How to read the MMBW 40ft to the inch detail plans

How to read Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works detail plans, including the abbreviations, hatchings and symbols used on the plans.

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Sarah Ryan
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This research guide provides the key to abbreviations, hatchings and symbols used on the MMBW plans.

The MMBW plans were produced by the Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works (MMBW) from the 1890s to the 1950s to facilitate the design and development of Melbourne’s sewerage system. They provide a historical record of Melbourne streetscapes and environmental features, including outlines or 'footprints' of buildings.

The plans have been digitised and are available online.

Unfortunately the maps do not include keys to the symbols and abbreviations used. Please refer to the legend to better understand the information presented in the plans.

If you detect errors, or if you can suggest other information sources, please contact us.

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