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). Public buildings, coloured grey on the Plan 1582 include the police station and post office, churches and schools. The earliest church school, Common School No.356 was located at the rear of the Congregational Church in Peel Street. It was constructed in 1859. The first buildings of Kew Primary School No.1075 on the other side of Peel Street were constructed in 1871. The school in 1903 only occupied a small fraction of its current site. In 1903, where the rear playground is now located, were two weatherboard and one brick villa. Trinity Grammar School was founded in 1902 and opened in the Parish Hall at the rear of Holy Trinity Anglican Church. It was not to move to its current site until 1906. The outline of the building housing the Kew Fire Brigade in the centre of the north side of Walton Street is shown but not named on the plan. Further down Pakington Street stood the two-storey Italianate mansion ‘Overton’. The home of Stanford Chapman, it was to be featured in the Imperial Institute series of bromide photographs of Victoria, Vol. 1: Homes and scenery. It was later to become a boarding house before it was later demolished.