National Trust researchers have found the State Library of Victoria to be an invaluable repository over the years.
During Heritage Week, I am happy to share my tips on how to use their numerous sources to research heritage matters. If you are researching your house and garden or other types of places you will find the State Library’s extensive directories, such as Sands and McDougall’s, maps, newspapers and architectural journals among the most valuable material. Our National Trust Research Manual also gives you many techniques and sources to assist you in your research while our online Register is a terrific source of information about heritage sites across Victoria.
It is very exciting to hear that the State Library has in the past few weeks added to its catalogue over 500 digitised Victorian maps, including Victorian Parish maps, auction plans and aerial surveys. The MMBW digitised maps on the State Library’s website are also incredibly useful in dating your building and determining its original form and materials.
For researching cemeteries and burial records, you should consult the State Library’s holdings of a number of cemeteries, and use them in conjunction with births, deaths and marriage records. The National Trust’s publications Cemeteries: our heritage and Conserving our cemeteries are now are out of print but there are copies in the State Library.
Women in Melbourne
When I was researching the National Trust’s recent publication, Women’s Melbourne, I was excited to find in the State Library many useful sources such as biographies, histories of organisations and institutions, and newspaper entries. Women’s Melbourne is a free publication that documents many of the most significant and interesting sites associated with women in Melbourne. You can pick up a copy at the National Trust office before they run out (only about 20 copies remain) or read the book in the Library. The Trust’s website also provides a free map and free podcast for a walking tour of women’s Melbourne for you to enjoy.
Dr Celestina Sagazio
National Trust of Australia (Vic)