Researching your Home and Property

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Researching property is not just about bricks and mortar – it can also offer a fascinating glimpse into the social fabric of a home, street and even community. There are many different entry points into researching property at the Public Record Office Victoria. How and where you start, depends largely on where the property is located and what we have in our collection relating to your area.

Researching properties in and around Ballarat can be exciting but also complex. Researchers should be aware that records from more than one local government may need to be consulted when researching properties in Ballarat today. From its establishment in 1856 and until 1921, the boundaries shown on this Township Plan below were the effective boundaries of the City of Ballarat. Ballarat East and Sebastopol were separate towns, maintaining their own records until Ballarat East joined with Ballarat in 1921 and Sebastopol in 1994. What are now the familiar Ballarat suburbs of Ballarat North and Nerrina were once part of the Shire of Bungaree. Wendouree was part of the Shire of Ballarat. Mt Pleasant was shared between Ballarat East and the Shire of Buninyong.

To help you get started with your home and property research, we are developing several studies featuring suburbs of Ballarat. The purpose of these Ballarat case studies is to help researchers find sources of information and to flag possible difficulties. The first of these is a Case Study of East Street, Ballarat East.

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Case Study: East Street, Ballarat East

If you are researching the history of your property rate records are a great place to start. Rate and valuation records typically list the address, the name and occupation of the ratepayer, a brief description of the dwelling, the rates paid and sometimes the owner's name, and the type of the house.

Rate records can be a rich source of information. To demonstrate the breadth of information that can be gleaned from rate records, we have undertaken a Case Study of East Street, Ballarat East. We have explored eight allotments in the street using the rate records dated from 1859 to 1978. Each allotment is represented by a unique page on the PROV Wiki. On these pages you can see a list of occupants, the dates they lived in or owned the property and, in some cases, the occupations and/or type of dwelling.

To demonstrate how rate records can be just the beginning of your search, we have added an extra column called ‘Links to other Records’. In this column, using the information provided in the rate records (names, dates, occupations), we have been able to find other related records, for example Applications for Mining Leases (see Thomas Blackett at 7 East Street) through to Teacher Records (see Mary Rail at 1 East Street).

To explore the East Street Case Study, browse the street numbers on the map below.

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Number 1, East Street, Ballarat East
Number 3, East Street, Ballarat East
Number 5, East Street, Ballarat East
Number 7, East Street, Ballarat East
Number 9, East Street, Ballarat East
Number 11, East Street, Ballarat East
Number 13, East Street, Ballarat East
Number 15, East Street, Ballarat East


Case Study: Albert Street Sebastopol

We hope the next case study, on Albert Street Sebastopol, will help researchers by demonstrating records that can be used to build histories of properties when there are gaps in the rate records.The case study on Albert Street Sebastopol looks at the history of properties located in Albert Street, from the intersection of Vale and Albert Streets down to Bridge and Victoria Streets.Sebastopol separated from Buninyong, becoming the Borough of Sebastopol, in 1864. The earliest rate records that PROV holds for the Borough of Sebastopol, however, start in 1906. These list ratepayers, occupation, details of properties rated, but do not record house numbers to locate properties in the street until 1933 - 4. The Sebastopol study aims to show what can be uncovered about your property when there are gaps in the rate records. We can find some of the earliest residents of Albert Street,purchasing their blocks soon after the Borough of Sebastopol was formed, noted on the Regional Land Office’s Township Plan of Sebastopol. Some of these residents played a leading role in Sebastopol, serving on the Borough Council,active in local mining ventures and businesses. Others were local blacksmiths,school teachers and surveyors. Links from the allotments found on the map will take you to more records that reveal their lives and the lives of their families in Sebastopol.Records include mining survey plans, applications to residence under Miners Right, mining company registration files, inquests,probate papers and municipal records of the Borough of Sebastopol.

 Begin your exploration of Sebastopol through the records here: Regional Land Office Parish and Township Plans Sebastopol -2 Township Plan – Albert Street, Sebastopol

Please note that this is a work in progress and that we are continuing to add to and edit these PROV Wiki pages. We also welcome your additions to these pages.

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