The history of your house

In researching the history of your home or property, two important resources are available for your use: rate books (and related resources as detailed below) and the Sands & McDougall Melbourne Directories.

Council rate books

The rate books are a source of valuable original research both for local and family history. They list all the rateable properties in the three former municipalities. The main requirement for searching is to have the full address of the property, including the property number.

The rate book for each year records the properties by:

  • Name of tenant
  • Occupation of tenant
  • Name of owner
  • Address of property
  • Number of rooms
  • Fabric of dwelling: brick, wood, iron
  • Occasionally numbers of people residing in dwelling
  • Nett annual value of property.

The following rate books are fully indexed and available on microfilm through the Local History Service.

  • Emerald Hill rate books from 1855 to 1883
  • South Melbourne rate books from 1883 to 1938
  • St Kilda rate books from 1857 to 1961
  • Sandridge rate books from 1860 to 1884
  • Port Melbourne rate books from 1884 to 1965
  • South and Port Melbourne rate books are at the Emerald Hill Library & Heritage Centre.

City of Melbourne valuation books 1843-1860

Valuation books are much the same as rate books, and can be used when rate books are unavailable. These City of Melbourne valuation books list properties which were erected before Emerald Hill (pre-1855), St Kilda (pre-1857) and Sandridge (pre-1860) became separate muncipalities.   

The books are arranged in Wards. St Kilda and Emerald Hill were both in Lonsdale Ward, and Sandridge was in MacArthur Ward. There are no indexes to these books. The valuation books are on microfiche and microfilm.

 What house is that? is an interactive program developed by Heritage Victoria.  

For more information or assistance on researching the history of your house contact Local History Services

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