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Call for Aussies to identify UK photos
A photo of Helena Bridge in the UK's National Archives.

The UK’s National Archives is calling on Australians to help identify thousands of photographs and drawings dating back to the mid-1800s.

The archives has posted 2000 images of Australian towns, buildings and people online for the first time to help celebrate Australia Day.

The images include a rarely-seen panorama of Sydney harbour taken in 1870 and a 1927 photo of the prime minister’s Lodge in Canberra.

They can be viewed on the photo-sharing site Flickr.

The archives have limited descriptions and are hoping for more information.

“In the past people have actually identified individuals that are depicted in photographs,” photographic records specialist Steven Cable said.

“But topographical and geographical information is always useful too.

“Some of the photographs in the collection don’t have any accompanying description at all.”

The images been digitised as part of the UK National Archives’ project “World through a lens”.

“Whereas before if people were interested in this material they would have had to come into the National Archives here on the outskirts of London, now they can be viewed online for the first time as a complete collection,” Mr Cable said.

The photos and drawings were made on instruction of the secretary of state for the colonies in the 1860s who requested governors document “noteworthy buildings and scenery together with individuals peculiar to the colony”.

The collection can be viewed at nationalarchives.gov.uk/australasia.