Newcastle drawn into monarch’s mystery

21 Oct 2019

An international quest to find a missing photo album, gifted by New South Wales to the British monarchy in 1882, has made its way to Newcastle.

Newcastle City Library is currently hosting The Queen’s Album, a NSW State Archives touring exhibition commemorating 200 years since the birth of Queen Victoria.

The exhibition showcases a selection of 64 images included in a photo album presented to Queen Victoria, depicting scenes of the colony’s landscapes, people and buildings, as well as the industrial development of Newcastle.

Three images showcasing the city’s industrial strength and economic progress around 1880 feature in the display, including views of the railway lines, harbour and Customs House,” City of Newcastle Manager Libraries and Learning Suzie Gately said.

“Documents mentioning the gift were rediscovered by the NSW State Archives in 2016, and this exhibition was inspired by the chance discovery last year of plate glass negatives for 48 of the 64 photographs found among the Archive’s 14 million items.”

NSW State Archives Senior Exhibitions Curator Dr Penny Stannard said the exhibition had reignited efforts to find the missing album in a mystery the public has been asked to help solve online and via a #QueensAlbum social media campaign on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

“The history of Newcastle as an industrial city was captured in the album, so we’re delighted to be sharing the exhibition with the local community,” she said.

“If we’re really lucky, it may even spark a new clue to the album’s location.

“Our search for this exquisitely presented collection of photographs given to Queen Victoria at Windsor Castle in February 1882 has spanned cultural collections in Australia and overseas to no avail, so we’re turning to the public to help locate it.

“Initial research by the NSW State Archives has revealed a design document and a prototype album, but the whereabouts of the final album is currently unknown.”

The Queen’s Album exhibition will remain on display at the library until Saturday 2 November 2019.

Join the public search for the #QueensAlbum on FacebookTwitter and Instagram today and see how this unique exhibition unfolded at

For more information on The Queen’s Album exhibition and the wider NSW State Archives Collection visit