GUIDE TO RESOURCES FOR TASMANIAN GENEALOGY

by Malcolm Ward

© Malcolm Ward 2005-2011. All rights reserved


 14.  TOWN AND PROPERTY MAPS, PLANS AND NAMES

 

14.1  

COLONIAL MAPS OF HOBART TOWN

In 1841 James Sprent produced a detailed survey of Hobart Town, including the outlines of many buildings. The maps have been scanned and incorporated into the 'LIST MAP' - the Tasmanian Government's on-line spatial mapping facility: www.thelist.tas.gov.au Site.

A fine collection of scanned colonial maps (mainly Hobart) can be found at the State Library of Tasmania's web site here: catalogue.statelibrary.tas.gov.au Site.

In 1854 Hood published a map of Hobart Town based on Frankland's work; this map can be viewed here: http://nla.gov.au/nla.map-t733.

In 1858 Richard Jarman published his Map of Hobart Town (with its newly extended boundaries), showing not just the streets but many features such as churches and burial grounds. A copy can be found here: http://www.parliament.tas.gov.au/history/map.htm.

An 1887 plan of Hobart by the C James, City Surveyor: http://catalogue.statelibrary.tas.gov.au/item/?id=966377.


 

14.2  

1854 MAP OF LAUNCESTON

HW Smythe's 1854 map of Launceston can be found here: http://nla.gov.au/nla.map-rm1213.


 

14.3  

OTHER EARLY TASMANIAN DISTRICT MAPS

State Library of Tasmania digitised map collection: catalogue.statelibrary.tas.gov.au Site.

Scott's 1824 map of Tasmania: http://catalogue.statelibrary.tas.gov.au/item/?id=543587.

Hughes' 1837 map of northern/eastern Tasmania: http://catalogue.statelibrary.tas.gov.au/item/?q=hughes+map&i=5&id=544127.


 

14.4  

NATIONAL LIBRARY'S COLLECTION OF MAPS

The National Library of Australia have digitised a great many maps and plans of Van Dieman's Land / Tasmania, its cities and towns at good resolution, able to be zoomed and panned. Use the search facility here: http://www.nla.gov.au/digicoll/maps.html.


 

14.5  

TOWN AND CITY STREET MAPS AND PROPERTY OUTLINES

The Archives Office of Tasmania has scanned and made available on-line a collection of maps and survey charts of towns and properties 1833 - 1878, mainly in northern Tasmania, and this can be found here: http://search.archives.tas.gov.au/default.aspx?detail=1&type=S&id=LSD264.

Sprent's 1841 survey map of Hobart Town has been digitised and is available here: www.thelist.tas.gov.au Site.

The Lands Department hold originals of many old survey and plans of towns throughout Tasmania and these are well worth looking at if you are tracing where your ancestors lived and/or what other property they owned. The Tasmaniana Library at the State Library holds uncoloured copies of some of these plans.

Go first to the front counter on Level 1 in the "Service Tasmania" building at 134 Macquarie Street. They have plans for towns in cabinets there and you can look at them on the counter and take copies if you wish. In their basement map room are kept more specialised and fragile plans. Some of these plans are very old and detailed. To gain access to these, you must pay a search fee of $20 and be supervised by a member of staff. See also "Property Surveys", below.

Although the Lands Department have scanned a number of these plans, try to see the coloured originals if possible.

Several words of warning. I am certainly no expert on the history & method of land grants etc in Tasmania but have learnt that the words "Granted to…" against a block of land does not necessarily mean that the person received that land as a grant (ie free). It could just as easily mean that the block was bought from the Government in a land sale or even from another individual. The same block may have had several owners before the one named in "Granted to…".

Also, the plans on the first floor ant at the Tasmanian Library represent just the one particular time when the plan was taken out of service. The plans of cities and towns in particular will have a mix of pre 1900 information and much more recent information. So whilst some parts of the plan will show (say) the situation in 1880 if it hadn't changed, other parts of the same plan will show the situation only in the time just before the plan was taken out of service.

Finally, finding your ancestor's name against a block of land does not necessarily mean they owned it. If they were the executor of some-one's estate then their name may appear as the "owner", although usually with "Exec of … estate" also written in.


 

14.6  

INDIVIDUAL PROPERTY SURVEYS

On the city and town plans discussed above you will frequently see references that look like fractions labelled on the individual land blocks - eg B4/25. These are the references to the original surveys of that property and these can be found in the basement plan room mentioned above (accessible under supervision only). Again, some of these have been scanned but try to access the originals. They may contain information written in the margins by the surveyor (comments on occupants, state of the buildings etc) and other tid-bits of contemporary information. In one case I found a beautiful sketch of the original house on a property at the bottom of the survey page - apparently done by the surveyor filling in some time!

Again, Sprent's 1841 survey of Hobart includes property boundaries and a number of buildings: www.thelist.tas.gov.au Site.


 

14.7  

COOKE'S 1879 "BALLOON EYE VIEW" OF HOBART

On 10 May 1879 the Australasian Sketcher published a "balloon's eye view" of Hobart by Albert Cooke which shows remarkable details of many properties in the city, particularly the CBD/Battery Point/wharf areas.


 

14.8  

CONTEMPORARY MAPS

Modern day street maps of Tasmanian cities and towns can be found via the search facility here: http://www.wilmap.com.au/

The "LIST" website of the Tasmanian Government has a sophisticated set of digital maps (cadastral, topographic, aerial photos, street atlas). Start here: http://www.thelist.tas.gov.au/listmap/listmapstart.jsp and usually choose "Topographic" which brings up a search page for places and towns. The site can be slow to load and tricky to use in detail but with perseverance can yield very detailed results.


 

14.9  

METROPOLITAIN DRAINAGE BOARD SURVEY PLANS

With the coming of sewage to Hobart houses in the early 1900s, the Metropolitan Drainage Board produced detailed survey plans of Hobart between about 1905 and 1908, showing the outline of the building and any outbuildings. If you are tracing the history of a property, you may be able to tell if today's building was there at that time by the outline. Updated plans produced over the years can show when a building was removed, altered or built.

The maps have been scanned and made available on-line by the Archives office of Tasmania and can be found here (panning and zooming required): http://catalogue.statelibrary.tas.gov.au/item/?id=553788.

Copies of these plans are held at the Hobart City Council and also at the Tasmaniana Library, State Library of Tasmania, Murray Street. The latter versions of hardcopy are probably more accessible.


 

14.10  

ELECTORAL MAPS

An atlas showing the change in Federal electoral boundaries around Australia since 1900 is at the Reference section of the State Library of Tasmania, Murray Street, Hobart.


 

14.11  

SURVEYING HISTORY

"Backsight : a history of surveying in colonial Tasmania" by Alan Jones (1989) is a useful reference on the subject of surveying and mapmaking in Tasmania. It contains reproductions of many early maps of Hobart Town in particular.


 

14.12  

NOMENCLATURE

The 'Pretyman Index' of Tasmanian place names and their origins has been scanned by the Archives Office of Tasmania and available on-line: http://search.archives.tas.gov.au/default.aspx?detail=1&type=S&id=NS2809.

Changes to Tasmanian place names are recorded here: http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~austas/towns.htm.

Scottish place names in Tasmania are listed here: http://www.rampantscotland.com/placenames/placename_hobart.htm.

An easy-to-use facility for finding modern localities in Australia is the Geoscience Australia site here: http://www.ga.gov.au/map/names/.



© Malcolm Ward 2005-2011. All rights reserved
Submitted by Malcolm Ward 28-Jul-2005
Updated 30-Nov-2011