How to read Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works detail plans, including the abbreviations, hatchings and symbols used on the plans.
Sometimes it can be difficult to find a detail plan by searching the Library's catalogue using street or suburb names. Navigating the plans using the following indexes can help confirm if an area was mapped, or if a plan is part of the Library's collection.
1. Master index plan
The main grid system plan helps you to find the numbers of the MMBW index and detail plans which cover your area of interest. Look for the numbers and letters in red.
Can't read the plan? Visit our digitised copy to zoom in on your area of interest.
2. Index plans
Once you've identified your area of interest on the master index, click on the corresponding index plan number below.
Please note that some areas were never mapped, so there are no plans for these areas in our collection.
The index plans help you to find the identification number of the 40 feet to 1 inch detail plan which covers your area of interest. The index plans include small blue numbers which are the numbers of the MMBW 40 feet to 1 inch detail plans. (There are no small blue numbers on index maps 4G, 5H, 7G, 8H, 9C, 11C, 11G, 12D, 12G, 13D, 13E, 13G. This is because the outer suburbs were not mapped in detail).
A shaded copy of each index plan is available. Grey shading indicates that the Library holds a copy of the corresponding numbered detail plan. For example this shaded index plan of the Moonee Ponds/West Brunswick area, near Moonee Valley Racecourse, indicates that we hold detail plans 1648, 1649, 1647, 2260, 2260 and so on. A lack of shading indicates that we do not hold detail plan 1646.
Please note: index plan 10H includes 40 ft to 1 inch detail plan numbers that duplicate previously allocated detail plan numbers. For example, 10H references detail plan 84 in Croyden, which we do not hold, but we hold two earlier detail plan 84s that map part of Brighton (first in 1904 and then at a later date).
3. Detail plans
Once you have identified the numbers of the detail plans that you would like to look at, you can view the plans online.
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 the detail plan number, for example mmbw 1648
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 (including date of publication). To access the digitised plan, click on Available online. If your search produces too many results, try adding a suburb name to your search terms.
As of June 15 2020 the Library is open with reduced spaces and services.
Our Ask A Librarian reference service is still available to assist with your research inquiries.