Common FAQ's

Colourising Yesteryear

Membership?

The overall aim of the site is to enjoy images of Darwin.

There is no membership or sign up needed to access any parts of this site. It is free to access and share images or articles as you wish.

 Don McKenzie

0800-018 Eric and Ellen (Hellen) Izod with the 'NT8' - first Holden in Darwin. The photo was taken in Melbourne where the car was picked up and driven to Darwin. Photo: L&A NT - Izod Collection.

FAQ  (Frequently Asked Questions)

Click on the list below to take you to the answer to you question, or keep scrolling to read the entire list. 

How to Download High-resolution Darwin Historical Colourised Images

I am uploading all of my high-resolution Darwin Historical Colourised images to my Google Drive in the cloud.

You can download them by clicking on the image.

These are zipped into single files of 50 images for each group, and each image within an individual sub-directory so that everyone can enjoy them in the future.

In Australia, any image or publication that is older than 50 years and published before 2005, has no copyright whatsoever.

After 2005, the law was changed and it became 70 years. Currently for 2023, this makes any publication before 1957 (pre-2005), and before 1953 (post 2005), respectively. 

Basically, all the images and publications I am using fall under the 50-year rule. This means that anything before 1957 is not under any copyright ruling. 

Copyright Rules and Interpretations

These copyright rules and interpretations are fully explained on the following websites:

Fair Use of Colourised Images

You are free to copy and distribute any of my converted photos, but I would appreciate it if you leave my photo ID intact, as this passes the credit for the conversion back to this site, which allows the system to grow for the benefit of all readers.

As long as images are not used as not-for-profit direct sales, you can reproduce them for personal use in an art form, or on the web.

I had thought of making physical images available, but it's not my main focus or something I wish to pursue at this stage. If a Darwin company wished to explore this, and profit sharing could be done with a Darwin History Charity, then I am open to talks.

Please Note

There are only two limitations when it comes to my colourised photographs:

1) You can reproduce them for personal use, but selling them for profit is not permitted.
2) Do not remove the watermark credits from our colourised images.

Obtaining my written permission is a requirement for reselling or making any alterations to these images.

Additionally, the watermark includes a unique photo ID or sequence number. This not only serves to identify the individual photo but also, if you're familiar with how to conduct a photo search on our website, it can lead you to the complete story behind the image.

Photo ID's - How They Work

In order to identify any old black and white photo that has been converted to colour by me, I have used a simple ID method, which is attached to the image that looks like this for Darwin images: "Colourised by wizard-of-oz.com 0800-001"

It is this website name followed by the local postcode, and a sequential number for each individual image. I must admit, for simplicity, I have grouped local areas into the same postcode.

I will always attempt to credit the correct source of these photographs with the appropriate information.

0800-21 Fort Hill Wharf Darwin - 1948 PS: NL of NZ Whites Aviation Collection.

How to Search and Find an Image by the Photo ID

At various location on the website, you'll find the Image Search tool shown below,

You can use this Search feature to locate any image by its Photo ID (Reference Number), or by using the Search Query to search for a photo description. The search can be on names, places, years, buildings, etc.  

Search for any image on this website by surname, suburb, street, etc,

Google Site Search

Search for any image by its reference number

Photo Selector Photo 0800-

Image Quality

The majority of images utilised on these pages are screen captures taken from the Facebook group and historical websites.

Around a quarter of them are of poor quality, which I define as images taken of a photograph or computer screen that includes navigation icons and a slant, making it more challenging to convert. Scanned photographs are rare. 

In order to manage the large volume of images on the website, I have made a point of posting the highest resolutions available on the Facebook Group pages. However, I have had to limit the size of the images to 800 pixels wide for black and white and 1500 pixels wide for coluorised photos.

0800-027 Eight-Hours Day Procession at the Town Hall Union 1914. The stone building on the left is Brown's Mart. Photo: SL of SA B3023

Despite these size limitations, many of the images on the Facebook group pages are of impressive quality, with some reaching up to 3K to 4K pixels wide. It's remarkable how much you can zoom in on these images and still maintain clarity. It's possible that there are even more high-quality images out there that are waiting to be discovered, such as those hidden away in your grandparents' belongings.

