Australian maps, especially those covering Victoria, are the main focus of this collection, though the Library also has many maps from overseas.
As well as over 110,000 maps – enough to carpet metropolitan Melbourne – the collection includes geographical and cartographic reference books and atlases.
There is a wealth of rare and antique maps in the collection, including maps showing the first outlines of the Australian coast, charts by Matthew Flinders and early Dutch maps. The 19th-century township, parish, county and squatting maps can provide all sorts of leads for those investigating their family history.
Drainage plans produced by the Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works (MMBW) from the late 19th century to the 1940s give a fascinating historical record of Melbourne streetscapes and features.
There are several thousand auction plans showing the layout of suburban estates, and large collections of fire insurance plans, aerial photographs, geological and goldmining maps. We also have topographic maps from government agencies such as Land Victoria and Geoscience Australia.
Significant overseas holdings include maps by the British Ordnance Survey, nautical charts covering all corners of the globe, and 19th-century maps of India.
Over 25,000 maps and plans have been digitised and made available online through our catalogue, including the majority of our historical Victorian county and parish maps, MMBW, auction and fire insurance plans.
The Library's map collection is held in storage and can be viewed by contacting Library staff to arrange an appointment in the Heritage Collections Reading Room.