Looking for news reports of the great Elizabeth Street flood of 1972? Or perhaps a death notice? Or accounts of Beatlemania, Melbourne style? Well the Australian Newspapers Collection (1831-2000) is the place to look.

State Library Victoria members can access hundreds of databases from home (if your home is in Victoria). That’s millions of articles, magazines, archives, ebooks, videos, songs, audiobooks and more, available through the catalogue anytime. We’re taking a closer look at new and/or interesting databases as well as hidden gems from our collections. Read on for top picks and tips from Librarians.

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What makes this database so great?

Newspapers are an incredible source. They report on the news of the day as it happens and record stories that would otherwise be lost. You will find eyewitness accounts of big events or small stories that were of interest for a day and then quickly forgotten.

Australian Newspapers Collection (1831-2000) database has images of each page of the Age and the Sydney Morning Herald from when they were first published right up to the end of 2000. This fills what until now has been a substantial black hole in our digital newspapers holdings, and when considered in conjunction with our other newspaper databases, means that for the first time we have coverage of a Melbourne daily from first publication to today.

After 2000 we have several text only databases 1 that cover from 2000 onwards and then the Age and Sydney Morning Herald Digital Editions provides the newspaper exactly as published from the start of 2006 to the current issue.

Search tips

  • While search options are quite limited, the database is fully keyword searchable.
  • You can easily use a slider to narrow to a year or a month, and then to a specific day. It also indicates the comparative number of articles published that meet your search, so it is easy to see what day had the most news on the topic you are researching.

  • Remember to use the ‘x’ to clear these date filters before each new search.
  • If you want to enlarge the text choose Browse this issue.
  • When you choose Browse this issue the page will pop out and various controls will appear at the bottom of the screen. These controls allow you to magnify text and to click on pages from the thumbnails of the newspaper issue
Image from Proquest Australian Newspapers Collection database shows Browse function and associated control panel.
  • Newspaper pages can be downloaded as pdfs

Some highlights

You can browse for a particular date to read the paper exactly as you might have on the day it was published.

Find personal notices, classified advertisements, reports of the terrible Westgate Bridge collapse or perhaps an account of the 1970 grand final?

I found the advertisement for my first job as a Librarian.

We hope you enjoy exploring Australian Newspapers Collection (1831-2000).

We always welcome your recommendations for database trials  – let us know what you’d like to see.  Have a research query or questions on how to use our online collections? Ask a Librarian.

More to explore

For a full list of all new and trial databases, visit our A-Z Databases page.

  1. A text only database provides the text of a newspaper article but it does not provide images of the newspaper pages

This article has 7 comments

  1. What is different between Trove and this collection?

    • Andrew McConville

      Hi Grahame
      The Age is on both the Proquest and Trove databases up until the end of 1954. The big advantage of the Proquest database is that Proquest have negotiated access to the in-copyright period from 1955 to 2000. That is a big step forward as there was a black hole in online coverage of Melbourne dailies between 1955 and the mid/late 1990s (when plain text databases began to become available). This databases has the newspaper exactly as published with notices, advertisements etc up to the end of 2000. So now, for the Age, we have 1854 to 2000 and 2006 to current (Age and SMH digital editions) exactly as published. 2001 to end 2005 we have as plain text which includes articles but not notices and images. While the Proquest company have replicated considerable content of the Age on Trove, the value of the database is the 44 years 1955-2000, that was previously unavailable online and this opens a vast body of information for researchers. Regards Andrew

  2. This is wonderful news for arts writers as they won’t need to go through a pay wall as one has to do at the SMH right now.

  3. A valuable research tool. One possible glitch: my first word searched was highlighted on the newspaper pages, subsequent words searched were not.

    • Andrew McConville

      Hi Linda
      I think this is a database that is still developing and ProQuest will hopefully be adding more functionality. I haven’t noticed an issue with highlighting but I have noticed that sometimes the search doesn’t pick up every word. It also searches each page rather than each article so it will return a larger percentage of results that aren’t relevant. We are excited about the 1955 to 2000 content and over time the functionality will hopefully will be more in line with the other Proquest databases

  4. Hi . I have 45 original Smith’s Weekly newspapers from 1945 and 1946. This paper is from Sydney and ceased production in 1950 . Do you have any of these? If you would like to view these, let me know. Rob.

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