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).

This plan, which covers parts of High Street, Pakington Street and Derby Street is dominated by two historic Kew mansions: ‘Konetta’ and ‘Ramornie’. Ramornie was constructed in 1890 for James Maitland Campbell, three times Mayor of Kew. Sold in 1940, it became a boarding house known as ‘The Towers’. Now a private residence again, it has only one of its three balconies remaining. The location of the missing two balconies can be seen on the plan. In 1903, the grounds of Ramornie included a large tennis court fronting Pakington Street. The rear of the property is shown as extending to Cobden Street. One of Kew’s oldest hotels, the Prospect Hill Hotel on the corner of High and Cobden Street was established in 1858. The outline of the hotel shown on the plan represents the second building on the site. During the 19th century it was often used for electoral meetings. The Prospect Hill Hotel was to be redeveloped again in 1928, by the local architect Robert McIntyre. Since the 1980s, the hotel has been a live music venue, the home of the Melbourne Jazz Club, a restaurant and a liquor outlet.