Every house has a history, even a newly built house.
Explore what resources can help in tracing the history of a house, and the land it's built on.
Focus on reason for search:
Is it for renovation, genealogy, biographical search, architectural history, or land use history?
Use one or all of the strategies below as appropriate.
Land title search: Lot on Plan number from Rates Notice
Not at State Library of Queensland.
Department of Natural Resources, Mining and Energy sells and provides documents and services at:
- Titles Registry online enquiries
- the Museum of Lands, Mapping and Surveying - firstname.lastname@example.org
See Useful websites for family historians > Queensland > Department of Natural resources etc
Titles will name land owners, indicate mortgages over land, easements and further subdivisions
Examine the transfers closely: what story do they tell?
Titles do not provide details of the house but mortgages often provided funding for building a house.
Maps: Find the exact block of land in context
An estate map outlines information on an estate at the time it was advertised for sale. This could include a map of the estate with a local sketch which provides context for the area. Transport and facilities such as gas and electricity could be mentioned.
Estate maps, McKellar maps and other cadastral maps at State Library, Level 4
Estate maps: red folders adjacent to delivery area, Level 4 – organised by suburb
Estate maps online: Use suburb name and select options: 'maps' and 'SLQ digitised collections'
Estate maps on Historypin - browse by suburb, area or street and select a map ‘pin’ to get more information about the estate.
Note: Brisbane City Council (BCC) holds important records.
See Useful websites for family historians > Queensland > Brisbane City Council
BCC records: 5/107-123 Muriel Ave, Skyline Business Centre, Moorooka email@example.com
Brisbane City Council Water and Sewerage Maps 1917, bound volume, open access, Level 4
Brisbane records include detail plans. They show the footprint of the house at the time the plans were recorded. They are the most likely source of house name.
- Use map indexes to find appropriate detail plan number and then check Brisbane City Archives Detail Plans online: sewerage/water maps Brisbane suburbs 1911-1973
- Original Surveyor's field books 1911–1973, provide more information than the detail plans but require a visit to Brisbane City Archives.
- Mainly cover inner, older suburbs. Use detail plan number to locate. There is a cost.
Aerial Map/photograph of Brisbane
- Qimagery contains the 1946 and 1951 aerial maps plus many others
Brisbane City Council, Landowners 1900 for Brisbane City and Suburbs
- Brisbane Images > Brisbane Historic Maps > Subdivision Plans > Brisbane Parish map showing landowners
Directories, electoral rolls and maps
- Resident entries in Queensland Post Office Directories finish in 1939.
- Note electoral rolls may be more useful in finding residents at a more exact address earlier. See electoral roll notes below.
Refidex/street directories of Brisbane: See also UBDs. Level 4
- Use One Search, words "street directories" and limit to 'SLQ collections'.
Old directories digitised online:
- at One Search; Use words “street directories’ and limit to 'SLQ digitised collections'. Example: Harris' street and road directory. 1916-1917
Maps: CD-ROMs Family history desk Level 3
- Greater Brisbane area: alphabetical index of changed street names: C1940s.
- Greater Brisbane area: atlases and street directories: set of 4 1931-c1948.
- Brisbane Directory 1919 (Yates & Jones)
- Available online through Ancestry (Library Edition), use onsite at State Library. Using the right sidebar, click on 'Census and Voter lists', more. Then select 'Australia electoral rolls1903-1980'. Search broadly. Names appear at an address earlier and, in many cases, a more precise one, than in directories. All household members on the electoral roll are listed with their full names and occupations so there is more information to identify the right person or family.
- See also Queensland electoral rolls on microfiche until January 2008. Available on Level 3.
- Curator, Kaye Nardella, (firstname.lastname@example.org). There are charges for research and documents.
- cadastral maps, pastoral run maps, and others.
Plans and Architectural Drawings: designing and building the house
Architectural plans and architects
John Oxley Library
- Search One Search catalogue by name of architect. For example: Dods 27671 Hall and Dods Architectural Drawings 1898-1984. View Level 4.
- Queensland overlay maps for architectural plans
Biographical details of architects
- Queensland architects of the 19th century : a biographical dictionary / Donald Watson; Judith McKay ;
- Index to this biographical dictionary
Commercial dwelling plans
Queensland Parliamentary Papers for Annual Reports of Workers Dwelling Scheme or similar.
Websites such as House History include plans released by the State Advances Corporation, Redicut Homes, Campbell Brothers and other house pattern books.
