Historical information

Pru Sanderson, in her groundbreaking ‘City of Kew Urban Conservation Study : Volume 2 - Development History’ (1988), summarised the periods of urban development and subdivisions of land in Kew. The periods that she identified included 1845-1880, 1880-1893, 1893-1921, 1921-1933, 1933-1943, and Post-War Development. These periods were selected as they represented periods of rapid growth or decline in urban development. An obvious starting point for Sanderson’s groupings involved population growth and the associated economic cycles. These cycles also highlighted urban expansion onto land that was predominantly rural, although in other cases it represented the decline and breakup of large estates. A number of the plans in the Kew Historical Society’s collection can also be found in other collections, such as those of the State Library of Victoria and the Boroondara Library Service. A number are however unique to the collection.


Subdivision plans are historically important documents used as evidence of the growth of suburbs in Australia. They frequently provide information about when the land was sold on which a built structure was subsequently constructed as well as evidence relating to surveyors and real estate and financial agents. The numerous subdivision plans in the Kew Historical Society's collection represent working documents, ranging from the initial sketches made in planning a subdivision to printed plans on which auctioneers or agents listed the prices for which individual lots were sold. In a number of cases, the reverse of a subdivision plan in the collection includes a photograph of a house that was also for sale by the agent. These photographs provide significant heritage information relating house design and decoration, fencing and household gardens.

Physical description

In 1925, the City of Kew called for tenders for the construction of Wimba Avenue, Cadow Street and Lalla Street. Subsequent advertisements for the sale of land in Wimba Avenue continued from 1926 to 1929. The 18 lots (and a further five allotments on the eastern side of the street) offered for sale were unofficially described in the subdivision plan as the ‘Wimba Estate’. These lots began in Park Hill Road and extended almost to Cotham Road. The subdivision took its name from the house ‘Wimba’ in Cotham Road, which may have formed the southern boundary of the subdivision. (Wimba, at 235 Cotham Road was constructed between 1862-70). The Plan highlights the proximity and advantage of ‘electric’ trams in Cotham and Glenferrie Roads, and the Kew and Glenferrie Railway Stations. An oddity in the Plan is the reference to the electric tram terminus at Burke Road, given that the tramline had already been extended to Mont Albert in 1916.