Identity area

Reference code

AU WA S399




  • 1891-01-01 - (Creation)
  • 1830 - (Accumulation)

Level of description






Context area

Name of creator

AU WA A7 - PUBLIC WORKS DEPARTMENT (1901-01-01 - 1985-01-01)

Administrative history

Formerly the Department of Works & Buildings, the Public Works Department expanded greatly from the beginning of the century, becoming responsible for the construction of the Goldfields Water Supply and Fremantle harbour. The Public Works Department changed its name to the Building Management Authority on 1 January 1985.

Archival history

Content and structure area

Scope and content

This series dates from June 1891 when existing plans held by the Public Works Department (PWD) and dating from the early 1830's were allotted PWD plan numbers 1 to 1099. All subsequent plan registrations occurred on the date the plan was received in the plan room.

The series at first recorded all architectural and engineering work conducted by the Colonial and State Governments. In time, however, responsibility for specific activities (e.g. railway construction) was transferred to other agencies.

For instance, this series contains a sizable number of railway plans that were transferred to the Western Australian Government railways in 1931 and as they were "inactive" plans at the time of transfer, were never top-numbered with CCE numbers. They have therefore been transferred to the State Records Office in their original order (and are grouped at Consignment 1649).

Goldfields Water supply plans were registered separately until 1939. Many of these were subsequently top-numbered with PWD plan numbers and are therefore incorporated in this series. Those Goldfields Water Supply plans that were not top-numbered are treated as a separate series.

In 1985, the Building Management Authority and the Water Authority took responsibility for the PWD's architectural and engineering plans respectively.

Most of the drawings filed in plan sets (as distinct from roll plans) in this series have been microfilmed on black and white 35mm film. Aperture cards of plan sets are held at the Water Corporation, Survey and Mapping Branch and at the Department of Housing and Works.

The State Records Office has acquired from the State Microfilm Bureau a microfiche copy of some of the plan sets between PWD plan numbers 1 - 42, 000). These include plans of some of the most historically significant public works (n.b. this fiche set does not include railway plans). The State Records Office also holds, in aperture card format, a copy of the PWD Plan Register which describes PWD plans 1 to 40,000.

The Department of Housing and Works currently still retains custody of many PWD plans, notably for those works which remain government owned. In the late 1990s , the Department of Contract and Management Services conducted a large-scale digitisation program to scan these plans and these digitial copies are now managed by the Department of Housing and Works.


System of arrangement


Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access


Conditions governing access (legacy)

Open access

Conditions governing reproduction

Language of material

Script of material

Language and script notes

Some items are fragile as noted at item level, please use microfiche copy

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

A detailed card index to PWD plans transferred prior to 1990 is available for perusal in the State Records Office Search Room.

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

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Category of relationship


Description of relationship

Dates of relationship

1982-01-12 - 1988-09-30


Category of relationship


Description of relationship

Dates of relationship

1963-03 - 1963-03

Authorized form of name


Category of relationship


Description of relationship

Dates of relationship



Category of relationship


Description of relationship

Dates of relationship


Related units of description

Access points

Place access points

Description control area

Level of detail




Archivist's note

Range Control Symbol = 1 - 60,000
Copies: Microfilm copies held by Water Corporation and the Department of Housing and Works. Some plans available on microfilm in SRO microfilm area.

The Department of Housing and Works also retains digital copies of plans still in their custody.

Accession area

Related subjects

Related people and organizations

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