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Mapping sources for South Australian history: Home

Get started on finding maps related to the history of South Australia

City of Adelaide Maps

Book plan of South Adelaide.
Scale not given.  [Adelaide : Surveyor General's Office, 1880].
Based on 1880 survey of City Engineer, Charles W. Smith.

[Fire Insurance Maps] surveyed and drawn for the Fire Underwriters' Association of South Australia, 1911. A set of fire insurance maps surveyed and drawn 1911-1914, showing land use including building usage, some street numbers and business names in the City of Adelaide.

Robert S. Frearson, 189-?. Robert S. Frearson's plan of the city of Adelaide: showing electric tram system, streets, town lots, municipal wards, and public buildings. Adelaide: 
Shows numbered allotments, churches, prominent buildings and hotels, letter receivers and tramways.

Kingston, George Strickland. To her most Gracious Majesty Adelaide, the Queen Dowager, this map of Adelaide, South Australia; shewing (sic) the nature and extent of every building in the city, as surveyed and laid down by G. S. Kingston Esqr.
Scale [ca 1:2,259].  London, J. C. Hailes, 1842.
Shows acre numbers and streets; owners' names are shown on some city acres. Includes sketches of 6 public buildings, list of 17 buildings in North Adelaide and 98 buildings in South Adelaide, and memoranda on South Australia. Widely known as the 'Kingston Map'or the 'Queen Dowager map'.

Light, William. Plan of the city of Adelaide, in South Australia : with the acre allotments numbered, and a reference to the names of the original purchasers.
Scale not given.  [London] : House of Commons, 1838 (James and Luke G. Hansard & Sons, Printers).
This map is based on an original 1837 plan surveyed and drawn by Colonel William Light, the first Surveyor-General for the Colony of South Australia.

Light, William. Plan of the city of Adelaide, in South Australia : with the acre allotments numbered, and a marginal reference to the names of the original purchasers.
Scale not given.  [Adelaide, S. Aust.] : John Gliddon, SA agent, [1840].
This map is based on an original 1837 plan surveyed and drawn by Colonel William Light, the first Surveyor-General for the Colony of South Australia.

South Australia. Surveyor General's Office. Survey and plan of the city of Adelaide; prepared in connection with the drainage of the city and for information of the Land and Title started by Mr Hyndman and carried out by C. W. Smith.
Scale 80 feet to an inch.  Adelaide, Surveyor General's Office, [1880?].
This map includes names of buildings, and is widely known to as the ' Smith's Survey' after Charles W. Smith [City Engineer].


Gazetteers and place names

Gazetteers list place names and give geographical locations and sometimes information on sources of names. There are many useful gazetteers held at the Information Desk or on the Ready Reference shelves. The following sources provide information on South Australian place names:

Other useful resources

Cleland, J. B. Medical names in Australian geographical nomenclature. [Sydney? : Australasian Medical Publishing Company, 1934].

​Cockburn, Rodney. What's in a name?: nomenclature of South Australia : authoritative derivations of some 4000 historically significant place names. [Glen Osmond, S. Aust.] : Ferguson Publications, 1984 (Adelaide : Gillingham Printers).

Day, Alfred N. Names of South Australian railway stations with their meanings and derivations. Adelaide, [S. Aust.] : R.E.E. Rogers, 1915.

Harris, Charles Hope. Geographical nomenclature of South Australia. [Adelaide, S. Aust.: Australasian Association for the Advancement of Science, 1893]

Lists of government towns & townships, counties, hundreds, corporate towns, & district councils in the colony of South Australia (exclusive of the Northern Territory) compiled in the Surveyor-General's Department. Adelaide, [S. Aust.] : C.E. Bristow, Government Printer, 1896

Manning, Geoffrey H. Manning's place names of South Australia from Aaron Creek to Zion Hill. Modbury, S. Aust.: Gould Books, 2006.

Martin, A. E. Twelve hundred and more place names in South Australia, Western Australia & the Northern Territory. Sydney: N.S.W. Bookstall Co., 1943 (Sydney : Whitmarks).

Praite, J. & R. German place names in Sth. Aust. [Adelaide: J. & R. Praite], 1989.

Praite, R. & Tolley, J.C. Place names of South Australia. [Adelaide] : Rigby, [1970].

Reference book : City of Adelaide. [Adelaide: City of Adelaide, 1972-[1983]. 2 volumes.

Reynolds, G. T. German place names in Australia changed during the Great War 1914-1918. Batemans Bay, N.S.W. : Possum Printing, 1991.

Subject index to maps in South Australian parliamentary papers 1852-1971

Whitworth, Robert P. Bailliere's South Australian gazetteer and road guide: containing the most recent and accurate information as to every place in the colony. Facsimile of: Adelaide: F.F. Bailliere, 1866. Ridgehaven, Gould Books, 1991.

