Digitisation of Traditional Format Library Materials

Ampol and Caltex photograph collection

Project Brief | Cataloguing guidelines

General description of the proposed project

The National Library was approached by Australian Petroleum Pty Ltd (trading as Ampol) in May 1996 to accept 4 archive boxes of albums and a number of loose photographs documenting aspects of the Ampol and Caltex companies’ activities in Australia since 1946. The donated material documents the building of terminals and storage facilities in all Australian states, provides considerable coverage of changing marketing strategies for Ampol and Caltex over a period of 45 years, contains portraits of key personnel and records of company-sponsored social activities and a very thorough record of changing plant, equipment, office technology (including the introduction of computers) and methods of distribution.

At least 40% of the collection consists of photographs of service stations in urban and rural locations, many of which have undergone considerable development in the intervening years, which provide a surprisingly rich record of changes in Australian society.

Collection material of relevance to the project

The Ampol Collection has now been housed in 31 albums containing 5,166 photographs, negatives, slides and transparencies. A further 32 individual photographs, larger than A3 size, are currently housed in drawers P60 and P61 in the Hurley Stack. A selection of material from each album has been undertaken, with approximately 1,000 images identified for digitisation. A number of the individual photographs have also been selected for digitisation.

Digitisation will be from the original collection material.

Levels of use and user groups – current and anticipated

Use of the Ampol collection can be expected to increase significantly when the material is more readily accessible in digital format. The collection has potential interest for a wide range of users, particularly those researching the history of the petroleum industry in Australia, of touring and motor cars, and of the changes wrought by increased mobility within Australian society.

The geographical coverage of the collection is broad, and should be of relevance to users across Australia. Items in the collection are captioned and mostly dated, making the material more valuable to researchers.

Bibliographic coverage of the collection

There is no collection level entry for the Ampol Collection as yet, but all the items have been accessioned. The captions for this collection range from adequate to very detailed. Ms Sandra Sutalo, Corporate Affairs Assistant with Caltex Australia can be contacted for assistance in identifying individuals etc.

Preservation, care and handling guidelines

DISCLAIMER: The National Library of Australia disclaims liability for the use of the information provided in this page. The guidelines have been produced to aid Library staff in the digitisation of collection material. The National Library of Australia accepts no responsibility for the loss occasioned as a direct or indirect result of the use of the information in these guidelines.

The Ampol collection has been re-housed where necessary in preservation standard albums and is mostly in good condition. A number of the larger individual photographs were glued onto an acidic canite backing before being donated to the Library, and will need to be photographed to preserve a long-term record of their subjects.

General rules:

Treatments: This collection is in relatively good condition. The spines and bindings are good stable condition. A conservator will carry out major treatments.

Scanning: The flatbed scanner will be used to scan the photographs:

Cropping: Minimal border, 1mm from edge of photograph, none of the original image to be cropped.

Intellectual property or other rights

The Ampol collection has been donated to the National Library, and having been conferred with ‘an immediate, indefeasible and unencumbered legal and equitable title’, is free from copyright restrictions.

IT requirements

No additional investments would be required from an IT perspective – scanning devices in the Digitisation Project work area could be employed; images would be stored on the DCM and delivered to users via the Pictures Catalogue.

Resource requirements

This collection could easily be absorbed within the 2002-2003 financial year digitisation work plan to meet the established targets.


There are no cooperative projects that the digitisation of the Ampol Collection would support at present.


Digitisation of the Ampol Collection is scheduled for completion by mid 2003.

Other considerations

On completion of the Digitisation project, Pictures Branch will write to Ampol.

Contact officer: Michelle Hetherington, Pictures Branch


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