This Racial Image Archive was first created in 1997 as part of my research into Darwinism and racial images in Australia. Over twenty years later it seems little has changed in negligent attitudes towards popular imagery from the nineteenth century. Although a number of Australian illustrated papers, such as the Illustrated Sydney News and the Worker, can be accessed via TROVE, the quality does vary with some scanned from microfilm rather than the originals. Therefore this archive remains a useful reference point and still contains a significant number of images that have not been published elsewhere. Because the majority of these images were published for the first time on the University of Newcastle Website in Australia, I have acknowledged the UON as joint copyright holder. These images may be freely used, with acknowledgement, for research and teaching purposes only. Copyright will be enforced in any case where an image is used in a racial or racist context outside of the domain of scholarship.

To put some of these images into historical context see my following publications:

  • “Darwinism and Images of Race 1850 - 1900” M Phil Thesis 1994 University of Sydney [supervised by Dr Robyn Cooper] (unfortunately not yet available online)

  • Afraid of the Dark: the Image of the Aborigine in the Queensland popular press 1860-1900 in Art off Centre: placing Queensland art edited by Glenn R. Cooke and published by the Queensland Studies Centre, Griffith University in 1997 (available online)

  • Queen Victoria versus “King Billy”: Images as History Refereed paper: Proceedings of ACUADS 2003 Conference, Tasmanian School of Art, Univ. of Tasmainia (1-4) October 2003 edited by Noel Frankham. (available online)

  • “Caricature finally triumphs at the Archibald Prize” Art Monthly Aug. 2004 no 172 (available online)

  • Embarrassingly Australian: Cultural identity and its relationship to time and place Paper from ACUADS conference October 2012 (available online)

  • “Monte Scott and the Graphic Construction of an Australian Identity” PhD Thesis 2005 University of Sydney (available online)

IMAGES OF AUSTRALIAN ABORIGINES from the Australian 19th-century popular press


The majority of these images originally appeared in the Australian popular press of last century. And, because of their origins, the quality of the reproductions varies greatly.
when an image was originally reproduced in large scale; as a cover picture, full-page or double-page spread for example, I have tried to reproduce enough border or head banner to indicate this.

Copyright © 1997 Ross Woodrow and The University of Newcastle --All Rights Reserved (last updated Oct. 2018)

IMAGES OF THE IRISH from the Australian 19th-century popular press

Copyright © 1998 Ross Woodrow and The University of Newcastle --All Rights Reserved (Last updated Oct. 2018)

IMAGES OF THE CHINESE in the 19th-century Australian popular press

Copyright © 1997 Ross Woodrow and The University of Newcastle --All Rights Reserved  (last updated Oct 2018)

IMAGES OF SOUTH SEA ISLANDERS from the 19th-century Australian popular press

Copyright © 1997 Ross Woodrow and The University of Newcastle --All Rights Reserved (last updated Oct 2018)