How to view maps

The resources listed on this page are held in the State Library collection. Maps may need to be ordered from storage and used in the library.

Some of the maps have digital images attached to the catalogue record. Click on the 'View Image' link within the catalogue record to see the image.

Digital copies of some maps are available on the State Library's Digital Collections website.

Part of South Australia, J. Rapkin 1851
View more information about this image. You may order a high quality photographic copy. No known Copyright restrictions - Conditions of use.

Adelaide and environs

Adelaide and suburbs reticulation plans [1886 - 1935?]   84 maps of Adelaide and suburbs concerned with water supply, showing section and lot numbers, railways, tramways and stations, names of major buildings and gas works. Most maps show relief by contour lines.

Adelaide suburban plans.  [Adelaide: W.G. Fuller, 1919].

Arrowsmith, John. Country south of Adelaide from O'Halloran Hill to Mt. Terrible, including District C, and portions of Districts B and D. 
Scale [ca. 1:43 000].  London, John Arrowsmith, Sept. 1st 1842.
Surveyed by J. McLaren, Esqr.. Names of purchasers shown on sold sections.

Arrowsmith, John. The district of Adelaide, South Australia, as divided into country sections, from the trigonometrical surveys of Colonel Light late Survr. Genl.
Scale [ca. 1:42 685].  London, John Arrowsmith, 35 Essex St. Feb. 18th 1839.
Names of purchasers shown on sold sections.

Edmunds William Herbert. Road plan of Adelaide Hills from Morialta Falls in the north to Mylor in the south.
Adelaide: WH Edmunds 1938

Edmunds, William Herbert. Topographic maps of South Australia
Scale [ca. 1:63 360].  [Adelaide : W.H. Edmunds], 1926.
Compiled from reconnaissance surveys by W.H. Edmunds.  This book consists of six maps covering the Adelaide metropolitan area. Map sheets are titled: Semaphore, Millbrook, Henley, Uraidla, Brighton and Aldgate.

Great Britain. War Office. General Staff. Commonwealth Section. Adelaide, South Australia.
Scale 1:63 360.  Melbourne; Commonwealth Section, Imperial General Staff, 1914.
This map is based on a 1913 military survey and was prepared by Commonwealth Section, Imperial General Staff.  It forms part of the Australia 1:63 360  military survey of South Australia. This map was also printed in 1915 titled Sketch map - Adelaide South Australia.

Greenshields, R.P. New plan of Adelaide and suburbs : corrected to date expressly for Sands & McDougall Limited South Australian directory. 
Scale [ca. 1:15 840].  Adelaide: Sands and McDougall, [188?]
Compiled and drawn by R.P. Greenshields.

Gregory's Street Directory This digitised 1936 edition is the first of this title and shows tram and train lines and municipal boundaries. An index to localities and their page references starts on page 9.

Shuttleworth & Letchford were land agents and auctioneers, producing hundreds of maps and plans relating to the sale and lease of real estate in South Australia. The State Library’s holdings date from 1850-1920. You can find a map via a Google search of Shuttleworth & Letchford and the name of the location i.e. Prospect.

South Australia. Dept. of Lands and Survey. Map of Adelaide and suburbs: showing streets and allotments
Scale [ca. 1:7 920].  Adelaide: Surveyor General's Department, 1927 (H.E. Powell, Govt. Photolithographer).
Compiled under the direction of Theo E. Day, Surveyor General.

South Australia. Surveyor General's Office. Map of country between Adelaide and the sea coast for military purposes. 
Scale 1:20 000.  Adelaide, Surveyor General's Office, 1882.
Shows the areas from Torrens Road to the Glenelg tram, shows some owners of property and locality names. This map was drawn by Royal Engineers and used to site coastal defences in the 1880's and subsequently used as a base map for the 1914 edition of the Adelaide map at the 1:63 360 scale

Stephenson, Robert. Map of the county of Adelaide and surrounding districts : prepared from the Government plans and carefully revised after the newest surveys by Robt. Stephenson, surveyor, Exchange Colannade. 
Scale [ca. 1:140 000].  Adelaide, Penman & Galbraith, 1850.
Shows sections sold in Districts A, B, C, D, E & F and the Special Surveys.

South Australia hundred maps

South Australia hundred maps 1:63 360 [Adelaide] : Surveyor General's Office, [1867-1971?] Cadastral map series of the hundreds of South Australia 

Digitised Hundred maps can be located via this index

There are several ways to find the name of the hundred map covering your area of interest.

1. By using the State Government’s SAPPA (Property & Planning Atlas) website. Top right is the Search for an Address or Location box. Type in your locality, and then right click on the map to bring up information for that location (including relevant Hundred).

2. The Location SA Map viewer does much the same thing. Top left of the page use Search for an Address or Location. Then on the right hand Menu, click on Datasets, then Land Management, then Boundaries, then tick Hundred. Click on the map to get the Hundred information.

