There are lots of reasons why you may want to know the history of your house or apartment.
A renovation might call for an era-sensitive design, you may be keen to name your house in a way that is faithful to its origins, or you could have won the keys to a new address and want to understand the background to the place you now call home.
Here is how to trace the provenance of your property – and even find out who used to sleep there before you.
WHO USED TO LIVE IN MY HOUSE?
The National Library of Australia has created an online guide and a detailed YouTube tutorial explaining building styles (Victorian, Federation, Colonial, Art Deco, Queenslander and more), how to find photos of properties and use their services to richly research a home.
The librarians explain that a homeowner once asked for their advice to trace the history of previous residents, as they feared their house was haunted by former owners.
And yes, finding out who owned a property many years – or generations – prior is possible, although no word on verifying poltergeists in the process.
The paper trail relating to who once lived at an address will depend on when it was built, and in the tutorial, the library staff explain how to mine historical records held by state land title offices, street directories and electoral rolls.
IT’S A MATTER OF RECORD
Real estate transactions are considered an open market trade, despite the fact some buyers and sellers prefer to keep a sale result close to their chest.
An online listing may not disclose all of the results and previous sales, to track the home back thought the years as it changed hands, but the land title will have a wealth of info on the property’s provenance.
And you are entitled to access it, although it attracts a fee.
Each state is individually responsible for managing property records. This is where to go in each state and territory to buy a land title:
Canberra – Access Canberra Land Titles Office
Queensland – Titles Queensland
New South Wales – NSW Land Registry Services
Victoria – Land Vic
Tasmania – Land Titles Office
South Australia – Land Services SA
Western Australia – Landgate
Northern Territory – Land Titles Office
READ ALL ABOUT IT
Old newspapers are a fantastic avenue for unpicking a home’s history. They can be treasure troves for quirky stories, and perhaps where our haunted house friend may have the most success.
The aptly-named Trove is the national library’s online portal that houses old newspapers and gazettes, and can be investigated for mentions of addresses or stories relating to a suburb or a street.
Browsing is simple and the decades-old publications are digitised, you can see the original yarns in their inky glory.
Source: click here