- They are organised by time period and embedded in the site accordingly.
- See Useful websites for family historians > Queensland
See also items in John Oxley Library. Check One Search catalogue: Subject: Architecture, Domestic – Designs and Plans
Brisbane City Archives: Brisbane Images < Queensland Houses (includes plans)
Brisbane City Council Archives Building Registers: alphabetical by street – gives name of owners, and whether Worker’s Dwelling or State Advances Corporation was involved. Sometimes gives builder’s name. Annotations show if it is a new building or an addition.
- Brisbane City Archives Register of Building Records – online 1903 – 1925 inner city, north of the river only; original Brisbane Council area.
Brisbane Images > Building records inc. detail plans > Building records 1903-September 1925
- Brisbane City Archives Building Registers October 1925-1945
Brisbane Images > Building records inc. detail plans > Building Registers October 1925-1945
- Registers are missing for the years: 1939 (index only) and there are no extant records for the period Sept 1934-January 1936 and April-Dec 1937.
- Entries are handwritten, chronological by address with owner’s name, cost, type of building and name of architect if any.
- The landowner’s name is needed to confirm it’s the right building. See BCC online guidance at site.
- The date in the register records is approval date so construction was soon after. Check for an index first.
- Brisbane City Archives Building Register Indexes October 1925-1943
Brisbane Images > Building records inc. detail plans > Building Register Indexes October 1925-1943
Entries are generally arranged alphabetically by street name (except for 1942 which is by owner’s name) and include: owners name, and reference number to the entry in the main building register. This can then be tracked back to the main register.
- Use for tenders, for house removals, for sale of land or house and land.
- Search in Trove using terms like tenders, house removals, by name of owner or by portion number e.g. “525 Red Hill”
- Refine by year and month to find tender advertisement.
- Use styles only as a guide to age. Houses may be built in a style out of the period.
- Weatherboard houses were moved; check for ‘available for removal’ notices in Trove newspapers
- Brisbane City Council has an online booklet, Your house has a history. It succinctly covers the main styles from the 19th Century to 20th Century.
- Brisbane house styles 1880 to 1940 : a guide to the affordable house / Judy Gale Rechner. Request then collect from Level 4.
- House History is organised by time periods and has booklets embedded in the site according to period covered.
Many councils also have guides for their area online. These include:
- Every house has a history - Ipswich City Council
- Researching the history of your Central Queensland home - Museum of Central Queensland
- The Toowoomba House - styles and history - 2nd Edition March 2000 - Toowoomba Regional Council
Photographs of the house
- Trove pictures: includes images of homes, streets etc. from all state libraries, the National Library, council libraries and more
- John Oxley Library photographs of suburbs, streets, residences: manual order at desk; check One Search catalogue e.g. search “Photographs – Red Hill”, Location CPC (Copy Print Collections) can be ordered online.
- Brisbane City Archives: Aerial photographs 1946, online
City Plan 2014 > Map Contents > Aerial on left hand side, then 1946
- Brisbane City Archives: Queensland Homes Images and plans
Brisbane Images > Queensland homes
- 6169 Frank and Eunice Corley House Photographs ca. 1970: organised by suburb but photographs increasingly available online. Check One Search catalogue. Includes most suburbs of Brisbane and in surrounding areas of Ipswich, Redcliffe, Toowoomba, Stanthorpe, Bundaberg, Maryborough, Gympie, Hervey Bay, Kingaroy, Nambour, Caboolture, Landsborough and nearby. 1960s and 1970s.
- Newspapers and magazines: Trove digitised newspapers
- Australian Women’s Weekly, Weekend Home Supplements.
- Card indexes: Level 4
- Old subject catalogue: Level 4 - search by Brisbane-residence-house name e.g. Roslyn
- Google street view: Note a few views over time are available since 2007. Open the image and click on street view to get the options.
The social and cultural dimension of life in the home
- Check newspapers online via Trove.
- Check State Library One Search catalogue for books, documents, stories and photographs of the families associated with the home and life of the times.
John Oxley Library, Level 4
- Local history publications: suburb, town, region and local government area e.g. Ithaca.
- Newspaper cuttings of towns, suburbs, cities in Queensland: manually order at des
- search for suburban history;
- search for name of suburb or estate e.g. Graham Estate, Ashgrove
- Prepare a checklist.
- Note subdivision, portion and plan numbers.
- Note where you have searched, list the source and the result.