History Great Southern - Kaartdijin Biddi Albany


The Albany History Collection (AHC) was established in the 1980s to collect historical information on Albany and the surrounding regions and has since become one of Western Australia's leading local history collections.

In 2024, the collection was renamed to History Great Southern – Kaartdijin Biddi Albany. This change acknowledges the cultural significance of Albany’s First Nations people, complements the City’s Restoring Menang Noongar Place Names Project, and more accurately reflects the broad scope of the Collection. Kaartdijin Biddi translates to ‘pathway to knowledge or learning’.

History Great Southern – Kaartdijin Biddi Albany contains all types of documentary information - books, pamphlets, journals, newspapers, maps, photographs, private archives, oral histories, films and birth, death and marriage registers. These are stored in a variety of formats, including microfilm and CD-ROM.

There is a Reading Room for public access to the collection and some of the information is available online.

All Albany Public Library users have free access to Ancestry Library Edition, available on all public PCs. Get tips on how to use the Ancestry database here.


Some of the current projects running through the History Great Southern - Kaartdijin Biddi Albany include:

Do you have an Anzac in your family?

Albany Memorial Park Cemetery Walks

COVID-19 Albany Community Observation Project

Oral History Programme

Oral histories relating to specific subject areas and general local knowledge capture first hand accounts of local events.   As a primary resource, these experiences are a valuable addition to the archives held in History Great Southern - Kaartdijin Biddi Albany.

From humble beginnings and a partnership with the J. S. Battye Library of West Australian History, the programme came of its own in 1990 when funding was made available through the Rotary Club of Albany Port to support a permanent interviewer and the supply of equipment and materials.

The immense historical value in preserving Albany’s history in an audio format is recognised in more than 60 interviews which have now been digitised and transcribed, the work of a dedicated team of volunteers.

The programme is ongoing and seeks to fill subject gaps in the oral history collection.  We encourage members of the community to contact us regarding the preservation of subjects of interest which risk being lost to memory.


Photo Catalogue

The earliest photographs of Albany have been dated at 1858 and were taken by pioneer photographer, George Chester. History Great Southern – Kaartdijin Biddi Albany contains a significant collection of pre-Federation (1901) photographs, which reflect the early maritime origins of the town.

There are photo collections which have concentrated on significant industries, e.g. whaling, tourism and leisure, architecture, important visits and general town life. The collection also contains some historic aerial photos of the town and surrounding districts.

Photos have been scanned, as well as printed for Reading Room access. Digital copies of photos can be purchased.

Browse the catalogue to view all photographs in the collection. Use the ‘refine set’ option to narrow down the displayed search results.

Newspapers & serials

Albany newspapers have been issued on a regular basis since 1883 and History Great Southern – Kaartdijin Biddi Albany has most local newspapers available on microfilm. All Albany newspapers are also held at the State Library of Western Australia in Perth. Search the catalogue to find newspaper articles.  

Newspapers and local serials can be consulted, scanned or copied (fees apply).  

  •  Albany Advertiser - 1897 - 2004
  •  Microfilm - 1994 - current Paper copy
  •  Albany Despatch 1919 - 1927 Microfilm
  •  Albany Extra 2000 - current  Paper copy
  •  Albany Mail 1883 - 1889  Microfilm
  •  Albany Observer 1890 - 1891 Microfilm
  •  Australian Advertiser 1888 - 1901  Microfilm
  •  Denmark Bulletin Current Paper copy
  •  Denmark Post 1963 - 1964 Microfilm
  •  Great South News 1979 - 1986 Paper copy
  •  Great Southern Voice 1987 - 1990 Paper copy
  •  Manypeaks Murmur 1993 - current Paper copy
  •  Narrikup News 1996 - 2005 Paper copy
  •  Southern Sentinel 1963 - 1968 Microfilm
  •  Weekender 1994 - current Paper copy
  •  Wellstead Whisper 1995 - current Paper copy
  •  Western Mail 1907 - 1925 Microfilm

The Norman Newspaper Index, named after Gordon & Gwen Norman, is an index to Albany newspapers from inception, in 1883, to 1976. Indexing is continuing, and will eventually fill the gap to the present. The Index from 1883 to 1976 covers four newspapers :

  • Albany Mail (1883-89)
  • Albany Observer (1890-91)
  • Australian Advertiser (1888-97)
  • Albany Advertiser (1897-   )


The majority of the manuscripts were the gift of historian, Robert Stephens. These have been supplemented by the Albany Historical Society Archives and the research of other local historians, such as Dunstan (D.A.P.) West and Bonnie Hicks.

