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Western Australian stories & history

The stories of Western Australia can be found in our archival material, maps, oral history and published books.

Alexander McCallum Collection

Alex McCallum (1877-1937) was a Labor politician (Member for Fremantle), General Secretary of the Australian Labour Federation, and Director of the Westralian Worker.  He was elected to the WA Parliament in 1921, held several ministerial portfolios, and served as Deputy Premier until 1935. His ministerial portfolios gave him opportunity to travel extensively in Western Australia during the 1920s-1930s, and photographs in the collection document these travels. The collection also captures his hobbies, farming interests and family life.

This large collection of papers includes newspaper cuttings, souvenirs of the centenary of the cities of Fremantle and Perth, invitations from the Royal Visits of 1927 and 1934, a post card collection and many photographs taken in Western Australian, interstate and overseas, from 1913 to 1934.

Map of south-west Australia

Our published collection includes stories of Western Australia dating from 1847. The collection encompasses the development of towns, cities and suburbs following the establishment of the Swan River Settlement.

With a strong focus on the history of mining and geological exploration we have a significant collection of material which was part of the West Australian School of Mines library, established in Kalgoorlie in 1902, including a large collection of maps.

Oral history

Among our collections are some unique items of interest to researchers of social and family history. Our archival collections originally developed around the life and times of John Curtin and his contemporaries. On this theme, the library has acquired around 140 oral history interview recordings and transcripts.

Australian Workers Union membership lists and rolls

The AWU records include membership lists and other records that are useful in locating information about members.

The Shareholder’s register is a valuable document which includes details of the occupation and address for several hundred shareholders who subscribed to The Peoples’ Printing and Publishing Company between 1910 and 1922. Shareholders included union members in Western Australia, and their family members.

These are not yet digitised and must be viewed in person. To request access contact the JCPML.