Maps & Plans
There are many BRAC resources that will be easier to navigate if you have the right map or plan! Lots of digital and hard copy maps can be sourced from places like TROVE, PROV and your local library, however we've collected those that can be most useful when using our collection here.
The Victorian Government's Heritage Place Names can be useful if you come across a locality in a historical document you're not familiar with and doesn't appear in map searches.
BRAC records are collected from a region that includes modern day council areas of Campaspe, Buloke, Swan Hill, Gannawarra, Loddon, Greater Bendigo, Mildura and Mount Alexander - click HERE to view maps of each municipal area.
Council boundaries changed over time and often you will need to know which historic shire area’s records to research to find the person or property you’re interested in. This can be challenging as maps of municipal boundary changes are not readily available.
For example, if you were interested in the township of Raywood around the turn of the century, you would need to access the Borough of Raywood collection; if you were interested in the same town in the 1930s, you would need to access the Shire of Marong collection instead.
To help guide you to which council’s records will be best to access for a given area over time, we have compiled a timeline of councils, shires, boroughs, cities and townships that have operated in our catchment area since 1855 to the 1994 amalgamations HERE.
We will soon have a map available to use with the timeline to help you better pinpoint a town or district - watch this space!
As well as being divided into shire areas, Victoria was also mapped using large county areas and within them, smaller parish areas (cadastral divisions). Depending on your research, it can also be helpful to use parish plans.
BRAC's catchment includes the counties of Bendigo and Gunbower, and parts of Rodney, Millewa, Tatchera, Gladstone, Kara Kara, Weeah and Karkarooc – click to see a map of each county and the parishes within it.
To then see a parish plan, you can enter the parish name and the word 'plan' (i.e. "Mincha plan") into the search bar on the PROV website and filter by digital images to find the PDF download (files are large and can take a little while to download.
For larger townships (Castlemaine, Mildura, Bendigo, Greater Sandhurst) there are key maps that help you select from multiple plans across that area. Some plans, like Harcourt and Bridgewater, also have an accompanying schedule that give the list of names that may be too small to fit on the plan.
Reading a Parish Plan
Specific properties are referenced by using a hierarchy of County-Parish-Section-Allotment, and you will find this format in lots of Public Records, including wills, probate and rate books. Highlighted in this segment is the street (orange), Section (green) and Allotment (blue).
The Parish Plans record who bought the block from the Crown (red), the date the title was released (green), the size of the block in acres, roods & perches (blue) and the length of the frontage to the main street/s (yellow). The map only records the original purchase, not subsequent transactions between private individuals. Sometimes the Plan will record other information, such as the path of original waterways and if properties were on a miner’s right.