Manuscripts can be consulted, scanned or copied (fees apply).

Vertical Files

Ephemeral manuscript records - photocopies, extracts, notes etc - are not indexed or included in specific collections. These items are collected in filing cabinets – Vertical Files – arranged in two groups: Persons (i.e. biographies), and Subjects.

Both files are arranged in alphabetical order: e.g. 'VF Persons – A' includes information on the Andersons to the Angoves, or 'VF Maritime – Lighthouses' will contain loose sheet information on lighthouses around Albany.

Access to the list of Persons or Subjects is available in-house.

Vertical Files folders can be consulted, scanned or copied (fees apply).

Robert Stephens Collection

The Robert Stephens Collection is named after the benefactor, Robert Stephens (1886-1974). Robert Stephens was a distinguished local historian and researcher who donated his large collection to the Town of Albany upon his death.

He was a member of the Royal Western Australian Historical Society and was made a Fellow in 1967.

He co-wrote the definitive history of the explorer, Edward John Eyre "Waterless Horizons", and contributed eleven research papers to the historical journal, Early Days.

His collection has been organised into an archive, by Audrey Dunn and later by Roy & Beatrice Little. A summary of the topical division of files and manuscript index is accessible below:

Robert Stephens Collection Summary 

Robert Stephens Collection Manuscript Index

Material can be consulted, scanned or copied (fees apply).

Albany Historical Society Archives

The Albany Historical Society Archives include documents, books, maps, manuscripts and research papers, covering the history of Albany and the surrounding districts from pre-European explorations, first settlement and the development of the region to the present day.

Albany Regional Burial Index

The 'Albany Region Burial Index 1800 - ' is a joint project between History Great Southern – Kaartdijin Biddi Albany (previously Albany History Collection), the Albany Regional Family History Society and the Albany Cemetery Board.

The Index lists the names of over 13 000 people who are buried in Albany’s two cemeteries, Memorial Park (now closed) and Allambie Park. Gravesite and tombstone information is included, where known. There are also some names of Albany residents who have been buried elsewhere. 

Some burial locations have been lost over the years, but researchers are still working to complete the Index. There are plans to map both cemeteries in the future to facilitate gravesite searches. 

The Index is not available online and is only accessible in the Reading Room. Enquiries can be made via email, phone or by mail. There is no charge for this service.

Fees and charges

Enquiry Fee: online/in-hours per hour*
(*Calculated to the nearest 15 minutes. First 30 Minutes free)
Photo reprints (min. Charge for 15x10cm prints $8.00
Digital Image Sales (min. charge for 300ppi file) $20.00
Storage Retrieval Fee (per item requested from off-site storage) $5.00
Postage & Packing (Min. charge) $7.50

Albany Regional Family History Society Inc.

Albany Regional Family History Society Inc (ARFHS) moved into the Library in late-2014. This is a welcome addition to the Library and enhances both the Library’s and Society’s local and family history offerings. ARFHS members are available for research enquiries in the Library on Tuesdays and Fridays from 10.30am to 1.00pm.

ARFHS was formed as an independent, affiliated society of the West Australian Genealogical Society (WAGS) in 2000. The current society has a full executive of a President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer and Librarian, aided by several committee members.

ARFHS has been helping people research and build their family trees for 32 years and over that time, we have promoted and encouraged the pursuit of family history, for its social record and it's medical value. For more information visit the Albany Regional Family History Society Inc. website


All indexes listed on this site, and all items connected to these indexes are copyright to History Great Southern – Kaartdijin Biddi Albany.

Copies of these items may be made from this site but due acknowledgement must be given to History Great Southern – Kaartdijin Biddi Albany for any items that are published in any format.