The guide features resources on the history of Australian ports. Many of the titles below are available in the museum library.


Sydney, New South Wales

Port of Sydney, NSW Official handbook
Sydney. Sydney Harbour Trust, 1919-192-.
RARE 994.41 POR
This handbook (produced in several editions) is an excellent snapshot of the ports of Sydney at that time.

Ports of NSW
Sydney. Maritime Services Board, 195-.
387.109944 POR
A later, glossy version of the publication above, released between the 1950s and 1970s.

Waterfront Sydney
Graeme Aplin and John Storey.
Sydney. Allen & Unwin, 1984.
994.41 APL
A highly recommended book good quality information and images.

Philip Geeves presents Cazenaux's Sydney 1904-1934
Gael Newton. Sydney. David Ell, 1980.
994.41 NEW
Features images the people and the economy of Sydney at work, shot by the famous photographer.

Sydney's Transport: Studies in urban history
Sydney. Hale & Iremonger, 1983.
388.4099441 SYD
A collection of essays looking at various aspects of transport including wharves, shipping and ferries.

History and description of Sydney Harbour
P.R. Stephenson. 2nd ed. Sydney. Reed, 1980.
994.41 STE
The standard work on Port Jackson.

Sydney Harbour
Michael Stringer. Sydney. Rankin, 1984.
994.41 STR
A pictorial history of Sydney Harbour which looks at port operations and also at recreation. Includes a list of Sydney Harbourmasters.

Port Jackson 200 1786-1986: An affectionate look at Sydney Harbour
Graeme Andrews. Sydney. Reed, 1986.
994.41 AND
A useful book with a bias towards commercial activity covering the early colonial period and beyond.

Port of Sydney (later Ports of New South Wales)
Library holds 1946-1975.
A really good source of contemporary and historical information.

Other areas in NSW

Bar dangerous
Terry Callen.
Newcastle. Runciman Press, 1986.
994.42 CAL
Describes the growth of Port Hunter and includes a wide range of photos and drawings by the author.

Bar safe
Terry Callen.
Newcastle: Newcastle Regional Maritime Museum, 1994.
994.42 CAL
A follow-up to the title above.

Between the river and the sea
Bert Lovett. By Norm Barney with Terry Callen. Newcastle: Saucy Jack, 1989.
994.42 BAR
A mainly photographic essay on the Hunter.

Many small ports on the NSW coast are documented in local histories, including Ballina, Batemans Bay and Port Macquarie. While we don't have a large collection, it is worthwhile looking in the library catalogue by entering the name of the place in the subject field. The State Library of New South Wales has the best collection of such publications and it is also worth checking the local studies collection of libraries in the area you are researching.


Port of Melbourne: 1835-1976
Olaf Ruhen. Melbourne. Cassell, 1976. AUS
387.1099451 RUH
A very detailed analysis of the development of the Port of Melbourne. Takes a strongly commercial view.

South Australia

Mudflats to metropolis: Port Adelaide 1836-1986.
Port Adelaide, S.A. B & T Publishers, 1986.
994.231 MUD
Published as a sesquicentenary souvenir, it provides a general overview of the history of the port.

Western Australia

The sea and the forest: A history of the port of Rockingham W.A
V.G. Fall. Rockingham, W.A. University of WA, 1972.
994.12 FAL
A comprehensive account of the rise and demise of one of Fremantle's early competitors.

A community enterprise: The history of the port of Fremantle, 1897 to 1997.
Malcolm Tull. St John's, Nfld. International Maritime Economic History Association, 1997.
387.1099411 TUL
In depth study of the port from the earliest days through to the modern era. The emphasis is on economic history.


Gateway to progress: Centenary history of the Marine Board of Burnie.
By Peter G. Mercer. Hobart. Marine Board of Burnie, 1969.
387.1099465 MER

The story of Launceston
R.A. Ferrall. Launceston: Port of Launceston Authority, 1983.
387.1099465 FER

Capital port : a history of the Marine Board of Hobart 1858-1997
Audrey Hudspeth and Lindy Scripps. Hobart. Hobart Ports Corporation, 2000.
387.1099461 CAP


The history of Townsville Harbour 1864-1979
H.J. Taylor. Brisbane. Boolarong Publishers. Townsville Harbour Board, 1980.
387.1099436 TAY

Harbours and marine : port and harbour development in Queensland from 1824-1985
Brisbane. Queensland Department of Harbours and Marine, 1986.
387.109943 MAR
Detailed coverage of the administration and history of the ports of Queensland.

Minor ports

Ghost ports of Australia
Geoff Toghill. South Melbourne, Vic. Macmillan, 1984.
387.10994 TOG

Minor ports of Australia
Edited by P.L. Ridgaway. Perth, W.A. Australian Association for Maritime History, 1988.
387.10994 RID


Trove Pictures search combines the rich pictorial collections of libraries and collecting institutions across Australia.

Many of Australia's small maritime museums have good photograph collections that can be searched via the Collections Australia Network (CAN) website. The book below may also be of use.

Guide to maritime museums in Australia and register of members
Edited by Diana Fletcher. Sydney. Australian Maritime Museums Council, 2000.
REF 069.93870994 GUI

Web-based resources

Trove is a gateway to articles, thesis, books and research from Australian universities. Here you'll find scholarly articles on the history of Australian ports and the shipping industry.

APAIS (Australian Public Affairs Information Service) is a subject index to journal articles. It is the primary database for information on Australian economic, social, political and cultural affairs. Here you will find articles on Australian ports, shipping industry and labour relations on the waterfront. APAIS in its full text or index form is available at many public, school and state libraries around Australia. Check your state or national library eresource guides for access from home.

This guide has been compiled with the assistance of maritime author Graeme Andrews.