We hold historic records from many local governments, but none in as much quantity and diversity as those from the City of Melbourne council.

Scroll below to see a number of record collections about the City of Melbourne.

Historical context

The earliest records are from 1841, and cover a number of areas including electricity supply, the construction of buildings, and licenses to brew alcohol. After the establishment of a Colony-wide Parliament (‘responsible government’) in 1856, the Melbourne Council assumed the roles we are familiar with today: rates, roads and rubbish; as well as parks, public art, real estate, markets and working with the diverse range of people and businesses that make up a major world city.

What do I need to know before I start?

  • If you are looking for an individual it is very useful to know their address in the city
  • If you are researching a business, address and dates of operation are important

The boundaries of the City of Melbourne changed several times in the nineteenth century, covering parts of inner-city suburbs Collingwood, Fitzroy, Richmond, South Melbourne and St Kilda.  You may need to look at the records of these municipalities as well.  The State Library of Victoria has digitised a set of early Sands and MacDougall maps of Melbourne that show the Council boundary. You can find a link to this map on the right under Researcher resources.

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Record Series Number (VPRS): 11200, 11201
Record Series Number (VPRS): 9288, 9289
Various municipal councils
For legislative and municipal elections (1857-
Record Series Numbers (VPRS): 10742
Various series
Record Series Number (VPRS): 3181, 3182, 3183, 17019, 8904