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Exploring the Merri Creek: archival sources for exploring an inner urban waterway


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Paper co-written and delivered at the Watermarks, Water's Heritage Australia ICOMOS and National Trusts of Australia Conference, Melbourne, Australia, 28 October 2011.

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Exploring the Merri Creek: archival sources for exploring an inner urban waterway

  1. 1. Exploring the Merri Creekarchival sources for interpreting an inner urban waterway Abigail Belfrage Project Manager, PROV Crowdsourcing Pilot Kasia Zygmuntowicz Coordinator, Online Research 1
  2. 2. Today’s sessionKasiaRole of PROVMerri Creek case studyAbiFurther water-related records held at PROV 2
  3. 3. Public Record Office VictoriaState’s archival authorityTake custody of permanent public recordsDetermine which records must be kept and which can be destroyedSet standards for governmentMake records accessible to government and the people of Victoria 3
  4. 4. Merri Creek at Northcote and CoburgThis is the Merri creek at Northcote near the St Georges Road bridge (left andright) and Coburg Lakes(middle)Explore the Merri Creek trail through the collection of Public Record OfficeVictoria, the Victorian State Government ArchivesMaps and plansPhotographs, lantern slides, negatives, films, audioWorking drawings, specifications, contract books, building filesCorrespondence registers and filesDigitisation ProjectDespatch e-newsletterOne Place Many StoriesPROVwiki 4
  5. 5. VPRS 8168/P2 Historic Plan Collection, MD1My favourite series at PROV, and one of the best to explore Victoria on paper, isthe Historic Plan Collection.Abi will describe this further, but I would like to show you a plan from thisseries: the Geological Survey of Victoria MD 1, 1863Geological Survey of Victoria , Selwyn 1863A0-08168-P0002-003334 along Merri Creek.jpgShowing not only the geology but quite a bit of topography...Follow Merri from confluence of Yarra upstream 5
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  7. 7. VPRS 16171/P1 Regional Land Office Parish and Township Plans Digital Reference Set, Plans H-K, Parish of Jika Jika J-2796Parish Plans are available onlineVPRS 16171/P1 Regional Land Office Parish and Township Plans DigitalReference Set, Plans H-K, Parish of Jika Jika J-2796 7
  8. 8. Notations all over the margins, the Merri spilling over the edge of the plan anddown into the Yarra 8
  9. 9. Zooming right in to some of the details – not just subdivisions, lot numbers, acresroods and perches but...Ceres; Old Inebriate Retreat; Township of Pentridge; notations references to GovGazette; other plans, details in the margin; Country Roads Board; municipalboundaries, rail lines and stations; drains 9
  10. 10. Looking into the Archives VPRS11/P0 unit 10 item 658- Letter from Assistant Protector of Aborigines William Thomas relative to a grant for Merri Creek Aboriginal school and enclosing a note from the teacher of the Aboriginal School Date 12/03/1847VPRS 11 is digitised and available online 10
  11. 11. Detail fromVPRS 11/P0 unit 10 item 658 Showing the location of the Aboriginal School (marked as ‘Mission’) between the Merri Creek and the River Yarra. Note also the ford, Dights Mill and other buildings nearby. 11
  12. 12. Looking into the Archives VPRS 242/P0 Crown Reserves Correspondence unit 101, item C54228 Application from the East Melbourne Cricket Club to remove 100 loads of soil from the Merri Creek. Application approved May 1892VPRS242-101-C54228EastMelbCricketClub1892Excellent and famous material for the ol’ cricket pitch at the Melbourne CricketGround and many others, applications were sought for removal of soil, alsogravel, rock... 12
  13. 13. VA 1007 Melbourne Water Corporation (formerly MMBW)VPRS 8604/P2 unit1Plan 95 scale160ft:1inch 13
  14. 14. One Place Many StoriesDEECD FUSE project developed by PROV, HCV and Spatial Vision screenshot shows the introductory page on the PROVwiki History Council of Victoria and PROV partnership, with Spatial Vision. 14
  15. 15. One Place Many Stories Mash up of MMBW 160ft:1inch detail plan over a Google map of the same area – Northcote, East Brunswick and North FitzroyDescribe the theory behind One Place and the ability to locate digitised mapsfrom any online collection over google maps and satellite view 15
  16. 16. VA 1007 Melbourne Water Corporation (formerly MMBW)VPRS 8601/P1 unit 39 Plan 1941 scale 40ft:1inch School 08601-P0001-000039-01941 16
