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.

Melbourne databases

Many databases hold information on significant Victorian buildings and places. Often the profile will include a statement of significance and a brief history of the building.

The City of Melbourne's database, i-Heritage, includes sites for 12 suburbs of Melbourne. The studies include building grading, architectural style, heritage status, notable features, statement of significance, historical information and an image of the building. It is an excellent resource for lesser known buildings.

The Victorian heritage database provides information on Victoria's most significant places and objects, with images of many sites. Inclusion on this government register offers legal protection for the site.  Conservation studies can also be found.

The Melbourne Mansions database was compiled by architectural historian and author, Professor Miles Lewis. It includes suburban villas and larger houses, many of which are no longer extant.

 Sherwood, H95.200/1326


Informit Online is an Australian database which provides index access to journal articles, reports and conference papers on Australian and New Zealand architecture covering architects, architecture, construction, interior design and landscape architecture. It includes some full text.

Informit can be accessed within the Library. Registered Victorian users can access it from home.

The Australian Heritage Bibliography (formerly HERA), is also available via Informit. Produced by the Australian Heritage Council, it is an index to journal articles and reports on Australia's natural and cultural environment from 1987 onwards. 

History of cinemas

If you are interested in the history and architecture of cinemas in Melbourne, a good resource is Cinemarecord.

This is the quarterly journal of the Cinema and Theatre Historical Society.  The hard copy version of the journal is located at the State Library of Victoria (Call No. SLTF 725.8209945 C49CA).

 Facade of Astor theatre, St Kilda, H2002.166/6

National repositories

The Australian Heritage Database, maintained by the Australian Heritage Council, contains information on Australian natural, historic and indigenous places. The database is independent of other heritage registers, such as the Victorian Heritage Register.

National Archives of Australia archives Commonwealth government records. Records relating to buildings such as Post Offices and Federal Courts are held by the National Archives.

National Trust of Australia is an independent non-profit organisation, supported by a large community base. It campaigns to preserve and protect Australia's heritage and includes statements of significance for classified sites. Click on the link and then select: Victoria > Trust Register.

Heritage studies

The online thesis by Robyn Clinch, The Places We Keep, lists all the heritage studies that have been done in Victoria since the 1970s.

What house is that?

This booklet, provided by the Department of Planning and Community Development, details different housing styles, spanning from early Victorian to modern. Great for both professionals or handy people.

Walking Melbourne

The Walking Melbourne website contains images and information about Melbourne's buildings and is searchable by architect, name and location.

It is a not-for-profit project, built and managed by volunteer contributors.