Historical information

The Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works (MMBW) plans were produced from the 1890s to the 1950s. They were crucial to the design and development of Melbourne's sewerage and drainage system. The plans, at a scale of 40 feet to 1 inch (1:480), provide a detailed historical record of Melbourne streetscapes and environmental features. Each plan covers one or two street blocks (roughly six streets), showing details of buildings, including garden layouts and ownership boundaries, and features such as laneways, drains, bridges, parks, municipal boundaries and other prominent landmarks as they existed at the time each plan was produced. (Source: State Library of Victoria)


This plan forms part of a large group of MMBW plans and maps that was donated to the Society by the Mr Poulter, City Engineer of the City of Kew in 1989. Within this collection, thirty-five hand-coloured plans, backed with linen, are of statewide significance as they include annotations that provide details of construction materials used in buildings in the first decade of the 20th century as well as additional information about land ownership and usage. The copies in the Public Record Office Victoria and the State Library of Victoria are monochrome versions which do not denote building materials so that the maps in this collection are invaluable and unique tools for researchers and heritage consultants. A number of the plans are not held in the collection of the State Library of Victoria so they have the additional attribute of rarity.

Physical description

Original survey plan, issued by the MMBW to a sewage contractor with responsibility for constructing sewers in the area identified on the plan within the Borough of Kew. The plan was at some stage hand-coloured, possibly by the contractor, but more likely by officers working in the Engineering Department of the Borough and later Town, then City of Kew. The hand-coloured sections of buildings on the plan were used to denote masonry or brick constructions (pink), weatherboard constructions (yellow), and public buildings (grey).

This plan of Kew encompasses the area bounded by Barkers Road, High Street and Stevenson Street. Because of the angle created by High Street, a number of houses on the northern side of High Street are shown. The area is dominated by one of the great original landholdings in Kew, described here as the ‘Findon Paddock’. ‘Findon’, the house from which the name of the paddock was taken fronts Stevenson Street and was clearly a rambling structure. The best-known occupant of Findon was Henry ‘Money Miller’ who bought the house in 1871. Miller was a member of Victoria’s first parliament and assisted in the framing of its constitution. Findon was to be subdivided as early as 1912, when the Findon Subdivision was advertised to be sold by auction. In the plan of the subdivision, the original house is not shown, so, presumably it had previously been demolished. Fincham & Son moved the organ, built by Henry Willis, which was installed in the house, first to ‘Whernside’ in Toorak, and later to the Box Hill Methodist Church.