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 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).

Plan No.1568 covers the area bounded by Cotham Road, John Street, Sackville Street, and Edward Street. Alfred Street and Rowland Street are in shown in the middle of the plan. The two most notable buildings shown are ‘St Helliers’, the home of the Dumaresq family, and St Hilary’s Church and school. While the colours used to indicate St Hilary’s are grey as in other civic/public buildings, the first St Hilary’s Anglican Church was at this stage constructed in weatherboard. At the left of the plan, facing Sackville Street is a house named ‘Glencara’. The 1988 ‘Kew Conservation Study’ recorded that “The first documentary evidence of this house comes from Rate Books which record that in 1893 a Mrs Treadway was the owner of this building with an N.A.V. of £81? At that date the occupier of the house was Charles B. Kelly, a clerk, while by 1910 Kelly had become the owner of the property described in that year ‘as a six-roomed stone, brick and wood house with stables and outbuildings’”. Contrary to this description, the 1905 plan indicates that the house was entirely constructed of masonry.