Picture Library

Rights Managed Images from Pre Recorded History to Today

Supplier of images to industry since 1968

Can I access the Coo-ee Image Data base?

The Coo-ee Picture Library offers a select number of registrations each year. We welcome applications for registration from publishers, creative professionals, film and video production businesses, advertising agencies and graphic designers. We carefully review each application we receive, and create a shortlist of those registration will be offered to.

For more information about our registration process, please take a look at our registration page.

What sorts of images does the Coo-ee Picture Library contain?

Our collection is divided into two main categories – historical (pre-1955) and modern (post-1955).

For a snapshot of the types of images we have in our collection, please view the presentation on the home page.

Do you sell Royalty Free images?

No, Coo-ee doesn’t deal in royalty free images. We exclusively supply rights managed images, which are priced according to the exposure they will receive once published, or upon negotiation, depending on any specific rights required. 

How many images are in the Coo-ee Picture Library?

Too many to count! The images in the Coo-ee library have been accumulating for decades, and are constantly being added to. 

How did Coo-ee obtain the images in the library?

Coo-ee’s founder, Ron Ryan, began collecting historical graphic images in 1970, which he found everywhere from garage sales, antique stores, and book shops – he even ran newspaper advertisements scouting for more historical prints and photos to buy and add to his growing collection.

For the next fifteen years he made it his mission to collect as many historical image collections as he could, while travelling Australia and overseas shooting news, political, industrial, location and wildlife images for the modern part of the library.

During these photo assignments he also scoured shops in the cities and towns searching for photographic gems to add to his collection. After weeks away at a time, he would return to Melbourne, his car full to the roof with boxes and books full of rare images.

The Coo-ee Picture Library was built on Ron’s passion for history and the image, and since its humble beginnings, has amassed an enormous collection of rare and invaluable images that give an insight into where we in Australia, and the rest of the world, have come from.

Which interest areas does the library cover?

For a snapshot of the types of images we have in our collection, please view the presentation on the home page.

Does Coo-ee sell video?

Coo-ee only supplies still images, however many of our images have been used to create exciting animations. 

Does Coo-ee sell prints?

No, we don’t sell prints of our images. However, our registered clients may have chosen to use our images to create exciting murals and wall art.

What have Coo-ee’s images been used for?

Our amazing clients have used Coo-ee’s images in a multitude of ways over the years! Below are just a few examples:

  • Trade and tourist displays, and exhibitions including Brisbane Expo 

  • Victorian State Government Sport Posters sets

  • National Parks brochures and books

  • Annual Report covers

  • Travel brochures for local and international airlines and tour bus companies

  • Educational books

  • Displays to welcome guests to Australian Overseas Embassies and Parliament House

  • Olympic bid presentation in 1996.

  • Calendars

  • Australian postage stamps

  • Coasters

  • Postcards

  • Films

Can photographers submit works?

We are no longer accepting new images from external photographers. However, we are always interested to chat with people who wish to sell original historical images and early photographers’ collections.

Is Coo-ee part of...

The Coo-ee Picture Library is a proudly independent Australian entity, and we’re not affiliated with any other image library. 

How long has the Coo-ee Picture Library been around for?

Coo-ee Picture Library was first registered in 1986, and has been in full operation ever since.

Prior to Coo-ee’s launch in 1986, we operated under different business names from 1974, including Photographic Agency of Australia, Historical Photographic Agency, and ESPA Visuals.

Who’s behind Coo-ee?

Coo-ee is owned and operated by intrepid photographer and history enthusiast, Ron Ryan. Back in 1978, Maureen Emmerson came aboard and has been our office manager ever since – she’s semi-retired now but is still a huge part of our team and her contribution to our growth has been invaluable. We are supported by the best legal professionals, business advisors, tech experts and supportive family members – they all help ensure Coo-ee remains the pre-eminent picture library in Australia.


Why is it called the ‘Coo-ee Picture Library’?

In 1983, Coo-ee’s founder – intrepid photographer Ron Ryan – was on assignment, shooting in Queensland. While photographing a Coo-ee sign in Yeppoon, he had a vision of adding the words ‘picture library’ to the sign - and just like that, the Coo-ee Picture Library came to be. He promptly re-named his business and has never looked back. 

What does Coo-ee mean?

Coo-ee is a bush call, which originated from the Dharug language of indigenous Australians from the Sydney basin area. It is amazingly audible over long distances, and was used long before European settlement. The first recorded mention of it was found in a notebook from the First Fleet, in 1789. 

The coo-ee call is as Australian as our best-known icons, and is still used today - more often now as a friendly call, both out in the bush and in the city. 

What was the Coo-ee march?

In 1915, twenty-six men from Gilgandra, NSW who wanted to enlist to serve in Great War of 1914-1918, set off for Sydney on what was to become known as the Coo-ee March.  Stopping at each town on the way to drum up more recruits, they arrived in Sydney with close to 300 men ready to enlist.

The annual ‘Coo-ee Festival’ re-enactment in Gilgandra began 1989.