Local History Research Station (NEW!)

Calling all Local History and Family History Researchers….

The South Perth Library now has a dedicated computer in our little local history nook that is especially geared towards assisting you in your research.


The new machine has custom links that provide quick access to material from the City of South Perth’s Local History Collection, as well as additional online resources from the State Library of Western Australia, the W.A. Genealogical Society, the National Library’s Trove, and many many others.

And of course we haven’t forgotten about Ancestry and Find My Past! (though of course, these resources are also accessible from any machine at the South Perth and Manning Libraries).


So visit the South Perth Library today to reserve or hop on to the Local History Research machine, and hopefully discover much much more about your ancestors and local area!


Available for loan

Pop into the Local History section at South Perth Library and pick up some interesting reading material…. (or reserve on our system for pick up at the Manning Library!)

Royal Perth : a history of golf in Australia’s west from 1895 to 2008 / Phillip Pendal.

Royal Perth by Phillip PendalTraces the Royal Perth Golf Club’s beginnings at its foundation meeting at Government House and the game’s establishment on Burswood Island in 1895. The story weaves its way through the trials encountered on a site which today boasts a major race course and the nearby Burswood International Casino.

Timeline : Town of Victoria Park [2nd ed., 2007] / compiled by Lindsay Hunter.

Timeline Town of Victoria ParkIn its 2nd edition, the development of the Town of Victoria Park’s time line is an on-going project.

Find out about the early history of the town, starting from 35,000 B.C. and covering significant events in the Town up until December 2006.

This edition has focused on covering the time period of the first Council from 1894 to 1917.

The life and times of Norma J Moran (nee Russell) : Part 1 1829-1946 / Norma Joyce Moran.

NormaMoranRead the first part of the unpublished memoirs of long-time South Perth resident, Norma Joyce Moran.

It tells of the ancestors of Norma J. Moran (nee Russell) from the time they arrived in the Swan River Colony.

A beautifully presented family history publication, Norma has researched widely and includes photographs and other visual material to supplement her information throughout.

Find My Past

The South Perth and Manning Libraries recently subscribed to Find My Past, one of the leading online genealogy resources, giving access to billions of family history records online.

We have three different subscriptions:  

Australian Edition: http://www.findmypast.com.au
over 50 million family history records for Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and the Pacific Islands.

UK Edition:
billions of records from Britain including England, Scotland and Wales


Irish Edition:
millions of exclusive records from all the major players in Irish genealogy, such as the National Archives of Ireland and the National Library of Ireland.

 So if you think you’ve exhausted all your searching on Ancestry.com or you’re interested in getting started on researching your family history, come into one of our libraries and visit those links from any computer or ask one of our library officers for assistance…

What’s in a name?… Manning

The suburb of Manning is named after the Manning family, who were major land holders and businessmen in the Swan River Colony. In 1840, Henry Lucius Manning purchased several large land holdings in the colony, amongst which was the area around Mount Henry in present day Salter Point.

Mannings’ estate was Canning Location 37 which comprised a large rural property of 1, 386 acres along the Canning River, bounded by Henley Street, south to Mount Henry and east to Clontarf. Canning Location 37 was originally allocated to Thomas Middleton on 3 December 1830 and it is believed that the Middleton family resided on the property until at least 1870.

Lucius Alexander Manning of Fremantle acquired the property in 1886 and by 1913 the Manning family had subdivided the estate into several large lots. Henry Lucius Manning was an absentee landowner who made no use of the large area of native bushland, but his descendants profited from its gradual sale.

The first of the land was subdivided in May 1913, in the vicinity of Canning Bridge. The estate was held by various members of the family until much was resumed by the State Government in 1948 for development by the State Housing Commission as a ‘model suburb’.

The suburb was originally named Manning Park, with ‘Park’ being deleted in 1955. Other neighbouring suburbs such as Victoria Park retained the descriptive title.

Did you know that there is a library in Manning? You can find the building and its awesome and friendly staff on Manning Road. Get borrowing or become a member today!

Manning Library after construction 1964

Information taken from Appendix to City of South Perth Municipal Heritage Inventory : Origin and Meaning of Street and Place Names.

Aunt Bessie’s photo collection is a mess!

I’m sure we all have a nice pile of photographs that Aunt Bessie left us and the who, what, where, when and why is a mystery.

So I thought I would share some basic information that might get your brain ticking and thinking about your photographs in a new light and maybe some ‘bingo!’ moments will happen! So how can you date photographs?

Photograph types

Daguerrotpyes (1840-1855) – The person or their family would have been very affluent to have a daguerrotype made. They are generally housed in a small leather case and lined with velvet. The image is a direct positive made in the camera on a silver plated copper or brass plate.

Ambrotypes (1851-1880) – This form was cheaper to produce than dageurrotypes, making photographs more accessible to those not as well off. The image is a positive made in the camera on a sheet of glass using the wet plate collodion process. It did not have the shiny metallic surface of the daguerrotype. 

Tintypes (1860-1918) – Even cheaper than ambrotypes. The base was an iron plate and also used the wet plate collodion process.

Carte de visite (1860-1899) – Paper picture mounted on card, generally 4″ x 2.5″. On the reverse the photographers details were usually found.

Cabinet cards (1866-1914) – Paper picture mounted on the photographers trade card.

Tips for dating photographs

  • Look at the ‘types’, as above – This may give you an indication of the date range of the photograph.
  • Look at the periphery of the photograph – What is the story behind the photograph? What significant world events may have been happening at the time? Could it have been someones birthday? Is it at a house that you can remember from your childhood? Are there any small clues that could point you towards understanding the bigger picture?
  • Are there any details of the photographer on the photograph? – You can check local telephone directories to work out when the photographers business was operational and this in turn can give your photograph a date range.
  • Look at the styles, conventions and fashions of the photograph – there are lots of photography books that outline what was in vogue and when in photography circles throughout the ages. Check out call no. 770 in the adult non-fiction and local history collections at your library to see if there are any related titles.
  • Get talking with your family members! Who knows what information they might have squirreled away!

As you begin to discover information about your photographs you should be recording everything onto a piece of paper or in a word document. Assign your photograph a number (pencil it on the reverse in the top right hand corner) and also put this number onto the document on which you are recording your information. Store all your photographs together and in order and create a  file for your documentation (again in order) so you can easily cross reference your photograph with any documentation that you have created and vice versa.

That’s just the icing on the cake….then you have to think about whether you will create multiple collections from your photographs, how to store them correctly and in housing of archival standards, how you will choose to mount them, where you will store them at your home, where to go if you want photographs restored, making sure that you don’t store certain negatives and photographs together due to the effects they may have on each other…

In short…if you are going to embark on sorting through Aunt Bessie’s photo collection, think about the bigger picture and plan wisely. It’s not a hard or expensive project to undertake. It just requires some thought, time, patience and dedication. The State Library often have free workshops that are a great starting point for those interested in this kind of thing. Check out http://www.slwa.wa.gov.au or contact heritage@southperth.wa.gov.au for more information.

We’ve come a long way….

Libraries have developed and changed considerably over the years in terms of their purpose, functionality and the technology used to operate them (to name a few!)…

Check out these photos of Manning Library from the mid 1960’s…hello card catalogues! To think 50 years later and the facilities that the South Perth Library service and its members have access to now…we really have come a long way!