Military Uniform Colours

I have received feedback regarding the colouring of military uniforms, as well as flags, banners, cars, and buildings. Unfortunately, these items can be quite difficult to colourise accurately, which can require many additional hours of work. Due to these challenges, some have suggested that I refrain from colourising photos featuring military uniforms altogether.

While I do not charge a professional rate for my services, it is important to note that the extra time required for these types of images is not insignificant. I freely give my time to this hobby, and while I do my best to achieve accurate colouring, I acknowledge that there may be some inconsistencies and other conversion problems.

I wish I knew the techniques that Clinton Bock (Mile Pegs NT Facebook Group) uses on his military uniforms and skin colours. They are great, but I wouldn't even consider competing with him in his specific field.

0800-366

There are many members of the Darwin Colourising Facebook group who enjoy my images. So the bottom line is, for free you have to wear the colour inconsistencies and other conversion problems. My apologies.

How many hours do we put into each image?

The amount of time we put into colourising each image varies. While it's possible to use an automated artificial intelligence colourising program to do an image in 10 to 30 minutes, it may not result in accurate colourisation.

For instance, the telegraph cable laying image below took two of us approximately 30 hours of work. However, not all photos require this amount of time input. The photo beside this of the Izod's with the first Darwin Holden, took us about 10 hours.

Additionally, finding a suitable photo, recording the source, converting, framing, ID-ing, rescaling, cataloguing, posting, and linking it to and from the website and Facebook threads, supporting the image by commenting and being involved in the threads, and editing the threads and website to ensure historical accuracy can take a lot of time.

In some cases, the final images may have colour inconsistencies in areas such as arms, legs, ears, clothing, signs, cars, or buildings. Fixing these inconsistencies can take many hours on a single image, and for most conversions, it's not worth the investment of time. However, if someone has the necessary skills and software, they are welcome to assist in any final touch-ups that they consider worthwhile, and they will receive appropriate credits for their contributions.

The Izod's with their Holden car, the first in Darwin

An Interactive Website

I have created this website to showcase the photos that currently reside on the Facebook group, and my goal is to expand the collection of images and descriptions gradually. By enabling user comments on this site and linking back to Facebook threads, I can develop each photo or subject into a valuable resource for all interested and future readers.


You can go directly to Facebook groups or individual posts by clicking the button below.

What's with all the Google Street View Links?

This is part of what I really enjoy and want to share with this website. With the help of Google Street View, you can now stroll down memory lane and revisit your old neighborhood.

This Google maps feature allows you to virtually visit any location that has been nominated, making it the perfect tool for past residents, curious descendants, and other interested parties. 

These links are conveniently scattered throughout the site, making it easy to explore and discover new places. So why not take a quick trip down memory lane and see how your old stomping grounds have changed over time?

Can I suggest an image for colourisation on the "Darwin Colourising Yesteryear" Facebook group?

Basic Requirements

There are some basic guidelines for suggesting a photo for colourisation. 

  • Firstly, it must be about Darwin's (or close proximity) history, and be of interest to other Facebook group members.
  • Please check in the Galleries and the Facebook albums to ensure that the photo has not already been colourised. Obviously, there is no sense in re-doing a photograph that has already been done by me.
  • The photo must be of reasonable quality. From experience around 50% of images are usually good, and 20% may fall into the 'OK' category, but are only suitable for B&W Upscaling only. Unfortunately around 30% are not of good enough quality to be able to colourise. 
  • It must have reasonably good identification. It needs Image source details, date, or the best possible estimate. Names of people, places, or any other description if available.
  • Please include a suggested image description: This will eventually be printed on the image itself, so it is very important to get it right. I spend as much time on gathering up these details, as I spend on the actual work on the photographs, sometimes more, as there can be a lot of research involved. 
  • Include Google street view coordinates if applicable.
  • Please don't send text details as an image. I don't want to retype the basic information myself.

Please don't let all of these hurdles deter you. 

If you are having trouble coming up with the information needed and the photo is important to you, I will assist as much as I can, or I will ask other members to help - but I can't start with just an image and nothing else. 

I know we have many older members and others that don't get around computer systems easily, so I really want to make this available to everyone.

How do I get Google Street View Coordinates? 

