Alice Springs Wartime Heritage on Wikimedia Commons

The Dowling Collection is now on Wikimedia Commons

In a successful partnership between the Alice Springs Public Library and Wikimedia Australia, the Donald and Isabel Dowling Collection has been digitally preserved on Wikimedia Commons. This significant release marks the library's digital debut on the Wikimedia Commons platform, bringing the Central Australian Historical Images collection to an online audience for the first time.

Taken between 1938 and 1948 by Donald and Isabel Dowling, the photographs in the Dowling Collection capture the transformative impact of World War II on Alice Springs and the Northern Territory. Before the war, Alice Springs was an isolated town, of less than 1,000 people. During the war, and particularly after the Bombing of Darwin, it was an extremely active staging base and to population grew to over 8,000. Alice Springs even became the war-time capital of the Northern Territory after the civilian administration of the NT was evacuated there from Darwin.

Thanks to the amazing staff at Alice Springs Public Library (including Jordan Phillips, Ella Turner and Carl Mirtschin), and also to WMAU members Kerry Raymond and Gnangarra for their patient assistance and advice. Many of the 241 images that were uploaded for this project have already been linked to existing Wikipedia pages, and - we hope - will inspire a number more!

Featured Images from the Dowling Collection

These images are from the Central Australian Historical Images Collection (CAHI) held by the Alice Springs Public Library. They have been digitised on Wikimedia Commons and added to the category: Central Australian Historical Images.

For more information on the collection, contact Alice Springs Public Library at

Alice Springs Public Library, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Related Links

Discuss this page