  17. 17. MMBW Detailed Base Plans VPRS 8601/P1 unit 39 Plan No. 1941 Detail – References to Field and Level Books VPRS 8600/P1 Survey Field Books VPRS 8599/P1 Survey Level BooksSchool 08601-P0001-000039-01941 17
  18. 18. MMBW Detailed Base Plans 40 ft:1 inch VPRS 8601/P2 unit 5 item 1939 18
  19. 19. MMBW Detailed Base Plans 40 ft:1 inch VPRS 8601/P2 unit 5 item 1939 19
  20. 20. MMBW Detailed Base Plans 40 ft:1 inch VPRS 8601/P2 unit 5 item 1939 20
  21. 21. VPRS 8662/P1 Photographic Images (Positives – prints) unit 8 image 13 First replanting of the Merri Creek in the 1980sThank you, now I’ll hand you over to Abi who’ll look at some other records heldat PROV that can be used for research into water-related landscapes. 21
  22. 22. 8168-P2-391, Historic Plan Collection, Venus Bay and Andersen Inlet Many, many water-related records I’ll focus on coastal areas, inland waterways, infrastructure and water authorities Some pointers for using the online catalogue speccy records only…. Speaking of spectacular records, lets start with a map of a coastal area from one of our most treasured series, the Historic Plan Collection, which I’ll tell you more about soon. This is a map of a portion of Victorian coastline from Cape Paterson to Venus Bay in West Gippsland. 22
  23. 23. Google Earth image of Cape Patterson, Venus Bay and Andersen Inlet, 2010 A screen shot of that same area from Google Earth. 23
  24. 24. Click to edit Master title styleAnd, here’s the plan again in all its survey data glory.An incredible amount of detail in this map – lets look at some. 24
  25. 25. Looking closely at the title details we can see that the map was drawn up aspart of a survey of the Victorian coastline undertaken between 1840 – 1870.[read notes below]In this close up we can see year royal navy soundings in fathomsCS Coastal Surveys (1802 - 1923)These surveys were intended to define the configuration of the coastline, describethe structure of coastal vegetation and identify any land occupations. They werean integral part of the early topographic survey of Victoria. The few plans whichpre-date 1840 are copies of important surveys completed before the MelbourneSurvey Office was established (1837).MCS Miscellaneous Coastal Surveys (1802 - 1908)An adjunct to one coastal survey sub-collection, but containing more diversematerial. It includes tracings of coastal survey plans, published shipping charts ofVictorian, Australian and overseas ports and drawings of harbour developments. 25
  26. 26. This close up of the map of Venus Bay and Anderson Inlet shows a range of datarecorded about the landscape:Features, such as points and hills, and names given to featuresExposed sand banksVegetation typesdepth measurements taken “soundings” – I think the fractions are particularlycute.Other navigation and/or survey marks 26
  27. 27. Coastal Areas • VPRS 8168 Historic Plan Collection (1802 – 1984) • 10,398 drawings or prints • 50 sub series eg. CS Coastal Surveys (1802 - 1923) Click to edit Master title style • Other coast-related records • Records created by local government bodies, Crown Lands Department (parish plans, correspondence), planning records, Chief Secretary’s correspondence.This series created by the Crown Lands Department (and its predecessors &successor agencies). There are 10,398 drawings or prints in the Historic PlanCollection. They include:•preliminary maps for surveys which enabled the three tier cadastral system to bedeveloped (the three tier cadastral system comprises parish, township and countyplans)•plans produced to complement the cadastral system and other systemsThe kinds of historical information often found on these "historical" plansinclude:early descriptions of soils and native vegetationlocation of huts, fences, gardens and other capital improvements made bysquatterslocation of other buildingstracks used by original settlersreserves set aside for public useearly place nameslocation of pastoral runsship wrecksthe general progress of European settlement at various timesprogress of cadastral, geodetic and physiographic surveys at particular times 27
  28. 28. Ports & Harbours• Records created about• infrastructure development and maintenance• usage; shipping, immigration• Click to edit Master title style Record types• Plans, photographs, immigration lists, statistics, meeting agendas and minutes, correspondence. 28
  29. 29. Ports & Harbours 8357-p3-3-photo103 Photographic Collection, Melbourne Harbor Trust CommissionersImages of the Melbourne Harbour Trust’s works along the Yarra River and thePort Of Melbourne. This one taken in 1866 29