If you don't know how to do this, don't worry - it's much easier than it sounds. Have a look at the 30 second video below to see how to grab the coordinates, and then copy and paste into the information you're including with your image.  

How do I submit a photo for possible Colourisation?

Here are the steps to follow to submit an image for colourisation via our Facebook page:

  • Start with the Facebook group. Facebook crops all images down to a maximum of 2048, which is workable for us.
  • Post your photo to the group at the best resolution you have available. We have successfully colourised and upscaled images of less than 500 pixels, so don't worry too much about resolution.
  • Create a new post in the Facebook group "Darwin Colourising Yesteryear" with the image and title it "Request for colourisation and/or upscaling of a Darwin historical photograph" or something similar, so we know what the post is about.
  • Select one image at a time to start with so we can see how it turns out. Choose the one you like best, want to work on, or has the best quality.
  • Add as much information as possible to the post about the photo, such as the location, date, and any historical context you may have.

If all else fails, we will still end up with an original Darwin historical photo with full details for other members to learn from. Hopefully, this will encourage more people to share their family photos.

In the worst case, the photo may only be good for upscaling, but we have seen amazing results from this too. In the best case, we will get a high-quality colourised Darwin historical photograph that everyone can enjoy and pass on to future generations.

What does 'Upscaled' mean?

I have many old photos that cannot be coloured well, so I've organised them into folders on my computer. But with recent advancements in software and my growing skills, I've discovered that some of these images can be turned into high-quality black and white images through a process called "up-scaling"

This technique involves using modern AI methods to match pixels to create a better resolution image with clearer facial features. I use different programs for each photo, as each one requires a unique approach.

Even good quality colour images can benefit from up-scaling, and I've been going back over my previous colour conversions to apply this technique. You can easily identify these images as they don't have a white border and have added descriptive text.

To make my creations more interesting, I've been adding descriptive text to both black and white and colour images. However, some of the descriptions provided by the original creator or official sources can be minimal or incorrect. I welcome any first-hand or acquired knowledge that can improve or correct these descriptions. Please provide clear and accurate information that doesn't need interpretation to ensure we record these details accurately for future generations.

To test the limits of facial up-scaling, I started with a poor quality photograph, and while some faces disappeared, a few good ones emerged.


To navigate around the image below on a PC, hold your mouse left click down, and on a phone, hold your finger on the image and simply move it in the direction you wish to view.

0800-254

Do you do private work?

I'm passionate about preserving Darwin's history and promoting local tourism, so I don't accept payment for photo conversions. It's a personal hobby of mine, and I'm happy to contribute to the community in this way. Unfortunately, I don't offer private services for this kind of work.

However, if you're looking for photo restoration or colourisation services, you might want to check out fiverr.com.

There are many talented freelancers on the site who offer these services at affordable prices, with rates starting as low as $5 USD. Keep in mind that currency conversion and fees may apply, but it's still a cost-effective option to consider. While it can be challenging to find a good provider, the low prices mean you have little to lose by giving it a try.

You don't need expensive equipment to convert from photo slides to digital

This post will give you a few ideas. You don't need a high quality camera, as a mobile phone camera will work fine. You will need a reasonable quality back light. 

A blank white computer screen page works well. You will need to solidly mount your camera on a suitable tripod, and the slide can be clamped to a suitable mount also.

Using your Phone as a Digital Scanner

Click on the buttons below for a some more helpful hints. 

What program do I use to colour these images?

People often ask me about my process for colouring images, and I'm happy to share that I use a combination of four or five different programs and enhancers. Each photo requires different tools, and sometimes even Photoshop is needed to achieve the desired result.

How do I determine which colours to use?

As for determining colours, it's all thanks to computer-generated artificial intelligence. Black and white photos have many shades of gray, and an AI colourization program interprets these shades as specific colours. For example, a civil war photo of men in battle may be interpreted as having blue and gray uniforms, but the operator may need to force the program to choose the correct colours for each group of combatants.

When it comes to older colours of clothing, the program makes an intelligent guess based on the potential period of the image. And as for the year the photo was taken, that too is an intelligent guess made by the program. Quality conversion programs are crucial to achieving a good result, which is why I use several different techniques to ensure the best outcome.

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