The State Library of Victoria’s Government Gazettes collection

Government Gazette Meteorological observations from February 1851, showing the extreme conditions of Black Thursday. Image: State Library of Victoria (click to enlarge)

Government Gazette Meteorological observations from February 1851, showing the extreme conditions of Black Thursday. Image: State Library of Victoria (click to enlarge)

Government Gazette Meteorological observations from February 1851, showing the extreme conditions of Black Thursday. Image: State Library of Victoria (click to enlarge)

The State Library of Victoria is home to an extensive online collection of NSW, Port Phillip and Victoria Government Gazettes from 1836 to 1997.

The collection contains images of every relevant page in the Victoria Government Gazette produced since 1836, as well as searchable indexes for each publication. Gazettes are records of all government notifications and decisions. They contain information such as official statistics, proclamation of acts, land transfers and tenders.

The SEARCH team, along with library volunteers, will be examining the wealth of meteorological information contained in Government Gazettes.

For example, the table above is a Meteorological journal from February 1851, and it details the extreme conditions leading to the Black Thursday bushfire which devastated Victoria in that year, a catastrophe so evocatively portrayed in William Strutt’s painting Black Thursday, part of the State Library of Victoria’s Treasures collection.