3. Or view the following map online: Map of Southern portion of South Australia, showing Counties & Hundreds, 1907

State Records South Australia has a collection of digitised Hundreds maps viewable via their flickr page

Surveyors General for South Australia

South Australian maps

Arrowsmith, John. The maritime portion of South Australia: from the surveys of Captn. Flinders and of Col. Light, Survr. Genl.
Scale [ca. 1:1 350 000].  London: Published [J. Arrowsmith], 10 Soho Square, Feby. 5th 1839.
With insets of S. W. Coast of Australia; Adelaide with the acre allotments numbered, surveyed by Col. Light; Nepean Bay and Kingscote Harbour by Wm. Chesser; and Encounter Bay by Col. Light & B. T. Furnis Esq. 1838.

Arrowsmith, John. Map shewing the Special Surveys in South Australia to the Eastward of the Gulf of St. Vincent, from Lat. 33.⁰ to 35.⁰ 40'S, from documents in the Survey Office Adelaide. London, John Arrowsmith, 10 Soho Square.
Scale [ca. 1:550 000].  London : Ordered by the House of Commons to be printed, June 10 1841 (London :  James & Luke J. Hansard Printer)
Shows the 32 Special Surveys and Sections A, B, C, D, E, F

Australia 1:63 360.
Scale 1:63 360.  Royal Australian Survey Corps. Australian Section Imperial General Staff, [1934-1964].
One inch to the mile military survey with South Australian coverage for Kapunda-Coorong, Adelaide-Murray River, Whyalla and Pimba.

Carroll, F.S. The New counties, hundreds and district atlas of South Australia and Northern Territory : together with map of South Australia, indicating roads, distances, relative position of counties, etc., etc.
Adelaide : E.S. Wigg & Son, 1876.

Flinders, Matthew. Chart of Terra Australia Sheet III, South Coast.
Scale [ca. 1:930 000].  Facsimile ed.  [Adelaide : Libraries Board of South Australia, 1966].
Chart of the coast of South Australia from the Head of the Australian Bight to Encounter Bay showing the track of the 'Investigator', 1802 and including the area of the 1802 encounter between Baudin and Flinders at Encounter Bay. Originally published 1st Jan. 1814 as Plate IV of Flinders' A voyage to Terra Australis.

Frearson, Robert S. Frearson's Map of South Australia and the Northern Territory shewing (sic) pastoral leases and claims
Scale ca. [1:2 027 520].  [Adelaide], Frearson, for Pictorial Australian, 1892.

Freycinet, Louis Claude Desaules de. Carte generale de la Terre Napoleon (a la Nouvelle Hollande) redigee d'apres les Travaux ...par M.L. Freycinet, an 1808.
Scale [ca. 1:2 050 000].  [Paris : Imprime par Langlois, 1811].
Chart showing the southern coastline of Australia from Cape Farewell to Wilson's Promontory. This chart was drawn by Louis de Freycinet, Commander of the 'Casuarina' and was originally published in 1811 as part of Francois Peron's publication on Nicolas Baudin's voyage. It includes the area of the 1802 encounter between Baudin and Flinders at Encounter Bay, South Australia.

Higginson, H.  This map of the settled districts of South Australia : to the Hono[ura]ble the Surveyor-General, Arthur Henry Freeling is most respectfully inscribed by his obliged and obedient servants H. Higginson and John W. Painter.
Scale [1:1 000 000].  London, Vincent Brooks, 1855.

Map of northern runs.
Scale not given.  Adelaide, Surveyor General's Office, 1866.
Parliamentary paper (South Australia. Parliament) ; 1865-66, no. 154. Shows pastoral leases with leasee names, and includes Goyder's Line.

Mayes, C. Map of South Australia showing the electoral districts, boundaries of the hundreds, the principal roads, mines etc.
Scale [ca. 1:633 600].  [Adelaide, 1851-1856]
Shows pastoral leases with names.

Newly opened country lands for selection 1:63,360
Adelaide: Surveyor-General’s Office, 1879-88.
Some 87 coloured maps of country areas showing land for sale by name of Hundred. Details include topography, section numbers, description of vegetation, soil and arability of land.

Plan of the southern portion of South Australia: as divided into counties and hundreds showing the most important settlement, post towns, telegraph stations, main roads, railways & c.
Adelaide : Surveyor General's Office, 1877.
Compiled from official documents in the the Office of the Surveyor General ; Frazer S. Crawford, photolithographer

Rapkin, J. (John). Part of South Australia.
Scale [ca.1:2 033 000].  London; New York : John Tallis & Coy, [1851]. 
Drawn & engraved by J. Rapkin; illustrations by H. Warren and engraved by J. Rogers. Engraved map of southern South Australian including vignettes and decorative border. Originally published with "Tallis's illustrated atlas and modern history of the world". London : John Tallis & Company, 1851.