Subdivision of land | State Library of New South Wales

Subdivision of land

Darling Point’s rugged terrain and isolation made it virtually uninhabitable in the early days of the colony. However, as roads were built and the land was cleared and subdivided, it was opened up for settlement. The first land grant was made to James Holt in 1833. By 1838, most of the land was taken up by private individuals.

Some of Sydney’s most wealthy and influential people settled in Darling Point, including surveyor-general Sir Thomas Mitchell and businessman Thomas Sutcliffe Mort. Their grand estates - Carthona, Greenoaks, Lindesay to name a few - were the envy of Sydney.

However, with urban development and population growth in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, these large estates were broken up and the land was sold as individual smaller allotments. Still considered prime land, many with direct water frontages, the sites were quickly snapped up, making way for new houses and blocks of flats. Land sales and auctions were advertised using colourful posters and subdivsion plans, which showed the various allotments being offered for sale.

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The State Library of NSW has a wonderful collection of over 40,000 subdivision plans, including several hundred relating to the Darling Point area. Dating from as early as the 1850s to the 1930s, these plans advertise the subdivision and sale of land, and tell the story of urban development in the area. Visually striking, they range in format from hand-drawn surveyors’ plans to elaborately drawn and colour-lithographed posters. They now provide a valuable resource for genealogists, local historians and art lovers alike.


 > Examine an early plan of Darling Point allotments in 1833

View an early plan of Darling Point allotments dated 1833 

 > View a real estate brochure advertising land for sale in Darling Point in 1888

View a real estate brochure advertising land for sale in Darling Point from 1888


 > Find other Darling Point subdivision plans held by the State Library on our catalogue catalogue link