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Seven million insights into the past shape a safer future for Victoria

Media release

This is an archived media release. Links were correct at the time of publication, but may have changed or expired.

Monday 27 November 2017

Around 7 million records detailing the history of land use in Victoria are now available online after a major digitisation project, funded by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, was released today at State Library Victoria.

The Sands and McDougall directories record commercial, industrial and residential land use from 1860 to 1974 and are used by historians, genealogists, urban planners, property vendors and buyers.

More than 50,000 pages and 24 volumes of the directories are now accessible from anywhere in the world, and reveal Victoria’s rich social history as well as help identify potential land contamination from past industries.

Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, Lily D’Ambrosio, announced the online release today accessible through the State Library catalogue.

Kate Torney, State Library Victoria CEO, said that making information accessible is critical to ensuring it can be used by all Victorians.

‘These important directories tell the story of Victoria through its people and places. This resource is in high demand, so it’s wonderful to now be able to provide broader access through our digital collections.’

The Library has digitised the directories in five-year intervals, providing a comprehensive overview of Victoria’s land-use history. State Library Victoria will continue to digitise the remaining records as part of its ongoing digitisation program.

To search the digitised Sands and McDougall directories, visit The first half of the collection is now accessible and the full collection will be available this week.