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Historical Waterway Photos – Credits

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The images in this collection were sourced and scanned through a project commissioned by the Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI). They have been made available for online distribution by the RBMS.

The images may be used freely provided the source of the images (i.e. DEPI & RBMS, 2013) is cited with each image.

Background to the collection

This photographic record is a rich resource of historical images of Victoria’s waterways – a resource of great interest to today’s researchers, waterway managers and historians.

The collection of 10,000 plus photographs was principally photographed and maintained by Rivers and Streams Division officers of the former State Rivers & Water Supply Commission and its successor bodies, the Rural Water Commission and Rural Water Corporation over the period 1920 to 1995.

In danger of being fragmented and lost during Departmental restructures late last century, these records have now been digitally scanned and compiled into regional records. Consequently they are of direct relevance and useful to the State authorities responsible for protecting and enhancing the health of our precious rivers and streams.

The record provides important reference information from which the Government can better monitor the health of the State’s waterways. It is being provided for your usage through the efforts of the River Basin Management Society (RBMS).

Photo collection

The original photos, together with its associated photographic index and stream mileage/feature records for many waterways have been sorted and collated, scanned and presented in digital format. By facilitating access to these records we can ensure that their value is preserved and readily accessible to the current generation of policy and decision makers.

The clarity, quality and detailed record (date, location and description) of each photo reflect the professional approach of the officers who captured, processed and meticulously recorded the details of these photos throughout much of the last century.

The popularity of 35mm colour photography and growth in low cost commercial colour processing during the 1980’s saw the diminution of the Commission’s Photographic Section and moves to strengthen its river engineering knowledge base and expertise. Consequently, maintaining the photographic records did not receive the same level of attention after that time.

However, well annotated photographs taken by the Waterway Management Section officers during the period 1983 through to 1994 can be found on the relevant official Commission files now archived at Werribee. Similarly, those photos of waterways taken by Departmental staff following the transfer of responsibility for the Waterway Management functions in July 1994 may be found spread across Departmental records.

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