See what your suburb looked like 100 years ago!

Monday, 26 November 2018

Over 40,000 historic property plans of 250 Sydney suburbs - from Allawah to Zetland - have been digitised and made available for the first time on the State Library of NSW’s website.

“For Sydneysiders obsessed with real estate, the plans provide a fascinating visual record of how our city has expanded over time,” says Maggie Patton, the State Library’s head curator.

“You can see how your street, suburb and the city centre were imagined by town planners of the past,” said Ms Patton.

Dating from as early as the 1860s up to the 1930s, the plans were produced by real estate agents and auctioneers to advertise new subdivisions and land sales. They range from hand‐drawn surveyors’ plans to beautifully designed colour posters.

“Some of the plans are annotated with sales figures, and you can see how public transport or access to shops, parks and beaches influenced the popularity of a suburb,” said Ms Patton.

“Estate agents used creative marketing strategies to entice people to new suburbs, by promoting special events with free transport, refreshments or entertainment for the kids.”

Many of the plans from the early 20th century focused on selling a dream lifestyle close to beaches, sprawling parklands and access to a golf course!

Download full media release (PDF 141.84 KB)