The areas around Gresford, Allynbrook, Paterson and the Hunter River district in New South Wales, have long been famous for their rich farming and grazing land. In the 19th century, large estates were owned and worked by early settlers such as George Townsend (Trevallyn), Charles Boydell (Camyr Allyn), William Barker Boydell (Caergwrle), John Phillips Webber (Guygallen), Alexander Park (Lewinsbrook) and John Cory (Vacy Estate).
However, by the early 20th century, many of these large estates and farms in the area were subdivided into smaller allotments and sold at public auction. With many of the properties bounded by the Paterson or Allyn Rivers and their tributaries, buyers could purchase rich agricultural land, perfect for small dairy farms, crop growing, orchards and grape vines.
" Many of the lots, containing areas of rich alluvial flats, will make splendid dairies, while every block is sweet and quick fattening, with an abundance of herbage and fattening grasses." (Bingleburra estate, Gresford, land sale poster, 1938)
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Land sales and auctions were advertised using colourful posters and subdivsion plans which showed the various allotments being offered for sale. Many featured local sketches and descriptions of the surrounding area to attract the attention and interest of local buyers.
The Library has a wonderful collection of over 40,000 subdivision plans, including hundreds relating to the Hunter River district and surrounding region. Dating from as early as the 1800s to the 1950s, these plans reveal the history of urban development in the area. Visually stiking, they range in format from hand-drawn surveyors’ plans to decorative colour-lithographed posters. They now provide a valuable resource for genealogists, local historians and art lovers alike.