of Australia’s early federal history have been donated to the National Library and will soon be made available online.

The Minister for the Arts, Simon Crean, announced today that the donation by Fairfax Media is to be supported by $425,000 of funding to the National Library of Australia to enbale the storage, cataloguing and digitisation of the collection.

The collection consists of 12,000 glass-plate negatives, the majority of which cover events from 1900 to 1930, including the departure of troops for World War I and the opening of the first parliament.

Text of media release from Minister for the Arts, Simon Crean.

Historic photo collection about to go digital

Twelve thousand photographs of key events in Australia’s early history—the entirety of Fairfax Media’s collection of historic glass-plate negatives have been donated to the National Library of Australia and will soon be available online.

Chair of the National Library of Australia Ryan Stokes today accepted the donation at a ceremony at Fairfax Media head office in Sydney.

Arts Minister Simon Crean said the extraordinary collection tells the Australian story through photographs.

“If a picture paints a thousand words, then Fairfax Media has painted hundreds of thousands with this collection,” Mr Crean said.

“This photographic collection will become a treasured and comprehensive visual record of key events in Australia’s early history.

“The majority of the collection covers events from 1900 to 1930 including the departure of troops for World War I, peace celebrations in Sydney, the opening of the first parliament, royal visits, early sporting heroes, including a large negative of Phar Lap, and early aviation.

“The collection will be made accessible within Australia and internationally through the Library’s website and Trove, the Library’s national discovery service. It will also be accessible through search engines like Google.

“The collection will become an invaluable resource for Australian researchers, historians, and the Australian public.”

Previously stored, and managed by Fairfax Media, the collection has been donated to the National Library of Australia to ensure the long term care of the collection, and to make the collection accessible to all Australians.

“The Australian Government is proud to have supported the donation with $425,500 in funding to the National Library of Australia through the National Cultural Heritage Account, to enable the Library to safely store, catalogue and digitise the collection,” Mr Crean said.

Mr Crean thanked Fairfax Media for its generous donation noting that the safekeeping of the collection is now guaranteed in perpetuity for the Australian people.

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