  30. 30. Ports & Harbours 8357-p1-photo5 Photographic Collection, Melbourne Harbor Trust CommissionersConstruction of Coode Channel, c. 1880 30
  31. 31. Ports & Harbours 8357-p3-3-photo1038357-p3-3-photo1471, Photographic Collection, Melbourne Harbor Trust Commissioners Dredging of Coode Canal, c. 1930 8357-p3-4-photo1471.jpg This series is being digitised and eventually will be made available through the online catalogue. 31
  32. 32. Ports & HarboursAn example of an Agency page showing:Agency/department title, & agency number in the Archival Control SystemWe’re on the Records tab, and can see the series titles and date rangesthat there are 84 different series that were created or contributed to by thisAgency, the Melbourne Harbor Trust Commissioners.Other research traps for young players….Note spelling of harbour/harbor, qualifiers for date ranges and public accessstatus. 32
  33. 33. Ports & HarboursAn example of an Agency page showing:Agency/department title, & agency number in the Archival Control SystemDate range of the Agency –Description of the establishment & the functions of the agency – there’s moredetail further down the page. Many agency pages include text about the agency’srelationship with other agencies (eg. predecessors and successors). These can befollowed up on the catalogue manually. (We are working towards a navigationsystem that enable people to view these relationships visually through a chartrather than via text.) 33
  34. 34. Rural Water Authorities and Inland Waterways• Agencies such as• State Rivers and Water Supply Commission (VA 723)• Sinclair Knight Mertz (VA 3748)• Plans, aerial photographs, correspondence, contracts, reports, Click to edit Master title style legal opinions, Royal Commissions, film & video, water rights• VPRS 8168 Historic Plan Collection• WS Water Supply (1858 - 1914). Plans of rural water supply works, including reservoirs, channels and related buildings.• FEAT Feature Plans (1838 – 1948)• Various rivers eg. Loddon, Glenelg, Goulburn, Wimmera, Gippsland Rivers (1837 – 1899). These are being digitised – becoming available online. 34
  35. 35. 35
  36. 36. 8168-P2-1577 Lake Condah Historic Plan Collection, no date.A portion of the Lake Condah landscape 36
  37. 37. FeaturesCreek namesSurvey pointsHigh range of trap rocks 37
  38. 38. Urban Water Authorities and Infrastructure • Melbourne Water Corporation (VA 1007), formerly Melbourne Metropolitan Board of Works (MMBW) • Water retailers eg. Yarra Valley Water Click to edit Master title style • VPRS 8168 Historic Plan Collection, MELB RL Melbourne Roll (1851 - 1910) landscape designs for city parks, maps showing streets and buildings which were drawn in preparation for the laying of sewerage and the installation of reticulated water supply and plans of dock and pier installations.MELB. RL Melbourne Roll (1851 - 1910)This series comprises plans of the Melbourne area which were originally storedrolled up, rather than being laid flat in conventional horizontal plan presses.Some of the items are exceptionally large and have been micro-filmed in manysections.Subject matter is varied, including landscape designs for city parks, mapsshowing streets and buildings which were drawn in preparation for the laying ofsewerage and the installation of reticulated water supply and plans of dock andpier installations.Secondary sources: Yan Yean; A history of Early Melbourne’s Water Supply,2003, Tony Dingle & Helen Doyle, Public Record Office Victoria, Melbourne 38
  39. 39. Click to edit Master title style46 different series have been transferred to PROV.•Survey level books and plans•Survey field books and Plans (from the survey of melbourne propertiescommencing in 1893)•Photographs•Property sewerage plans•Record plans, showing properties and whole neighbourhoods•Planning schemes 39
  40. 40. Collecting Institutions • are digitising their collections • making them findable,Click to edit Master title style downloadable, reusable • making online spaces for people to interpret records and share information about research – eg. PROV wiki 40
  41. 41. And furthermore…. • Stay in touch and hear about exhibitions digitisation projects and transfers via Twitter, or PROV’s e-newsletter ‘Despatch’ Click to edit Master title styleStay in touch with collecting institutions via Twitter, RSS, email newsletters - PROV has its mighty e-newsletter ‘Despatch’ - or hardcopy publications, and keep up with their latest transfers, acquisitions orexhibitions, and availability of digitised collection items. 41