Western Australian Museum Archive Collection

Identity area



Authorized form of name

Western Australian Museum Archive Collection

Parallel form(s) of name

Other form(s) of name


  • State

Contact area





Street address

49 Kew Street, Welshpool




Western Australia

Country name

Postal code



08 9212 3773



Description area


The Western Australian Museum's archive collection, located in the Library, documents the history of the museum. It also contains documents created and received by the Museum since its development from the collections of the Swan River Mechanics Institute (founded in 1860) and the Geological Museum at Fremantle (started in 1881) up until 1970.

The Library itself, specialises in providing materials on the following topics: zoology; earth sciences; Australian history, anthropology and archaeology; maritime archaeology; materials conservation; and museology. The Library features over 750 books published prior to 1900, together with scientific journals dating from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and many 19th century reprints. Rare books include volumes of natural history, Australian Aboriginal studies and accounts of European discovery and exploration of Australia.

Geographical and cultural context

Mandates/Sources of authority

Administrative structure

Officer in charge: Librarian

Records management and collecting policies



The archive includes:

  • Personal papers and field notes of former staff and papers of a few notable individuals without formal Museum affiliation.
  • Documents created and received by the Museum since its development from the collections of the Swan River Mechanics Institute (founded in 1860) and the Geological Museum at Fremantle (started in 1881) up until 1970.
  • Correspondence of early Museum directors, for example, the letter books of Bernard Woodward, 1895-1915.
  • Papers relating to the history and conservation of present and past Museum buildings, for example, the Old Perth Gaol.
  • Press Clippings, 1889-1909: A separate fully searchable database contains the full-text of items contained in the Museum's scrapbooks of late 19th and early 20th century newspaper articles. Many of the earlier clippings reflect the Museum's origins as a geological museum and are primarily concerned with a geological perspective of Western Australia's exploration and development. Later articles concentrate on the museum's development and role in society, with specific regard to collections and expansion.

Finding aids, guides and publications

Most items in the Museum’s archives are not fully indexed, however, the development of the archives database is ongoing. Summaries and the indexing of key names are being added on a regular basis.

Access area

Opening times

Open by appointment. Please phone, email or fax to arrange a suitable time.

Access conditions and requirements

Material can be viewed by appointment. Please email requests for access to the Librarian, together with your details, the items you wish to view and an outline of the research being undertaken.


Services area

Research services

Reference assistance is provided to those wanting to make an appointment.

Reproduction services

No copying services available.

Public areas

Control area

Description identifier

Institution identifier

Rules and/or conventions used


Level of detail

Dates of creation, revision and deletion

Revised 11 October 2021




Maintenance notes

Access points

Access Points

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders (Thematic area)
  • Arts and Culture (Thematic area)
  • Environment (Thematic area)
  • Indigenous (Thematic area)
  • Natural Resources (Thematic area)
  • Science and Technology (Thematic area)
  • Clipboard

Primary contact

49 Kew Street, Welshpool
Perth, Western Australia 6106