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Where can I find old architectural plans and drawings?

Unfortunately, architectural plans have not commonly been kept as archives. This is particularly the case for commercial and residential buildings. However, there are a number of resources which you can try, including:

For government buildings try the relevant state archives. State archives may also hold a limited amount of plans for commercial and residential properties. Examples of collections include:

Queensland State Archives Brief Guide to Government Building Records.

State Records Office of Western Australia Architectural Records.

State Records NSW Archives In Brief 71 Records of the Colonial (Government) Architect.

Archives Office of Tasmania Index to Public Works 1877-1935.

National Archives of Australia fact sheets.

For commercial or residential buildings you may find archives in relevant state libraries or museums, local councils or local historical societies. The State Library of NSW has an online guide to their architectural collection and the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney holds a collection of architectural plans. The State Library of Victoria also holds a large architecture collection.

Notable architectural collections held at universities include:

Melbourne University Architecture, Building and Planning Library.

University of Sydney SciTech Library.

University of New South Wales Faculty of the Built Environment.

Queensland Architectural Archive held at the Fryer Library, University of Queensland

Architecture Museum at the University of South Australia.

Some prominent public institutions may hold copies of architectural plans in their own archives. For example, the Australian Academy of Science website provides details of documents held for the institute's Shine Dome. For National Trust properties contact the relevant state Trust regarding their archives.

You can search the Library’s online catalogue for items on specific architects or buildings. A manual of architectural history sources in Australia is a particularly useful guide to finding architectural archives.

Trove can help you find and get items at libraries near you. See the FAQ What is Trove and how can I use it?

See also the FAQ How do I trace the history of my house?

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Last update: 2014-02-10 13:59
Author: General Reference Enquiry