How to read Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works detail plans, including the abbreviations, hatchings and symbols used on the plans.
The MMBW plans are housed within the Maps Collection at the State Library of Victoria. The detail plan series (40 foot to an inch) is just one of many different series published by the MMBW during their existence between 1891 and 1992.
To locate a plan that shows your area of interest:
1. Go to the Library's online catalogue
2. In the search box, enter the terms mmbw and two intersecting streets near your area of interest
3. To the right of the search box, select Maps from the drop-down menu and click the Search button
4. Your search will retrieve one or more records. Click on the title of the item for more information. To access the digitised plan, click on Available online.
All of the Library's collection of MMBW 40ft to the inch detail plans have been catalogued and digitised. If you can not find a catalogue record for a detail plan that covers your area of interest, we don't hold it. To confirm if we hold a copy of a detail plan, use our indexes to the plans. The Public Record Office of Victoria (PROV) hold a complete set of the series. The University of Melbourne also have some plans from the set, which they have digitised.
Laneway names may not be included in a plan's catalogue record. If you are having trouble finding a laneway, search for the names of the nearest intersecting streets to locate plans covering your area of interest.
It is also possible that your area of interest was not surveyed, the street name has changed, or the street did not exist at the time the area was surveyed. For guidance in these circumstances, contact the Library using our online inquiry form or by phoning 8664 7009.
In rare cases, a detail plan may not include any street names. You can identify these detail plans using our index plans.
The Library is closed from December 25 to January 3. From January 4 2021 we will be partially open to pre-booked and walk-up visitors and our Ask A Librarian service will resume for assistance with your research inquiries online and over the phone.