The NZ Electronic Text Centre at Victoria University has an online version of the Wellington volume of The Cyclopedia of New Zealand. This publication has always been a wonderful source of information for researchers of Mt Victoria’s history. The Volume, which weighs 5.1 kilograms in hard copy, was produced in 1897.
The Cyclopedias contain a wealth of information on New Zealand’s social history and include biographical portraits, a town and country gazetteer and surveys of local trades and businesses. It was the sort of thing you had to pay to get yourself into unless you were a particularly prominent person. Despite this bias, the six volumes provide a fascinating glimpse into life in colonial New Zealand around the turn of the century. In 1896 the publishers claimed that The Cyclopedia was “the most voluminously illustrated work ever published in the Colony.”
The other four volumes, covering Auckland, Canterbury, Otago & Southland, and Nelson, Marlborough & Westland, are also available online.
Historic Thomas Ward maps
Mt Victoria’s streets still follow the pattern laid out many years ago, some as early as 1840. In 1892, surveyor and engineer, Thomas Ward, completed a series of maps showing the streets, property boundaries and buildings of Mt Victoria and other inner-city suburbs. Many existing Mt Victoria houses can be found on these maps. You can explore them on line through Webmap on Wellington City Council’s website, along with aerial photos dating from 1996 and current data about Wellington’s built environment.
You can also find them on the Wellington City Archives website in their original sheet form.