Researching buildings and houses

Learn how to research the history of your house or a prominent Melbourne building using the Library’s collection of architectural drawings, maps and online tools.

State Library Victoria


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.

State Library Victoria forecourt

New book

Australian house styles / Maisy Stapleton & Ian Stapleton.
This book spans the history of Australian architectural, from the bark and split-slab cottages of the early colonial period to the sleek corrugated-steel pavilions of the twenty-first century. In between are country homesteads, city terraces, Federation villas, Californian bungalows and the austere fibro-clad cottages of the 1940s and 1950s. Includes sixty-three detailed drawings, an illustrated glossary of building terms and a short history of our domestic architecture. -- Back cover.



This guide helps you to research the history of your house or a prominent Melbourne building. State Library Victoria holds many resources including books, maps, architectural drawings, online databases and indexes which may help you with your search.

Click onto the tabs across the top of this page for more detailed information on each topic. The suggested catalogue searches and resources listed will provide more detailed information.

Good luck with your research.

Flinders Street drawings

In this video, Mary Lewis, from the State Library of Victoria, shows off the winning entry for the Flinders Street Station design competition, dated 1902.

Flinders Street Railway Station,  H93.452/4

Extinct Victorian buildings

"Eilyer", Malvern, [home of] A. Austin esq. H93.64/72

For more demolished buildings, search the SLV catalogue for Victorian 'lost architecture'.

As well, the website Walking Melbourne contains a demolished buildings database, with pictures and construction details.

Drawing Competition

The newly digitised Matthew Flinders Measured Drawing Competition, prepared by undergraduate students, offers great detail of a range of Victorian  buildings including homesteads, churches,  post offices, banks and schools.