Photographs are tangible and direct links with the past. Each image is an intriguing record of technological, social and artistic change.
The State Library was one of the first institutions to collect photographs as documentary records. The collection, of over one million images, ranges from historical subjects, including the earliest known photograph taken in Australia (an 1845 daguerreotype of Dr William Bland), to modern digital photographs.
Dr William Bland, an ex-convict, was a prominent surgeon, humanitarian, social reformer and inventor.
Sydney Exposed takes the first step in providing an online gateway to thousands of images highlighting the history and changing nature of Sydney, Australia's first and largest metropolis.
From 1872 to 1875, Bernard Otto Holtermann, a successful gold miner and merchant, commissioned Beaufoy Merlin and Charles Bayliss of the American & Australasian Photographic Company to document towns in New South Wales and Victoria.
In 1966, the family of Arthur Wigram Allen donated 51 albums of his photographs to the Library. Allen had recorded his family and surroundings between 1890 and 1934 with 10,000 black and white photographs.