The maps and plans prepared since 1829 by the Survey Office and its succeeding agencies document the allocation of land holdings in Western Australia over time.
As well as early explorations and surveys, key collections of these plans include what are known as 'cancelled public plans'. The concept of a cancelled public plan is simple. In the 1800s, the Surveyor General introduced the practice of making land plans available for public inspection. These plans were working plans, continually updated to reflect the status of lands as they were assigned to occupiers, made open for selection, reserved for government use, etc. As each plan became populated with information and amendments, it was 'cancelled' and replaced by a new public plan which itself was then used as the new working plan (and amended, corrected and added to). In this manner, these is a succession of cancelled public plans for a given area of land, prepared at different points in time and showing how land has been allocated since the mid 1800s.
These plans are held by the State Records Office and are a frequently used resource, particularly for those researching lease-held (farming and grazing) land in Western Australia.
Exploration and Cartographic PlansShow more
Most of the maps and plans from the Survey Office and succeeding agencies responsible for land allocation in Western Australia are digitised and available through our catalogue at the following links:
Townsites – early Tracings (Series 241, consignment 3850) 1838-1891, 164 maps: Early plans of individual allotments, reserves and public buildings within a number of Western Australian towns.
Original Plans – Townsites (Series 235, consignment 3868) 1835-1913, 428 maps: Plans compiled from original surveys of proposed and declared townsites.
Exploration Plans (Series 50, consignment 3423) 1798-1958, 189 maps: Plans recording exploration routes in Western Australia throughout the 19th and 20th Centuries (as well as pre-colony).
Survey plans – Historic (Series 234, consignment 3844) 1772-1882, 382 maps: Plans recording original surveys made in the South-West of Western Australia (as well as pre-colony).
Group Settlement Plans (Chief Draftsman) (Series 2451, consignment 6160) , 1923-1930, 129 maps: Plans showing the allotment of land for individual properties within a group settlement as part of the Group Settlement Scheme.
Maps – Geological Survey (Series 33, consignment 7100) 1848, 3 maps: Hand drawn and hand coloured maps by Dr Ferdinand von Sommer.
Plans – Avon and Swan Folios (Series 238, consignments 3848 and 3849) , 1836-1860, 71 maps: Plans drawn from official surveys of the Avon and Swan valleys.
Admiralty Charts (Series 239, consignment 3947), 1875-1897, 24 maps: Charts of Hydrographic Surveys conducted by Royal Navy vessels off the Western Australian coastline.
Townsite Plans (Series 2168, consignment 5698), 1856-1994, 1765 maps: This series comprises cadastral plans of proclaimed townsites or parts thereof, including suburban lots.
Originals Plans – Districts (Series 236, consignment 3869), c. 1850+, 953 maps: These plans consist of one or more locations within the same Land District.
Chief Draftsman Plans (Series 1364, consignments 4912 and 4957), 1913-1983, 149 maps: These plans were created by the Chief Draftsman generally as one-off tasks - e.g. Meckering Earthquake impact, plans of public buildings, townsites, Aboriginal missions and communities, recreational facilities, etc.
Cancelled Public Plans – Pre Standard series (Series 978, multiple consignments), 1856-1880, 384 maps: These plans illustrate the alienation and subdivision of land in the settled districts of Western Australia during the mid-nineteenth century.
Cancelled Public Plans – Standard series (Series 979, multiple consignments), 1878-1907, 679 maps: This series represents the first attempt to cover Western Australia within one integrated cadastral mapping system.
Cancelled Public Plans (Districts) – Post Standard Series (Series 980, multiple consignments), 1893 – 1903, 53 maps: This series comprises several groups of cadastral plans (not all of them Public Plans) that were drawn during the same period as the Standard Series.
Cancelled Public Plans – Original State Series – L Chain Plans (Series 4266, consignment 4566), 1900-1924, 25 maps: This series consists of 40 Chain Cancelled Public Plans of selected areas of the Murchison, Yilgarn and Eastern Goldfields of Western Australia.
Cancelled Public Plans – Original State Series – 300 Chain Plans (Series 4265, consignment 4567), 1903-1975: This series consists of 300 Chain Cancelled Public Plans of the South Western section of Western Australia.
This 1900 Index Plan provides the way into identifying the location of specific maps itemised at Series 979 (Cancelled Public Plans - Standard Series) and Series 980 (Cancelled Public Plans, Districts - Post Standards Series).
This 1949 Index Plan provides the way into identifying the location of specific maps itemised at Series 981 (Cancelled Public Plans - 80 Chain Plans), Series 4264 (Cancelled Public Plans - 40 Chain Plans), Series 4265 (Cancelled Public Plans - 300 Chain Plans) and Series 4267 (Cancelled Public Plans - 800 Chain Plans).
Sewerage PlansShow more
Commencing in the early 1900s, the Metropolitan Water Works Board began installing a sewerage scheme throughout metropolitan Perth. To support this work, Perth was surveyed throughout the early to mid 20th Century to establish where sewer lines would need to connect to individual properties.
The original survey plans - commonly known as 'sewerage plans' - are held by the State Records Office and are frequently used to support research into specific properties and suburban areas.
These plans have been digitised, geo-referenced and are available through the State Records Office's RetroMaps site: https://mapping.sro.wa.gov.au
The plans cover the more heavily urbanised areas of Perth prior to 1970, not outer suburban areas.