About OldPerth

You can follow OldPerth on Facebook or Twitter to receive occasional updates about OldPerth and the Curtin HIVE.

The OldPerth site provides an alternative way of browsing the State Library of Western Australia's incredible historic photographic collection of Perth and the state of Western Australia. Its goal is to help you discover the history behind the places you see every day.

And, there's a good chance you'll even discover something about Perth's rich past that you never knew before!

Curriculum-Linked Lesson Plans

The State Library's Education Team has prepared curriculum linked lesson plans for use in Year 5 and Year 8 classes so that teachers can use OldPerth in the classroom to help students can learn more about the history of our great city.
The lesson plans are available at: https://exhibitions.slwa.wa.gov.au/s/oldperth/page/intro

How can you help?

* What is the correct address/location information to enter? 

(A) Please enter the current street number and address for the location shown in the image.  Street names and numbering sometimes change, and sometimes street numbers are consolidated as a big building is built across what was multiple smaller blocks. The street address that we would like you to enter is the current number and street name for that location today, not a historical number or name.  We usually use the Landgate Mapviewer Plus website to validate the current street number and name.  We encourage you to do the same, but it is not absolutely required. 
(B) If the image shows multiple locations in the one image, we suggest you choose the most prominent building or landmark in the image, or perhaps the building in the very centre of the image, and provide the address of that. 
(C) If the image is of a building within a megablock, just enter the address of the validated megablock.  e.g. the State Library of Western Australia Alexander Library Building is located within the Cultural Centre mega-block which has the address of “51 James Street, Perth” – obtained from Landgate Mapviewer Plus. At a later date we would like to divide images down to individual building level when they are located within mega-blocks such as the Perth Cultural Centre, but that will be a later task.
(D) If the image is an aerial image (e.g. photographed from a plane or tall building) there might be thousands of addresses visible in that one image.  In that case, choose a prominent landmark in the central-foreground of the image and enter that address.  Please also tick the “AERIAL IMAGE” check-box in the form.  We may treat these images differently in the future.

Where did these images come from?

The images all come from the State Library of Western Australia (SLWA)..

The Library retains the copyright for many of these images. For details, please read their Policies page.

The creators of this site did not collect or digitise any of these images — credit for that massive undertaking belongs entirely to the State Library of Western Australia.

Who built this site?

The OldPerth site was built by the team at the Curtin University HIVE including Max Collins, Kira Molloy, Wesley Lamont, Susannah Soon, Mark Shelton, William Olman, Joshua Hollick and Andrew Woods with support from staff at SLWA including Debra Jones, Susan McEwan, Kate Akerman, Molly Tebo, and Charles Hayne. OldPerth was developed based on code available on GitHub for the OldNYC website by @danvdk, @ravejk and @mdezube. Assistance for the OldNYC website from the New York Public Library (NYPL) came from @riordan, @mgiraldo, @mattknutzen and the whole @nypl_labs team.

What's the story of this project?

The OldPerth project has evolved from several years of collaboration between the State Library of Western Australia and the Curtin University HIVE.  The State Library of Western Australia has an amazing collection of materials documenting the history of Perth and the wider state of Western Australia.  The long collaboration between Curtin University and SLWA have mainly focused on exploring ways of gaining added value from the massive photographic collection and developing new techniques to make that collection more accessible to researchers, practitioners and the general public.

Several years ago, @danvdk created OldSF using a collection of imagery from the San Francisco Public Library (SFPL). What with the nature of engineering projects, by the time he published it, he'd already moved from San Francisco to New York City. Extending the project to his new home seemed like a great idea. He met with @mattknutzen, who introduced him to the Milstein collection. It seemed like a perfect fit! After about 18 months of on-again off-again effort, the OldNYC site was ready for launch.

What does this site do?

The site aims to associate street addresses and subsequently latitudes and longitudes to the photographic images in the collection. This process is known as geocoding. Doing this allows the images to be placed at points on a map, which enables new ways for users to explore the photographic collection.

The OldPerth project uses three methods of parsing the text-based metadata attached to each photographic record to extract a street address for that image implemented in a package we call LibClean.  The OldPerth site also includes a way for users to provide feedback and correction information for images that might have been incorrectly geocoded.  Users are also offered the opportunity to help identify the location of unidentified images.  Using these techniques it is intended that the quality and extent of the location data will gradually improve thanks to the efforts of its users and supporters.

For more information:

You can see the launch video for the OldPerth website here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fNCDa03PKbg

You can hear more about OldPerth at the Heritage Perth Weekend public presentation on 16 April 2021.
Register here: OldPerth.org.au/hpw    

If you’re interested in background information about the OldPerth geocoding process, you can watch this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dcLY7FFRzQo

If you're more technically minded, you can find the source code for OldNYC on github.  The source code for OldPerth and LibClean is also available: https://github.com/maxcollins1999/LibClean

OldPerth is a joint project of the Curtin University HIVE and the State Library of Western Australia.

You can share your enjoyment of the OldPerth site by pointing people to OldPerth.org.au