Archival Aerial Photography

Geoscience Australia is the custodian for Commonwealth vertical and oblique aerial photography. Dating from 1928, the photos provide an accurate historical record of the land, and form an important part of Australia's spatial information.

Selecting your photos

Aerial photography is recorded on flight line diagrams, which show; aircraft paths (also known as runs), the centre of the photos in relation to ground features, and film reference numbers.

Due to the complexity of this image and the niche scientific target audience, no alternative description has been provided. Please email Geoscience Australia at for an alternative description.

Screenshot of the Historical Aerial Photography portal.

Search historical aerial photography

This online catalogue provides means of easy search of the collection records. The mapping system allows users to understand what information is available and, if digitised, to preview and download the image data.

Available formats

  • Digital prints (from the whole photo)
  • Enlargements to a specific scale - eg 1:50 000; or by ratio, eg 2x, 4x (from the whole photo or part of it)
  • Photos taken on colour film can be reproduced as black and white
  • Photo mosaics involve joining together several aerial photos to form a single non-rectified image. This enables large areas to be covered by one image similar to a satellite image
  • Orthophotos are photo mosaics with some text annotation. They are available over selected areas
  • Prints may be ordered individually or in blocks to give either plain or stereoscopic cover
  • Both black and white and colour images can be provided in a variety of formats eg. tiff, jpeg, ecw, etc.

How to order

To order photographs, please download and complete the order form [ PDF 243.2 KB] [ DOCX 40.8 KB], and price list [ PDF 34.5 KB] [ DOCX 129.1 KB] noting the following points:

  • area of interest - can be marked on a suitable map. A flight line diagram can be supplied on request
  • date of photography - indicate if a particular year or group of years is required. Photography up to 1987 can be viewed at the National Library
  • product required - black and white digital print and colour digital print. Data format required if not requesting hardcopy product
  • product size - digital print (230 mm square) or enlargement. Please indicate a specific scale or ratio. See the ready reckoner for assistance
  • plain or stereoscopic cover
  • purpose - please indicate your particular purpose so that we can provide advice
  • copyright - permission to copy can be obtained when placing your order, so please indicate whether you wish to reproduce the images.

Routine orders will be despatched approximately 10 working days after receipt. Delivery is by overnight courier to a street address, unless specified otherwise.

For further information please contact Photomapping Services (below).

Acknowledging Geoscience Australia

Please ensure the following acknowledgment accompanies any of Geoscience Australia's aerial photography:

Creative Commons Logo

© Commonwealth of Australia (Geoscience Australia) year of publication.

Payment and price list

All orders valued at less than $100.00 must be accompanied by payment. Photos can be ordered by mail or fax (accompanied by a purchase order) or by telephone using a credit card. Company orders and cheques should be made out to our contractor - PHOTOMAPPING SERVICES Pty Ltd.

Photomapping Services

Photomapping Services (PMS) of Melbourne manage all customer service operations, production and delivery of Geoscience Australia's aerial photography product range.

Street Address:
133 Abbotsford Street

Postal Address:
PO Box 369
Phone: Phone: +61 3 9328 3444