In Photos: Family Life in Turn-of-the-Century Australia

Shaunacy Ferro

Between 1985 and 1991, Australia’s Museum Victoria set about archiving a record of life in Australia’s southeastern state in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The project, called the Biggest Family Album in Australia, collected snapshots taken by amateur photographers across the state, including in rural areas, from 1890 to the 1940s. 

Over the course of six years, two museum staffers visited various regional locations across the state for two weeks at a time, copying family photographs that they thought contained some kind of valuable information about the people who lived there, their home and work lives, or the local architecture. The state ended up with 9000 copies of images that provide a historic archive of everyday life, as seen through the lenses of regular citizens who snapped photos of their friends and families.

The photos include family portraits, backyard memories, carefully arranged photos of public gatherings, images of farmers and ranchers at work, and shots of beloved dogs, birds, horses, buggies, and cars. Check out a few photos from the historic collection, released online and in the public domain, below: 

[h/t: Public Domain Review]

All images via Museum Victoria // Public Domain