Heritage Collections

Hobsons Bay Libraries are dedicated to the collection and preservation of the history of Hobsons Bay and its peoples.  Areas of Heritage focus are:

  • Gardens1905Local History
  • Maritime
  • Indigenous
  • Australiana
  • Military
  • Rare books
  • Council reports (the Cities of Altona, Williamstown and of Hobsons Bay)

Heritage collections are primarily located at the Williamstown branch where specialised staff are also available to assist with your research needs.  Contact Hobsons Bay Libraries to make an appointment with a member of the Heritage team.

Key titles on Hobsons Bay's history

At the Edge of the Centre

At the edge of the centre: A history of Williamstown
by Lynne Strahan

Includes a listing of City of Williamstown councillors.

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The History of Williamstown
by William H. Elsum

Covers 1834-1934.
Written by a former journalist with the Williamstown Chronicle.

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Port of many prows
by Wilson P. Evans

Contains a number of details important to local history and family history, including information relating to street name changes in Williamstown.

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Altona: a long view

by Susan Priestley

The first authoritive history       on Altona.

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Deeds Not Words
by Wilson P. Evans

Documents the significance of Williamstown in the formation of the Australian Navy.

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Buried by the Sea: A history of Williamstown Cemetery
by Andrew Lemon

A history of the Williamstown cemetery from its original location at Gellibrand Point to its current location at Champion Road.

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Altona, Laverton & Newport Heritage Study
Identifies and evaluates buildings of historical or architectural significance in the Altona, Laverton and Newport areas.

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City of Williamstown Conservation Study
Identifies and evaluates buildings of historical or architectural significance in Williamstown area. Profiles can include name of original grantee, original builders, year built and prior owners.


Paton Cabinet

Newspapers, voter rolls, rate books and more. 

Located in the Heritage Room of the Williamstown branch are a large collection of records related to family and local history research.

View the full list of records held. 

Local newspapers held on CD-ROM and microfilm:

  • Altona Star Newspaper 1966-1977 [3 CD-ROM set]
  • Newport Times 1888-1941 [Microfilm]
  • Williamstown Advertiser 1875-1993 [Microfilm]
  • Williamstown Chronicle 1856-1964 [Microfilm]
  • Williamstown Independent 1859-1861

You can also search archived newspapers online via Trove, from the National Library of Australia.

Two microfilm readers are available for use in the Heritage Room at the Williamstown branch.