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Community & Business

15 August, 2023

See what Armatree and Gular looked like 100-years-ago!

Over 4600 historic plans of 460 NSW regional towns - including Armatree and Gulargambone - have just been digitised and made available for the first time on the State Library of NSW’s website.

According to the library’s maps expert, Maggie Patton, “subdivision plans are an absolute goldmine for genealogists and local historians as they allow us to place ourselves in the past — on a street, in a town, where we once lived, where our ancestors established themselves.”

“What’s more, they are filled with fascinating details like property prices, town descriptions and sometimes a photograph,” says Ms Patton.

Subdivision plans were ephemeral items, usually discarded once a development site was sold. Luckily, the state library has acquired and preserved these 100- year-old plans for the people of NSW and beyond, to access and use.

Dating from as early as the 1880s, up to the 1930s, the plans were produced by real estate agents and auctioneers to advertise new subdivisions and land sales. They range from hand-drawn surveyors’ plans to beautifully designed colour posters.

“They provide a fascinating visual record of how your town was imagined by town planners of the past, and how it has developed and expanded over time,” says Ms Patton.

“Some of the plans are annotated with sales figures, and you can see how public transport or access to shops, parks and local attractions influenced the popularity of a town.

“Estate agents used creative marketing strategies to entice people to regional locations by promoting special events with free transport, refreshments or entertain- ment for the kids.”

Of lcoal interest is a subdivision plan for Gulargambone, dated from a sale held on April 26, 1912. Armatree is also featured on the site in an auction sale for town lots borchure, dated from February 1913.

For the past 10 years the State Library has been pro- gressively digitising its collection of over 40,000 subdivision plans of suburban and regional NSW with fund- ing support from the NSW government. These are now publicly available on the library’s website. 

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