Researching your Victorian ancestors

A guide to family history research using the major Victorian resources

Rate books

Rate books usually contain the names of the owner and the occupant, their occupation, address, date, description of property and rate assessed.

Most councils have copied their collections of rate books. Check with the relevant local public library or family history society of the area you are researching to see if their collections are available. Many rate book collections are also held at the Public Record Office Victoria (PROV). For more information please go to the PROV Rate records website.

Rate books available at the State Library

A number of Victorian rate books, for varying dates, are held at the State Library Victoria. A comprehensive list of our holdings appears in the pdf document found on the right hand column of this page. The list includes links to any online collections that have been digitised by the relevant local council.

Alternately try searching the library search using the terms 'rate books or rate assessment'. This will result in a list of most State Library holdings of rate books. Or try a search with the name of the council or borough area and the term 'rate' for more specific results. For example; rate Yackandandah or rate Minhamite.

Rate books for the following areas and years are now available online through the Ancestry Library Edition database. This database can only be accessed in the State Library and is also available in most Victorian public libraries.

Victoria, Australia, Rate Books, 1855-1963 - available on Ancestry Library Edition


Borough of Creswick, 1864-1933
Borough of Sebastopol, 1906-1938
Borough of Stawell, 1870-1920
City of Brighton, 1861-1900
City of Broadmeadows, 1863-1899         
City of Caulfield, 1857-1955    
City of Coburg, 1863-1900
City of Collingwood, 1864-1900
City of Fitzroy, 1858-1900
City of Footscray, 1864-1900
City of Hawthorn, 1868-1901
City of Kew, 1862-1899

see also
Camberwell and Waverley, Rate Books, 1857-1927
(a separate collection on Ancestry)

 City of Malvern, 1856-1933
 City of Moorabbin, 1862-1900
 City of North Melbourne, 1894
 City of Northcote, 1883-1901
 City of Port Melbourne, 1860-1901
 City of Prahran, 1856-1900
 City of South Melbourne, 1855-1900
 City of St Kilda, 1859-1900
 City of Williamstown, 1858-1902
 Shire of Creswick, 1869-1938
 Shire of Stawell, 1861-1949
 Shire of Waranga, 1863-1960
 Shire of Wimmera, District of Horsham,1863-1940


Rate books available in the Library

Researching buildings and houses

For detailed information on researching the history of your house please consult the Researching buildings & houses research guide. This guide describes how to research a building using the State Library's collection of architectural drawings, maps, auction plans, newspapers and online resources.