What do I need to know?

The following information will help you find records of interest to you:

  • the place name for the area you want to research
  • the official parish or township name
  • the names of major rivers, borders or landmarks
  • type of plan e.g. cemetery, coastal survey, railway 

If the plan you want has not been digitised then you will need to order close order Definition Physical records can be ordered for viewing in PROV’s reading rooms.  When a user orders a record, it is reserved solely for their use. the plan and then complete the request form.


How do I search?

Use the first search box to search for digitised plans only, or the second search box to search across all plans (or, on the results page you can filter the results to show only digital or physical records). Around 45% of the 11,000+ plans have been digitised. 

You can search this record series close record series Definition A record series is a group of records which are recorded or maintained by the same agency (or agencies) and which: ·    are in the same numerical, alphabetical, chronological or other identifiable sequence; or ·    result from the same accumulation or filing process. A series is composed of items and can consist of a single item or several thousand items. It may be recorded by a single agency or by a succession of agencies. A Victorian Public Record Series is identified by the prefix VPRS followed by a space then a sequential number.   online for a particular plan by parish, town, type or other place name. Some maps include a surveyor name e.g. Hoddle. If you would like a digital copy of a plan see Next Steps below. 


About these records

The historic plans collection is a collection of early surveys and other kinds of maps kept by the Department of Crown Lands and Survey between 1836 and 1984.  It is an important resource for exploring the beginnings of European settlement in Victoria. An explanation of the classification close classification Definition Systematic identification and arrangement of business activities and / or records into categories according to logically structured conventions, methods, and procedural rules represented in a classification system codes can be found here. Note that microfiche close microfiche Definition A microfilmed rectangular transparency that can contain many reduced pages of text, and can be read or referred to using a microfiche reader (a reader-printer can also generate print copies). of the County, Old Roads, New Roads and Electric Telegraph plans has not been transferred to PROV.


Who created these records?

The majority of the physical plans are closed to public access close access Definition Refers either to the process of providing records for researchers to use in PROV reading rooms, or to the process of determining if records should or should not be withheld from researchers for a period of time. for preservation reasons. 


Next Steps

Once you have found records of interest to you, order them online, note down the name of the plan and then view corresponding image on microfiche in our Reading Room. If the record is one of the 45% of the collection that has been digitised, look for 'digital records' on the left hand side of the search results screen to see if a digitised image of the plan is available. Public users cannot place orders on s11 records. 

You can submit a digital copy request form found here. Or, if  you mention the plan name in our online inquiries form we can review the plan to see if it’s possible to view in person. 

What are in these records?

While these plans are mainly concerned with recording ‘cadastral’ information, or the boundaries of properties, there are many sequences and plans that record other types of information as well.  You might find:

  • early descriptions of soils and native vegetation
  • location of huts, fences, gardens and other capital improvements made by squatters
  • location of other buildings
  • tracks used by colonial settlers
  • reserves set aside for public use
  • early place names
  • location of pastoral runs
  • ship wrecks
  • the general progress of European settlement at various times
  • progress of cadastral, geodetic and physiographic surveys at particular times